Author Ned Vizzini has died
December 20, 2013 10:41 AM   Subscribe

 
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posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:44 AM on December 20, 2013


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posted by drezdn at 10:44 AM on December 20, 2013


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There is nothing selfish about suicide. Just tragedy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:47 AM on December 20, 2013 [11 favorites]


Man, I remember this guy -- he was one of the highlights of the New York Press during its glory years in the mid-1990s. I'm sorry to hear he didn't make it through.
posted by escabeche at 10:50 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:57 AM on December 20, 2013


I saw rumors of this on FaceBook last night and was hoping it wasn't true.
posted by Jahaza at 11:03 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is nothing selfish about suicide. Just tragedy.

I agree with you, but I thought except for that one line, this was a beautiful remembrance of a friend.
posted by gladly at 11:05 AM on December 20, 2013


If you haven't read It's Kind of a Funny Story, do yourself a favor and do so ASAP. The final part that takes place on the psych ward is a bit contrived, but the lead-up to there is one of those perfectly accurate pictures of depression that could only be written by someone who knows it intimately:

Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That's above and beyond everything else, and it's not a mental complaint-it's a physical thing, like it's physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don't come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people's words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.

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posted by ActionPopulated at 11:11 AM on December 20, 2013 [16 favorites]


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posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:20 AM on December 20, 2013


I agree with you, but I thought except for that one line, this was a beautiful remembrance of a friend.

I totally agree. I just felt triggered by that line.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:20 AM on December 20, 2013


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Another New York press reader here. Sad.
posted by fungible at 11:21 AM on December 20, 2013


I remember this guy -- he was one of the highlights of the New York Press during its glory years in the mid-1990s.

You may be thinking of someone else; Vizzini would have been in high school then
posted by thelonius at 11:23 AM on December 20, 2013


He was; he started getting published when he was 15 or so.
posted by Madamina at 11:28 AM on December 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


There is nothing selfish about suicide.

I wonder what his wife would have to say about that. Their son can't be very old.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


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posted by dlugoczaj at 11:34 AM on December 20, 2013


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posted by Jacqueline at 11:37 AM on December 20, 2013


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posted by ursus_comiter at 11:40 AM on December 20, 2013


I have two kids and they keep me here like two firm anchors, but depression can bend you out of shape so hard that you think suicide is the best thing you can do for yourself and the rest of the world.
I didn't know him and now I regret he'll never write again. Those who suffer have so often so much to give.
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posted by hat_eater at 11:44 AM on December 20, 2013 [20 favorites]


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posted by yeoz at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2013


There is nothing selfish about suicide.

I wonder what his wife would have to say about that. Their son can't be very old.


I just lost a young friend around this guy's age to suicide. He didn't leave a child, but he sure left a bunch of people who loved him. So yeah, definitely tragic for those left behind.

As for selfish, well that's what I would've termed it ten or twenty years ago after having endured a couple of friends' suicides. Indeed, getting genuinely angry at them for bailing on me, on their problems, on their families, on EVERYTHING was a big part of my getting over it.

But just recently with Dave (not his real name), let's just say I've come realize that's not my call to make. If it was selfish, then only Dave would truly know. Certainly based on some of his writing (Dave was a fine writer), it's not as if he hadn't been struggling with it (mental illness for lack of a better term) for years, really fighting it hard. And for many around him, it did seem that he'd beat it.

But no. In the end, we're just left with

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posted by philip-random at 11:59 AM on December 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


[Do not turn this into an argument or referendum on your own personal feelings about suicide, please.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:03 PM on December 20, 2013 [24 favorites]


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Death, you surely are a meanie.
posted by xedrik at 12:12 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I must have read 'Teen Angst? Naaah' over a dozen times when I was thirteen. It's still one of those books that pops into my mind on a regular basis, for one reason or another. I'll have to pull it out again.

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posted by sonmi at 12:15 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember reading his memoir, Teen Angst? ...Naaah. as a freshman in high school. He was an amazing storyteller who lived such a rich life.

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posted by capricorn at 12:16 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aww damn. I met Ned at SXSW two years ago, standing in the Barnes and Noble popup bookstore in the convention center. I was fondling "Be More Chill", trying to decide if I had room for it in my bag, knowing I loved "It's Kind of a Funny Story". From behind, a voice said, "You should get it. I can get the author to sign it for you, and it's good." I turned, said "Oh yeah?" and he said "yeah", took the book, and signed it. After I bought it, we chatted a bit and he wrote a little note by his signature.

That first bit sounds vaguely obnoxious, but it wasn't at all, he was charming. And he was right, the book was good. Sad loss for the universe; I offer a big "fuck you" to suicidal thoughts in his honor.
posted by donnagirl at 12:19 PM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Goddammit. I loved his writing. I've recommended It's Kind of a Funny Story to many teen patrons at the library where I work. So, so sad.
posted by 40 Watt at 12:33 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heartbreak.

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posted by BibiRose at 12:34 PM on December 20, 2013


I have never suffered the sort of depression he experienced and wrote about, although I have seen it firsthand. I understand it to be very, very hard. And I understand that suicidal ideation isn't something people necessarily entertain deliberately -- I had a friend who had to walk down a flight of stairs when he finished work, and every time he would imagine himself flinging himself down that flight of stairs. These thoughts weren't especially welcome, but they felt like a compulsion, and they seemed to thrust themselves on him.

He suffered very mild depression. It is my understanding that to the very depressed, these thoughts aren't unwelcome at all, but feel like someone offering a solution. It's as though you have just started moving toward suicide, and can be a very great relief.

God willing, I will never experience that. I don't understand it, and it seems just terrible to me. But I try to understand, so that I can spot these things before they happen and get help, and, if I fail at that, understand that depression is a sometimes fatal illness, and it is the illness to blame.

It's my understanding that It's Kind of a Funny Story addresses all this. I had not heard of the book before today. I think I shall read it soon.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:38 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


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Depression sucks and we shouldn't attribute motivations when we don't know what he was thinking.
posted by arcticseal at 12:53 PM on December 20, 2013


I haven't read any of this yet -- I knew Ned, and this post is the first I've heard about his death. I got Ned's second book reviewed in People Magazine, and he struck up a friendship with me then, and sent me every book he published thereafter, and kept in touch after he moved out to LA. He was a lovely, lovely soul. I was so happy for every success he had, and really excited when he got to work with Christopher Columbus on House of Secrets.

He had a hard life (Read It's Kind of a Funny Story) and a lot to deal with, and it makes me so very sad that he is gone, if only because he had such good stories to tell and his being gone means we won't have any more of those stories. I'm so glad he was here for a little while, though, and shared the stories he did.

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posted by brina at 12:55 PM on December 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


There is nothing selfish about suicide.

I wonder what his wife would have to say about that. Their son can't be very old


Please consider that if he had died of a heart attack would you have said the same thing? When are people going to learn that suicide is the tragic end result of a devastating mind-body disease called clinical depression?

Depression radically distorts one's thinking process; this is the brutal nature of this disease.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:09 PM on December 20, 2013 [17 favorites]


[I am serious - it is very simple to argue about suicide and you are more than welcome to make a post on MetaFilter about suicide. Turning a post about Ned Vizzini into a back and forth argument about the nature of depression and suicide is something I strongly suggest not doing but it's up to you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:12 PM on December 20, 2013 [15 favorites]


It's Kind of a Funny Story was an important, hopeful book for me. I reached the end of it and believed without thinking too hard about it, without being aware that it required skepticism, that the end was just the end -- depression fixed, clear sailing from there.

I am sad that a person can fight that hard to find hope and meaning, and not make it through.

And his death doesn't negate any of what he wrote, or the work he did in raising awareness about mental health. I'm just sad that he saw a better future for himself, and didn't live to see it.

He was barely older than I me.
posted by Jeanne at 1:33 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


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posted by lalochezia at 1:47 PM on December 20, 2013


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posted by hydropsyche at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2013



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posted by ariadne's threadspinner at 4:47 PM on December 20, 2013


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I went to high school with his brother. I'm very sad to see this.
posted by knoyers at 4:48 PM on December 20, 2013


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posted by solarion at 4:53 PM on December 20, 2013


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:04 PM on December 20, 2013




Fuck depression. Fuck suicide.

I wish his family and friends peace.
posted by ltracey at 6:23 PM on December 20, 2013


There but for the grace of an arbitrary universe.

I worked with Ned at New York Press. We're the same age, both grew up in the city, went to similar schools, and both had longstanding issues with depression.

The difference? Ned was, by far, a kinder person, and one who was far better at putting his emotions into print. My Facebook feed is full of remembrances of him, some from people I didn't realize knew him. Which makes sense, given that the guy would make the time of day for anyone.

Fuck depression.

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posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:24 PM on December 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


There's a part of me that will always see Ned Vizzini as a 15-year-old Stuyvesant High student, writing columns for the New York Press that would have been impressive had they been written by a writer twice Ned's age. Coming from a high school student, they were astonishing, and I hoped that Ned would never stop writing.

Goddamn.

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posted by bakerina at 8:40 PM on December 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


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32 is not even close to old. I feel so sorry for him and all of the people he thought would be better off without him in their lives.
posted by elvissa at 9:36 PM on December 20, 2013


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posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:36 PM on December 20, 2013


Dammit.

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posted by From Bklyn at 3:15 AM on December 21, 2013


I was another of those people who was desperately hoping that this wasn't true yesterday, even when friends were telling me it absolutely was, even when his wife turned her facebook black.

Please try to be sensitive on this, guys, because Metafilter has such a big NYC presence this is a person Mefites actually knew. I was unable to look for internet confirmation of this yesterday because the comments were so awful that I wanted to punch people through the internet. Let's be better than that.

I knew Ned as a friend, as a dorky, goofy, sweet, teenager that always had a ton of dreams. Everything he did - journalist, comic book author, member of a band, had to do with writing, but even so, it was such a nice surprise (if a little surreal) to see him make good.

What's strange for me, now, is seeing how much of an impact he had on other people. I had no idea - because I didn't read his books, because I didn't watch his movie, because I thought there'd always be time for that later. But when I took to twitter and facebook, trying to track stuff down, the twitter stream was full of, as someone else said, "a stream of young women talking about how he changed their lives."

I think he'd probably have been surprised, and so, so pleased.

I wish he could have seen this before he died. I wish this was just a misunderstanding about a failed attempt, and he would get to see this outpouring of love, and be okay. I wish I'd read his book and told him it was the best goddamn thing in the entire world.

I cried at work yesterday and I'm starting to cry again writing this. He was one of the best of us, and it was awful. He came home to New York to kill himself. I can't begin to make sense of that.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on December 21, 2013 [6 favorites]




My condolences to his wife and child. This is going to be a terrible time for them, and a terrible time of year for years to come.

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posted by DarlingBri at 1:01 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I only heard about Ned Vizzini earlier this year when my high school aged nephew told me about his books and how good my nephew thought they were. My nephew who had never really read novels on his own ever. At the time, I thought my nephew kind of reminded me of my friends in high school/college when they discovered David Foster Wallace. It's really sad that Ned met the same fate. Depression is a hell of a disease.

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posted by bluefly at 8:22 AM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


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