Dear John (Green)



Dear John,

I have never written to an author before. Nor have I written any kind of “dear John” letter, for that matter. My name is, however, Abigail Adams, so it seems only fitting that I write my first actual fan mail to someone named John, now that I think about it. I want to let you know that your writing has officially done what I never thought possible. That’s right. Your book An Abundance of Katherines made my mother pull an all-nighter.

I should probably explain. For starters, I’m a total nerd. I mean, typically I’m socially well adjusted and everything, but I love books of all kinds, and I’ve officially been a high school French teacher for 5 years now. It doesn’t get that much nerdier, right? Anyhow, I always try to beef up my reading list over summer vacation. Since I’m a long-time Vlogbrothers fan, your work was at the top of my list! I even brought two of your books back home to Ithaca, New York with me when I went to visit my parents last weekend. Then, after I sobbed my way through The Fault in Our Stars and stayed up all night reading Looking For Alaska, I went to the library and was the lucky patron to get the last copy of An Abundance of Katherines.

At this point, I have to digress just a little, because it turned out to be a signed copy. Now, I know, it’s your signature, so that’s probably not a big deal to you, but I actually contemplated stealing from a public library, so I guess that makes me a big fan of your work. (I didn’t steal it, just in case you are worried. Ithaca, New York can still publically access your work!)

I had to go back to Boston before I had a chance to finish the book, sadly leaving the book behind for my Mom to return. Which brings us to the Big Deal Moment. This morning my phone rang at 8am, and it was my Mom. She was calling to tell me that she stayed up all night reading your book. My mom is pretty picky about books. She loves literature of all kinds, but she’s pretty old school, and she sometimes gives up on reading books that use “crass language” or discuss anything “racy”. (To this day, if I say something like “damn” or “screwed” in her presence, she furrows her eyebrows at me and says: “Abigail Adams, you are a maiden!”) So, I wasn’t sure what she would think about your work. (Not that you’re in the business of writing dirty books or anything. But, you know, teenaged protagonists swear and occasionally talk about premarital sex and such . . .) And what did my Mother say?

“Abby, It’s like nothing else I’ve ever read!”

She raved about it, saying that she was completely absorbed in the story, that sometimes there would be a line so perfect, or so witty, or so thought provoking, that she had to share it with my Dad. He didn’t appreciate the all-nighter phenomenon quite as much, which is why she had to call me as early as she dared in order to fully give in to waxing complimentary about the book. Suffice it to say, you officially received The Lynn Adams Stamp of Approval, which is a big deal. A few of my siblings are still holding out for that one.

It bears mentioning that, despite her lack of appreciation for even the most well-placed expletives, my mother is one of the finest women breathing. Aside from birthing five gigantor babies (who she continues to care about well beyond a time when she could’ve stopped), she is also an incredible teacher, a shockingly talented perennial gardener, and a somewhat-closeted poet. Plus, growing up, she read aloud to the five of us kids all the time, and probably deserves some kind of a medal, not only for creating lovers of the written word, but also for sobbing her way to the end of Where the Red Fern Grows so that we could know the tragic fates of Old Dan and Little Anne. Essentially, she’s like the Mother Theresa of mothers (not the nun kind). Thus, getting her sincere appreciation is a pretty significant achievement, and I just thought you should know.

Also, if it matters, I really appreciated your books as well. Your work is beautifully insightful and truly a gift to the reader.



p.s. I know you don’t respond to snail mail, even from your Mom, but regardless, I hope you read it and that your publisher isn’t just laughing maniacally as this goes through the shredder and Bad to the Bone plays loudly in the background.

p.p.s. I am going to post this on the Internet, too, just in case your publisher really is a fan of George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

Succulent Terrariums!

A friend and I recently decided that the best rainy day activity would be the making of a Succulent garden. . . So, we assembled all the necessary ingredients (Rocks, Soil, Sand, Succulents, etc.)

Succulent Succulents

Then, we followed Martha’s instructions, and layered rocks and soil. Once we had the soil ready, we planted our baby succulents!
Check out the progress!

The end result was highly satisfying!!!

Succulent LOVE

All we had to do then was use a little white sand to make a top layer, which gives the succulent garden that polished look, and Voilà!

The Final Succulent GardenHere’s hoping this cutie survives!

Any tips for succulent care? 

