If you've been a longtime reader of this blog (hi, friend!), then you know how much I love and adore Ned Vizzini. His books spoke to me, and I've had the privilege of meeting, befriending, and knowing him. I have a tag on this blog dedicated to him, to tell of all the brilliant stories of us meeting and how incredibly sweet and nice he was. Like when he made ALA for me by giving me his personal ARC, or when he thanked me for writing a piece about his event (as if he needed to thank me for anything!).
|The first time we met.
(I remember thinking he was so cute.)
So it's with a heavy heart that I write this post.
The last time I saw Ned, he was doing LATFOB with Chris Columbus and the lines were madness. I tried to wait in a signing line, but had to get to a panel. I remember him catching my eye and waving as I was leaving, tilting his head as though asking where I was going. I tapped my phone, hoping he understood it meant I'd tweet him. Sure enough, he was quick to respond when I asked where he'd be later. When I did finally catch him just before his solo signing, he hugged me hello and said he'd been happy to see me at the panel/signing. We chatted, he told me a story about his wife getting a book signed by Orson Scott Card, introduced me to her and Felix (his son), we talked longer…and then I realized I'd made him almost 10 minutes late to his signing. He waved aside my apologies and didn't even rush us to the end. He signed my book, we said our goodbyes and promised to talk and meet up again when he had more events and closer to the paperback and Book 2 release. I remember walking away thinking I'd meant to get a photo with him since we didn't have any of us together, but I'd try again next time.
There's been an outpouring of love since the news broke of Ned's passing. He lost the battle against depression, something he was so open about. It was this disease that ultimately took him from us, but it's also the one that brought him into our lives, too. And that's what I'm going to choose to remember.
Ned was such an individual. He was brilliant and funny, charming, with a built-in storytelling gene. He would regale me with hilarious stories or funny run-ins with his industry, and I'd leave him already anticipating the next adventure he'd tell me about. I still remember the day I met him felt like I was hanging out with an old friend: he treated me as such, with a warm and welcoming crooked smile. I knew then he'd gotten a fan for life. And every meeting after that just made it stronger. When he started messaging me about his upcoming events, seeing if I was going and setting up where/when we'd have a chat, it baffled me he'd remember some random fan girl and take the time out of his day just to say hi…but that's who he was. He was kind and considerate, mindful of the people in his life. He always thanking me for my writing and reviews and support, no matter how often I'd remind him it was my honor to do so.
There's really nothing else I can say, other than how terribly sad this situation is. That I am heartbroken for Ned, for the YA community's loss, for Sabra and Felix and all his other family. I hope Ned has found peace, wherever he may be, and I hope he's seeing how much we all loved him, how much his words have helped those in the same dark places he's found himself in.
I love you always Ned, and I'll miss your amazing writing, seeing you, and that happy drop in my belly every time I'd see a message from you pop up in my inbox. Thanks for teaching me the roadmaps in my head, how to travel them and what they're worth. Until we meet again, my friend.