An Open Letter to Ned Vizzini From a Sparkler
I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I wasn't a good-enough fan to know sooner of your untimely demise. I'm sorry that I spent all this time thinking how great it must feel to be able to touch the lives of so many teenagers, including mine, with books as amazing as yours. I'm sorry I didn't send that last email to you before December 19th. And I'm sorry that I couldn't spend more of last Christmas re-reading "It's Kind of a Funny Story," because frankly, reading your books made me feel connected to you in some sort of way—I felt as if we were in a kind of conversation with each other, as if you wrote them specifically for me.
And that's why I am furious with you, Ned.
You are a hypocrite and a cheat. All those things you wrote about suicide not being the answer, that life can be managed and the existence of a better world were lies. They were pure bullcrap, because if they weren't, you wouldn't have been dead. You wouldn't have been the author who killed himself by jumping off the roof of his parents' building out of depression, no. You would have been the author who lived despite his depression because he was that strong.
Now I'm not calling you a coward. That wouldn't be fair because it's not true. Killing yourself isn't cowardice but it's definitely a selfish thing to do. It was selfish because you owed it to yourself to be brave and to live, even if it just meant breathing in and out each day. You owed it to your family to be there for them no matter what. And you owed it to me to be the person I wanted to be when I grew up. But now I won't be able to grow up the way I would have because you won't be there with me (in a non-literal way.)
So, I'm sorry. I'm just really, really sorry.
Please don't be alarmed after reading this letter, wherever you are, because that was the last of my intentions. What I wanted for you to know was that I love you and admire you, all of you—good and bad. And I don't know what kind of problems you went through or if you even got the help you needed, but what I do know is that there's just one life and there's only one Ned Vizzini in this world. There will only ever be ONE Ned Vizzini and I will try my best to keep him alive through me, living the years he would have lived past 32.
I really wish you were here.