The Kindness of Strangers

Heidi R. Kling, the author of Sea, blogged about the John Green and David Levithan signing she attended last night: Kling’s livejournal. She will be giving away signed copies of Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Looking for Alaska. This is exciting news, but Kling’s post is worth mentioning for reasons beyond its fabulous contest.

I recently posted about how impressed I was by the generosity and kindness of the authors at the LA Times Festival of Books. In her post, Heidi Kling touches on this issue, discussing the impact that authors can make on their readers and on the world:

“After, David and John were asked to give “inspirational advice” to the audience. I wish I recorded to quote verbatim, but in the gist was we live in a broken world, we live, we die, so what do we have? We have this. NOW. So be the best you can be, enjoy life –do all you can–to make this life awesome. John went on to say this philosophy is the root everything he does. Why he started the community of Nerdfighters, why he writes books with purpose and meaning and Vlogs and all the rest…

This my friends, this giving back, this kindness, is the root of all things good about our broken world. The root of all things hopeful…. A published author is an aspiring writer who worked hard and got lucky. That’s it. We’re no more special than anyone else, but the choices we make with our words and the way we present ourselves to the world can set us apart.”

All people would be better off if they remembered this important lesson. The choices we make can indeed set us apart, as Heidi Kling’s certainly have already. Now, more than ever, I look forward to reading her book and supporting an author who appears to be not only a great writer, but a wonderful person. It is one thing to be good at what you do, which I believe we should all strive for, but it is another to be great at the things we all do collectively as human beings: to live, to touch the lives of others, and to hand our legacy over to the next generation. If all we have is now, why not do these things as best we can? Why not make this world and the people in it a little better off than they might have been without us?

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