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Uploaded:2016-09-27
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In which John attends the premiere of the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children in New York as a guest of the book's author, Ransom Riggs. John and Ransom have been friends for almost 20 years--from Ohio to Florida to the Grand Canyon to a movie premiere in New York City. Other subjects explored include books, movies, wonder, the omnipresent past, and the acquisition of dress shirts.

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Good morning, Hank. It's Tuesday.

So yesterday, Sarah and I flew to New York City. The descent was just a bit bumpy, but we landed safely, drove into the city, and met up with our best friends Chris and Marina. 

Chris: Good morning, America.

I was wearing my fancy shoes, because we were in town for the premier of the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Got a delicious lunch of sushi where I irrevocably stained my dress-shirt, so we headed over to a department store where there were too many ties to choose from. If it looks like I hate trying on clothes, that's because I do. But, I eventually found a suitable shirt, and then put the stained shirt back on so as not to stain the new one and went for a walk.

I love walking in New York, even in uncomfortable shoes, because you're both alone and not in a way I find deeply satisfying, even peaceful. I also love catching snippets of strangers' conversations; "Don't you have to like someone to love them?" One young person said to another as they walked past me. We walked through an outdoor bookstore, where I sneakily signed some copies of Looking for Alaska, and then, on my way to the hotel, I happened across a Crash Course fan.

John: What's your name again?
Carey: Carey!
John: Then I ran into Carey.
Carey: Big fan! John's awesome. 

We checked into our aggressively gold hotel room, I ironed my new shirt, suited up, and then got in the elevator.

I don't like this tie.

I then met up with Ransom Riggs, the author of Miss Peregrine.

John: It's all a voice over so-
Ransom: Oh
John: -it doesn't really matter what you say.

I've know Ransom for half my life. Like, when we were in college together, we took a road-trip to the Grand Canyon with our friend, Kathy.

Past John: You taking pictures of me, dude?

We read James Joyce together and wrote comedy sketches together, and I was always in awe of Ransom's imagination. I think ultimately my favorite feeling isn't joy or excitement, but wonder. The wonder I feel when walking through an autumn forest with my kid who's never before seen the leaves turn color, or the wonder I feel when in the company of a great book or movie. Hanging out with Ransom always brings me that kind of wonder, because he has such a particular and interesting way of looking at the world. And, that's also how I feel about his books. They're wonderful, in the original sense of the word.

After hanging out for a while, I went back to my room.

Changed my tie.

And then met up with Sarah.

John: I don't look as nice as you do, but I look oh, alright.
Sarah: No, you look awesome. I love it.

And then my publisher, Julie Strauss-Gabel dropped by, and we all headed to the movie theatre for the screening. Before the movie, Ransom and his wife, the brilliant novelist Tahereh Mafi, posed on the red carpet, and I snuck back to be among the photographers. And, then I took my seat, where I caught a Magikarp. Now we shall cut from the Magikarp to me turning on the camera after the movie ended.

You can't see me, but I just saw the movie and it's so good!

Miss Peregrine made me feel the way Edward Scissorhands did decades ago. It was exciting and peculiar and explored with great wisdom the tension between the past you did have, the one you want to have, and the present you find yourself in. And, that's what I kept thinking about as I watch Ransom and Tahereh on the red carpet after watching the movie. Like, if you told me twenty years ago that this day would happen, I would've thought "That's gonna be so cool! Going to a movie premier all dressed up, people taking our pictures while we hang out with movie stars." And, it is cool. Ransom and I have both been astonishing lucky in our professional lives. But, the really wonderful part of yesterday for me wasn't the movie stars or the red carpet. It was seeing a great movie with my wife and dear friends, one of whom has known me since I was a kid on the edge of the Grand Canyon before I'd even learned to fear heights. In the end, I think people make experiences wonderful, not the other way around.

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.