John Green, Drs. P, Marion Bloem, Pepijn Lanen, Stephen Fry, Jorge Luis Borges, A. S. Byatt, Sascha Anderson, Johan Fabricius


De Amerikaanse schrijver John Green werd geboren in Indianapolis, Indiana, op 24 augustus 1977. Zie ook alle tags voor John Green op dit blog.

Uit:The Fault in Our Stars

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.
Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.) But my mom believed I required treatment, so she took me to see my Regular Doctor Jim, who agreed that I was veritably swimming in a paralyzing and totally clinical depression, and that therefore my meds should be adjusted and also I should attend a weekly Support Group.
This Support Group featured a rotating cast of characters in various states of tumor-driven unwellness. Why did the cast rotate? A side effect of dying.
The Support Group, of course, was depressing as hell. It met every Wednesday in the basement of a stone-walled Episcopal church shaped like a cross. We all sat in a circle right in the middle of the cross, where the two boards would have met, where the heart of Jesus would have been.
I noticed this because Patrick, the Support Group Leader and only person over eighteen in the room, talked about the heart of Jesus every freaking meeting, all about how we, as young cancer survivors, were sitting right in Christ’s very sacred heart and whatever.
So here’s how it went in God’s heart: The six or seven or ten of us walked/wheeled in, grazed at a decrepit selection of cookies and lemonade, sat down in the Circle of Trust, and listened to Patrick recount for the thousandth time his depressingly miserable life story—how he had cancer in his balls and they thought he was going to die but he didn’t die and now here he is, a full-grown adult in a church basement in the 137th nicest city in America, divorced, addicted to video games, mostly friendless, eking out a meager living by exploiting his cancertastic past, slowly working his way toward a master’s degree that will not improve his career prospects, waiting, as we all do, for the sword of Damocles to give him the relief that he escaped lo those many years ago when cancer took both of his nuts but spared what only the most generous soul would call his life.
Then we introduced ourselves: Name. Age. Diagnosis. And how we’re doing today. I’m Hazel, I’d say when they’d get to me. Sixteen. Thyroid originally but with an impressive and long-settled satellite colony in my lungs. And I’m doing okay.”


John Green (Indianapolis, 24 augustus 1977)

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Dolce far niente, Bertolt Brecht, John Green, Drs. P, Marion Bloem, Pepijn Lanen, Stephen Fry


Dolce far niente


Scène d'été door Frédéric Bazille, 1869



Vom Schwimmen in Seen und Flüssen

Im bleichen Sommer, wenn die Winde oben
Nur in dem Laub der großen Bäume sausen
Muß man in Flüssen liegen oder Teichen
Wie die Gewächse, worin Hechte hausen.

Der Leib wird leicht im Wasser. Wenn der Arm
Leicht aus dem Wasser in den Himmel fällt
Wiegt ihn der kleine Wind vergessen
Weil er ihn wohl für braunes Astwerk hält.

Der Himmel bietet mittags große Stille.
Man macht die Augen zu, wenn Schwalben kommen.
Der Schlamm ist warm. Wenn kühle Blasen quellen
Weiß man: Ein Fisch ist jetzt durch uns geschwommen.

Mein Leib, die Schenkel und der stille Arm
Wir liegen still im Wasser, ganz geeint
Nur wenn die kühlen Fische durch uns schwimmen
Fühl ich, daß Sonne überm Tümpel scheint.

Wenn man am Abend von dem langen Liegen
Sehr faul wird, so, daß alle Glieder beißen
Muß man das alles, ohne Rücksicht, klatschend
In blaue Flüsse schmeißen, die sehr reißen.

Am besten ist´s, man hält´s bis Abend aus.
Weil dann der bleiche Haifischhimmel kommt
Bös und gefräßig über Fluß und Sträuchern
Und alle Dinge sind, wie´s ihnen frommt.

Natürlich muß man auf dem Rücken liegen
So wie gewöhnlich. Und sich treiben lassen.
Man muß nicht schwimmen, nein, nur so tun, als
Gehöre man einfach zu Schottermassen.

Man soll den Himmel anschauen und so tun
Als ob einen ein Weib trägt, und es stimmt.
Ganz ohne großen Umtrieb, wie der liebe Gott tut
Wenn er am Abend noch in seinen Flüssen schwimmt.


