This year, the world lost my grandmother and her first cousin, whose exact cousin-relationship to me I'm not sure of. I was very close to her, less so to him, and was saddened by their deaths, but I also know they were 89 and, I believe, 80, and it was their time. Not so, at least, in my head, for Carlos Batts, 40, and Ned Vizzini, 32. I only met Carlos at the Feminist Porn Conference, and was so impressed with his energy and humility and power. He was so present and aware of his art and his love for his wife, April Flores, as well as respect for her art and their personal and professional partnership, shone through.
Last night I read on Facebook about the passing of author Ned Vizzini. I hadn't seen him in years, but remember him being so friendly and welcoming at reading series like East Side Oral. I'd completely forgotten I once interviewed him for Gothamist. He wrote about depression and mental illness and suicide, and I have nothing to say further except that my heart hurts at the pain he must have been going through to commit suicide and leave behind a wife and two-year-old son. It's horrible and sad and the only positive I can see is the outpouring on Twitter and other social media from both friends and those who knew him from his writing, who've said some variation of: He helped me. He saved me. His words gave me hope. That is his legacy, one that will go on. Check out this lovely tribute by Kyle Buchanan at Vulture.
And if you are thinking of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.