The last page. The last paragraph.
I can’t stand for it to be over. I take a deep breath.
I read the last line a second time, then a third.
Closing the book, I lean back in my chair. “Well shit,” I say. Around me, people sip their coffees and peck away on their laptops. I’m in a crowded Starbucks, and I feel completely alone. There’s a second book in my bag—part of my plan to drink overpriced beverages and read all afternoon—but I don’t take it out. The thought of reading something else right now feels almost sacrilegious. Vulgar, even. How can I?
I’ve just finished Paper Towns and I want to throttle Jamie Blair.
I don’t really want to throttle Jamie, that was an exaggeration. It’s not her fault. I knew this would happen and I accept the blame. She’s been raving about Paper Towns for weeks but that didn’t mean that I had to go out and buy it, that didn’t mean that I didn’t know better, that I hadn't learned after reading Looking for Alaska.
It’s not that I don’t love John Green. If anything, I love him too much. You see, John Green is the author who makes me want to fall to my knees and cry, “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”
I have this theory that everyone has an author like that—even if they haven’t come across them yet.
You know that line in “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” where the narrators says, “The race is long; in the end, it’s only against yourself.” I believe that line. I really do. Almost all of the time. I suspect there are a few published writers that I’m better than and lots of published writers who leave me in the dust. That doesn’t bother me. But when I read John Green, there are moments when I stop and think that I’m just not worthy to practice the same craft.
He’s Shakespeare and I’m the girl who writes jingles for potato chips and calling both of us writers is true in the same way that a barstool and a Louis XV chair are both, well, chairs.
And you know what? I think that’s okay. I think it’s healthy to sometimes feel that way. Very few people can afford the luxury of complete self-confidence. Even fewer people have done things to actually warrant such a state. Truly brilliant books make me want to push myself harder, to be a better writer than I am now.
How about you? Are there any authors that you love but still find intimidating? Do you ever find yourself comparing your own prose to whatever you happen to be reading?