Bertolt Brecht (10 februari 1898 – 14 augustus 1956)
Augsburg. Bertolt Brecht werd geboren in Augsburg.

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John Green, Drs. P, Marion Bloem, Stephen Fry, Jorge Luis Borges, A. S. Byatt


De Amerikaanse schrijver John Green werd geboren in Indianapolis, Indiana, op 24 augustus 1977. Zie ook alle tags voor John Green op dit blog.

Uit: Paper Towns (Vertaald door Aleid van Eekelen-Benders)

“Zoals ik het zie krijgt ieder mens een wonder. Dat zit zo: ik zal wel nooit door de bliksem worden getroffen of een Nobelprijs winnen of dictator van een eilandje in de Stille Zuidzee worden of terminale oorkanker krijgen of spontaan in brand vliegen. Maar als je alle onwaarschijnlijke dingen bij elkaar neemt, krijgt ieder van ons vast wel met minstens één ervan te maken. Ik had het kikkers kunnen zien regenen. Ik had voet op Mars kunnen zetten. Ik had door een walvis verslonden kunnen worden. Ik had met de koningin van Engeland kunnen trouwen of maanden op zee kunnen overleven. Maar mijn wonder was anders. Mijn wonder was dit: dat van alle huizen in alle woonwijken in heel Florida, het huis waar ik kwam wonen nu net het huis naast dat van Margo Roth Spiegelman was.
Onze woonwijk, Jefferson Park, was vroeger een marinebasis. Maar toen had de marine die niet meer nodig en gaven ze het land terug aan de burgers van Orlando, Florida, die besloten er een enorme woonwijk te bouwen, want dat doen ze in Florida met land. Vlak nadat de eerste huizen waren gebouwd, kwamen mijn ouders en die van Margo er wonen, naast elkaar. Margot en ik waren twee jaar.
Voor Jefferson Park een soort Pleasantville werd, en voor het een marinebasis was, was het eigendom van een echte Jefferson, een man die Dr. Jefferson Jefferson heette. Er is een school in Orlando die naar Dr. Jefferson Jefferson is genoemd, en ook een grote liefdadigheidsinstelling, maar het fascinerende en raar-maar-ware aan Dr. Jefferson Jeffferson is dat hij helemaal geen doctor was.
Hij was gewoon iemand die sinaasappelsap verkocht en Jefferson Jefferson heette. Toen hij rijk en machtig werd stapte hij naar de rechter en maakte van Jefferson zijn tweede voornaam door als eerste voornaam ‘Dr.’ te kiezen. Hoofdletter D. Kleine letter r. Punt.
Margo en ik waren negen. Omdat onze ouders bevriend waren, speelden we soms met elkaar. Dan reden we op onze fiets langs de doodlopende stratennaar Jefferson Park, de naaf van het wiel dat onze wijk vormde.”


John Green (Indianapolis, 24 augustus 1977)

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John Green, Drs. P, Marion Bloem, Stephen Fry, Jorge Luis Borges, A. S. Byatt


De Amerikaanse schrijver John Green werd geboren in Indianapolis, Indiana, op 24 augustus 1977. Zie ook alle tags voor John Green op dit blog.

Uit: An Abundance of Katherines

“The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths; one of his general policies in life was never to do anything standing up that could just as easily be done lying down. He climbed into the tub as soon as the water got hot, and he sat and watched with a curiously blank look on his face as the water overtook him. The water inched up his legs, which were crossed and folded into the tub. He did recognize, albeit faintly, that he was too long, and too big, for this bathtub—he looked like a mostly grown person playing at being a kid.
As the water began to splash over his skinny but unmuscled stomach, he thought of Archimedes. When Colin was about four, he read a book about Archimedes, the Greek philosopher who’d discovered you could measure volume by water displacement when he sat down in the bathtub. Upon making this discovery, Archimedes supposedly shouted “Eureka! ” and then ran naked through the streets. The book said that many important discoveries contained a “Eureka moment.” And even then, Colin very much wanted to have some important discoveries, so he asked his mom about it when she got home that evening.
“Mommy, am I ever going to have a Eureka moment?”
“Oh, sweetie,” she said, taking his hand. “What’s wrong?”
“I wanna have a Eureka Moment,” he said, the way another kid might have expressed longing for a teenage mutant ninja turtle.
She pressed the back of her hand to his cheek and smiled, her face so close to his that he could smell coffee and make-up. “Of course, Colin baby. Of course you will.” But mothers lie. It’s in the job description.
Colin took a deep breath and slid down, immersing his head. I am crying, he thought, opening his eyes to stare through the soapy, stinging water. I feel like crying so I must be crying, but it’s impossible to tell because I’m underwater. But he wasn’t crying. Curiously, he felt too depressed to cry. Too hurt. It felt as if she’d taken the part that cried from him.”