GISHWHES 2013: Team UndercoverCivilians

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted some of my adventures, which grad school, teacher back-to-school, and GISHWHES will do to you. But fear not, I’ve still had adventures aplenty.

GISHWHES, which stands for The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, was a magical experience. One week, 156 crazy items to scavenge photos/videos for . . .

Just A few of the AWESOME  adventures that GISHWHES inspired for my teammates and I: 

1.) “Roost on a busy sidewalk until your egg hatches. Announce the birth with a squawk (no more than a 15 second video).”

2.) Create a dynamic, documentary short film exposing little-known facts about your hometown (two minute video).

3.) Go to work dressed as a robot. We must see clips of you getting ready in the morning, commuting, and arriving at work and doing your job. We must also see the reactions of people you pass on your commute and/or at work.

4.) Get your team’s new ice cream flavor on sale in an ice cream parlor. The new flavor must have a catchy new name and must be a combination of ingredients that we (the judges) have never before heard of in an ice cream. The ice cream shop employee must tell a customer what is in your ice cream and the customer must sample your new flavor.

5.) Find an example of someone who engages in sustained generosity in your community and then do something nice for them.  In the video, you must describe what the person does for their community, and then show what your kind gesture toward them is.

6.) A preacher in church condemning GISHWHES and GISHWHESHEANS.

7.) A university professor giving a technical explanation of why the telegraph will inevitably be making a comeback.

8.) Find a dog named, “Castiel.” Call it. Have it come when called.

9.)Write a haiku about waiting. Post it (no graffiti!) at a bus stop.


10.) While showing some sign of the dragon-attack on your clothing or body, panhandle on a sidewalk (NOT ON A MEDIAN IN TRAFFIC!) with a sign that reads: “A DRAGON BURNED MY CASTLE DOWN.”

Panhandling Princess

11.) Bear and Dragon clothing made from Kale.


12.) Make a picture book for preschoolers explaining the Pythagorean theorem.

my book

13.) You are what you eat. Prove it.

you are what you eat

14.) If Gishwhes were a moving or shipping company, what would its slogan be? Let’s see the slogan on the side of an 18-wheeler. Letters must be at least 3 feet in height. No illegal graffiti allowed! You must have permission from the owner of the truck and we must see the entire truck in the image.

ship it

15.) Make your country’s flag from food or food packaging.

map it

16.) Make a cozy quilt from old dirty socks. Snuggle up in it alone or with your best friend.


17.) Let’s see a portrait of Chris Hardwick from the made from dried fruit.


18.) Taxidermy animals dressed for and playing or doing one of the following: roller derby, doubles tennis in whites, a 4-some of golfers (must be traditionally dressed with knickers), cricket players in whites, disco dancing (in 70s disco clothes), synchronized swimming (with nose clips), or a karate class (black belts).


19.)Go through a fast food drive-through with an adult dressed as a baby in a car seat in the back. The adult must have a pacifier in his or her mouth and must be pre-verbal.

Baby Adult

20.) Release the Kraken.Release the Kraken

21.) Mexico is famous for the perfect desert: the churro. We know churros are delicious, but what else are they good for? Improve on perfection by modifying a churro to serve an alternate non-food purpose.

churro swords

22.)A fully dressed nun in her habit going down a waterslide or swinging on a rope into a river.


23.) Viking Rats.Viking Rats

24.) Little Jack Horner, Little Bo Peep, Peter Pumpkin, Little Boy Blue and the Queen of Hearts at a late-night vice-ridden poker game.

Nursery Crimes

25.) You, dressed as The Flash in the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) tunnel. If this is too difficult, you will get full credit for dressing as The Flash in any actual, operational particle accelerator.

flash at Cornell!

26.) Shoot a real life comic book page. In other words, shoot 4 photographs of something that looks like it would be in a comic book or graphic novel and arrange the photos like panels onto one page. This must be an original story with original characters and it must be staged, not photoshopped. You have to figure out how to make the thought or dialogue bubbles and lettering during the shoot.

Comic?27.) What would a teddy bear hostage situation look like?

teddy bear hostage

28.) Create an online dating profile for your pet on a real dating site.

winky's dating profile


  1. Let’s see you and a friend, side-by-side, donating blood or platelets. Wear something festive on your head to commemorate the occasion.


30.) Rage against the dying of the light.dying of the light

And there were so many more!!!

I’m kind of happy for the break, but already looking forward to: