It’s been two years. Two years to yesterday you committed suicide by jumping off the roof of your library. I was supposed to write this yesterday and well, I’m sorry. I almost forgot. I know. How could I forget? How come anyone? You were, no, you are my favorite author. You were like, the greatest YA author ever. Your writing inspired thousands. You changed lives. I want to people able to write like you did; you spoke from such a personal place and were so vulnerable. I don’t think anyone has been able to do that the way you were able to. People trust you because you weren’t faking it all. You knew what you were talking about.
I remember the first time I read It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. I read it because I kept seeing pictures from the movie on my tumblr. I knew Emma Robertson was in it so I searched her IMDB for every movie she was in until I found it. Then I heard it was a book so I ordered the book and the movie from the library. They both came, but I read the book first. I fell in love. The way you wrote sucked me into the story. I felt like Craig was me. He talked like us. Like a teenager. I was 17. I felt like Craig was speaking my language. I didn’t know anyone else knew how hard it was to talk and how hard it was to get out of bed some mornings and life. It was like someone finally got what I was saying and it was okay because I wasn’t alone.
You taught me that all I had to do was breathe in and breathe out. You put The Shift into words. In that book, wow. You taught me that we had to live. To enjoy every stupid little thing and that life is so beautiful. But even after the Shift comes, you’re not cured. Things can still be hard and there will be days where you swear you’re getting bad again but that doesn’t mean your Shift meant nothing. It will always mean something. You taught me that when you speak the truth, you get stronger.
In Craig I found someone who was as messed up as I was. Craig was someone who had biking as an Anchor, like me. He had Tentacles that complicated life and made things difficult. Craig was afraid of living. Craig had a hard time talking. But I realized it wasn’t Craig. It was you, wasn’t it?
You were all those things. It was always you.
And then when I saw it on Twitter…you killed yourself…I just cried. I wanted to say it wasn’t true but I searched your name and I saw it. It was on the news. It was everywhere. I just sat at my desk and cried. I never got to meet you. You would never sign my copy of It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. I would never tell you that your book helped me more than I ever thought.
There was one line in specific that had such an impact on me. It said “I don’t owe people anything, and I don’t need to talk to them any more than I feel I need to.”
Ned, that was everything to me. That hit me so hard. That was what finally got me to be okay with being quiet. Because I don’t owe people my words. If I give them it’s because I trust you. I don’t owe people anything. If I’m uncomfortable, I don’t need to talk and my silence should be okay. After that I didn’t feel so pressured to talk or even to explain myself. I can tell the people who care, and people who don’t, well, they don’t deserve to know anyway. That was so freeing. Thank you.
I miss you.
I think about you a lot. I’m angry that you never got hope. You never found the light. I think you would be so happy today. Be More Chill was just adapted for Broadway. Can you believe it? It’s a musical now. You would be so proud. You would be here to maybe read this letter on this little blog and see how much your words meant to the world; you would see that you were broken but aren’t we all? You’re not alone. I recommend your book to everyone I meet. I run a ministry for kids who are depressed and I always tweet things you’ve said and I always tell my kids about It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. Heck, the movie was just as good. It was just perfect. You should be so proud. Some day if I get published, I want to dedicate a novel to you because I hope you be a writer just like you. I want my words to be authentic and to matter to people.
I saw a quote on Instagram that said “Books don’t have the power to save us, but they give us the courage to save ourselves.” And well…yeah. Thank you. I could say that a million times. Thank you , thank you, thank you. I wish I could hug you and tell you all this. I miss you. We all do. But you helped me get stronger and braver and for that, I’m forever grateful. God used you in big ways. I know it’s not just me. I’m just one simple girl you helped to feel more comfortable. Imagine the rest of the stories.
You’re a hero, Ned Vizzini.