John Green (Indianapolis, 24 augustus 1977)

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John Green


De Amerikaanse schrijver John Green werd geboren in Indianapolis, Indiana, op 24 augustus 1977. Green ging op vijftienjarige leeftijd naar een kostschool in Birmingham. Hij studeerde Engels en godsdienstwetenschappen en besloot dat hij priester wilde worden in de Anglicaanse Kerk. Hij werkte enkele maanden als aalmoezenier in een kinderziekenhuis in Ohio, waar hij veel kinderen zag sterven. Daar besloot hij dat hij een boek wilde schrijven over mensen die moeten leren leven met de dood van iemand die ze liefhadden. Green recenseerde voor Booklist en maakte radioprogramma's, voordat hij zich fulltime richtte op het schrijven van boeken. In 2011 heeft hij via het Nederlands Letterenfonds twee maanden in Amsterdam doorgebracht om zijn laatste boek "The Fault In Our Stars" te voltooien. Green ontving in 2006 de Printz Award voor zijn debuutroman “Looking for Alaska”. Green is tevens bekend van een internetproject op YouTube waarin hij met zijn broer Hank Green het gehele jaar 2007 slechts communiceerde in de vorm van Videoblogs. Samen met Hank vormt John de Vlogbrothers. Hun YouTube project, waar zij om beurten al meer dan 1000 video's maakten, bestaat nog. Hun video's werden door inmiddels meer dan twee miljoen mensen bekeken.

Uit: Looking for Alaska

“Before I got here, I thought for a long time that the way out of the labyrinth was to pretend that it did not exist, to build a small, self-sufficient world in a back corner of the endless maze and to pretend that I was not lost, but I was home. But that only led to a lonely life accompanied only by the last words of the already-dead, so I came here looking for a Great Perhaps, for real friends and a more-than-minor life. And then I screwed up and the Colonel screwed up and Takumi screwed up and she slipped through our fingers. And there's no sugar-coating it: she deserved better friends.
When she fucked up, all those years ago, just a little girl terrified into paralysis, she collapsed into the enigma of herself. And I could have done that, but I saw where it led for her. So I still believe in the Great Perhaps, and I can believe in it in spite of having lost her.
Because I will forget her, yes. That which came together will fall apart imperceptibly slowly, and I will forget, but she will forgive my forgetting, just as I forgive her for forgetting me and the Colonel and everyone but herself and her mom in those last moments she spent as a person. I know now that she forgives me for being dumb and scared and doing the dumb and scared thing.
And here's how I know:
I thought at first she was just dead. Just darkness. Just a body being eaten by bugs. I thought about her alot like that, like someone's meal. What was her - green eyes, half a smirk, the soft curves of her legs - would soon be nothing, just the bones I never saw. I thought about the slow process of becoming bone and then fossil and then coal that will, in millions of years, be mined by humans of the future, and how they would heat their homes with her, and then she would be smoke billowing out of a smokestack, coating the atmosphere. I still think that, sometimes, I think that maybe "the afterlife" is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make the time in the labyrinth bearable. Maybe she was just matter, and matter gets recycled.
But ultimately I do not believe that she was just matter. The rest of her must be recycled, too. I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts. If you take Alaska's genetic code and you add her life experiences and the relationships she had with people, and then you take the size and shape of her body, you do not get her. There is something else entirely. There is a part of her greater than the sum of her knowable parts. And that part has to go somewhere, because it cannot be destroyed.”



John Green (Indianapolis, 24 augustus 1977)

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