Tonight I went on an adventure with Meg, Julia, Kate and Mitch. All avid readers of the author John Green, these Young Life kids and I were on a mission to meet him at Butler. We talked about his books and his history series Crash Course and his You Tube channel the Vlog brothers in the car on the way to Broad Ripple. They were all so excited they could hardly stand it.
John Green is the author of several well-known books-- Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines and The Fault In Our Stars. It seems as though at least half the students have read The Fault In Our Stars and I've yet to find a person who didn't love it and shed at least one tear.
The five of us ate dinner at Pei Wei, one of my favorite restaurants that they'd never been too. It's the Asian version of a Noodles & Co and I made everyone eat with chopsticks for at least a little while. Hanging out with these kids was so fun because it was such an eclectic group. We were anxious to meet John Green and decided to get there early.
We parked on campus, found Clowes Hall and get inside a minute before they opened the doors to the theatre. Luckily we are speedy and Kate snagged five seats for us in the second row right in front of the podium. Commence freaking out level two. Only an hour until the program began.
Two seconds later I realized that the girl sitting behind me was Lauren from Session 1 of CILTs. Then just down from us in the front row was Jamie McDougall, an old camp counselor from when I was in middle school. She works at Orchard and had brought two John-Green-fanatic students and one of them is a Tecumseh kid. As I was talking to them Katie Swanton, Session 3 CILTs, tapped me on the shoulder and then we freaked out. After she went back to her seat I spotted Audrey Gleason, a Carmel Young Life leader and talked to her for awhile. Then Abby Bien, a Camp T counselor, buzzed in and I got to say hi to her before she sat with her roommate. Right behind her was Monica, a CILT of 2012, and she squealed when we got to see each other. Then we saw Kaelyn, and HSE YL girl, who had come with her mom. Who knew the John Green reading would be such a reunion?
Finally the event began. We soon discovered that we would actually hear multiple authors share their work. First was a slam poet that rocked. We would've happily listened to her read more of her work.
Then we met a quirky author named Ben Winters. We'd never heard of him before but immediately realized this guy was awesome. He talked as quickly as the Gilmore Girls as he excitedly told us, "The whole point of a novel, the point of art, is mystery. it makes you want to keep thinking about it. And then it makes you think about your life. You dig into the world that we live in. Then ponder about that."
Ben shared an excerpt from his novel "The Last Policeman" which is the first of a trilogy. "My friend told me it's pretty funny to publish a sequel to, "The Last..." anything. He said we should call the second book, "We found another Policeman!"
After the event Ben came out and the girls got a picture with him. We might not know his work yet but he could become one of their favorites and now they have a picture with him.
Next Susan Neville, another Butler professor in the creative writing department, shared a piece that she'd written several years ago. Julia and I both laughed out loud at, "My neighbor owns seven white dogs. Well... actually I'm not sure looking back. It might have only been two or three dogs that just kind of exploded into hundreds of little white dogs."
Then it was the moment we'd all been waiting for-- JOHN GREEN! He came on the stage greeted by a thunderous applause and then we all sat on the edge of our seats waiting to hear what he'd say. "I'm going to read from The Fault In Our Stars, something that I really like, then I'm going to read from something new, that I wrote yesterday, and this morning actually. I'm not sure if it's any good. Or even if it's in sentences. So this will be interesting."
He read the part of TFIOS where Hazel is sitting on the old swing set in the back yard when she starts crying and calls Gus who comes over right away so they can write an ad for that swing set so it won't make her cry anymore. Easily one of the most popular scenes in the novel, it was surreal to hear John Green reading those words, "I fell asleep, much the way that you fall in love. Slowly, then all at once." Julia turned to me and whispered, "It's crazy that my favorite stories were all just thought up in his head."
"Now I'm going to read you a chapter from the new book I'm working on. But I have to ask you not to record this in any way. And I'm not asking in a nice way, but because if you do my editor will kill me. And I really don't want to die."
Then he read a chapter and it was awesome and funny and I may have written down a couple lines but I can't sure them with you because I don't want John Green to die.
"Ok, now I'm just going to read the next chapter because I'm having fun. This is terrifying!"
Then he read another chapter and it had this awesome scene where you just think, "Gosh I want that to happen in real life!" and I wanted to give a fist pump for one of the characters and we laughed out loud and learned a new insult and it was just awesome.
Then just like that, it was over. Every one started to file out but we lingered near the stage because lingering seemed like a good idea. And what do you know but John Green reappeared just to say, "I'm so sorry but we can't do a book signing. I'm so sorry. I have to get home to my wife and my baby." But Julia was smart and said, "Can I shake your hand?" and then she, Meg and Kate all shook his hand. And then they cried tears of joy. Honest. I saw tears in all of their eyes.
It was finally time to go home but as soon as we got to my car we realized that I didn't have my water bottle. I had brought it into dinner and when I sat it down on the table I said, "Kate, don't let me forget this." So of course, I forgot it. I wasn't too stressed and figured we could swing by on the way home and pick it up.
We arrived and the door was locked but I knocked on the window until a lady answered it. I told her about the MIA water bottle and she said she'd check in the back. Nope, no water bottle back there. She told me they must have thrown it away. I was obviously sad but headed back out to tell the kids in my car.
Immediately they told me we should look through the trash to find it. "Seriously?!" I asked, "You'll do that?" All of them were pumped about the idea of looking through the trash so I went back inside to ask the manager. Needless to say, all of the employees inside thought I was insane. They lugged out two trash cans from the back and said it would be in one of them. I was thrilled because I thought we'd be looking in the dumpster outback.
I went back out to get the kids and discovered they had taken the initiative to already start looking through the dumpsters. Hilarious and so adventurous and disgusting of them. All five of us headed back in the restaurant and pulled on white rubber gloves to sift through the leftovers and trash. Miraculously, only a few seconds later Kate found the water bottle! A nice lady washed it off in the kitchen for me and we were on our way again.
After a quick drive-thru at McDonald's for ice-cream cones we were on our way back to Fishers. It was one of the most memorable nights we've had in awhile.