#222…science, religion, ETC.: “The Writer and Reader” and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS”


As to the writer and his reader:

A sad, rarely considered,


misfortune is that the writer

almost never sees

what happens when

a stranger

first encounters

his words.


Here’s a beautiful exception!

(…and “cannula,” maybe a new word for you.)


For more use the DOOR.




      First, this:

  • A “cannula, (“nasal cannula”) is a thin tube inserted into the body to provide oxygen, administer medicine, drain off fluid, or insert a surgical instrument.
  • This post is about the story (novel) The Fault in Our Stars, and what led to the suddenly popular movie that has the same name, not the movie itself¹.
  • It is really about a comment made by the author John Green quoted in Time magazine (June 6, 2014)²
  • And about a problem non-authors rarely consider.


     Ten days ago two things happened only hours apart. (1) I stumbled across the 4-page article in Time, a rather hagiographic presentation of John Green, new to me, but a very popular (to others) of 5 best-selling young adult novels, the latest of which is The Fault in Our Stars. He had been invited to a preproduction visit of a movie based on his work, even watching auditions and making notes on the script, and hanging around with everyone’s blessing while the movie was actually made. This story about two intelligent and shockingly honest young people who are not only dying but falling in love is not, according to Green, just “Love Story” for a new generation. (2) My 3rd editor without portfolio phoned and insisted that I stop, immediately read the book, then go see the movie. Since I was already hooked, I agreed, so my wife and I (at the time of this writing) are reading aloud the story.

     So this can’t be a decent review–yet–or a plug. However, in a distant way, my own y. a. writing (Earth Is Not Alone, see sidebar) is not unrelated to the pathos Green welcomes. Here’s the quote that caught my eye (surprisingly brief after my unwieldy intro):

   [Says the Time writer;] “For Green part of the appeal of being on the [movie] set is the company. Writing novels is a solitary pursuit: if there’s a collaborative element to it, it’s between the writer and the reader, two people who generally never meet.  ‘You never get to see that collaboration happen,’ Green says. ‘It all happens alone in their room and you’re not there. And if you were there it would be super-weird, like watching someone sleep or something. Here [on the set] I feel that collaboration you have with readers, except I get to witness it and be part of it.”

     The exciting, lonely, “solitary” part above I can relate to. The movie part? I’ve no worries about that. I simply applaud John Green for being able to touch the soul of needy young adults and those who occupy their world.


   ¹ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, hd cvr, 2012; paper, 2014; also Kindle). Terrible cover, excellent writing style, 1st person POV (Hazel).  The movie is said to be a $12,000,000 bargain.

   ² Lev Grossman, “Being Green: The author of The Fault in Our Stars watches his own book become a movie,” Time, June 6, 2013.

Author: John Knapp