This is a rather odd Christmas. I’m not buying gifts this year, I didn’t send out Christmas cards (but there’s still The Letter!), and I don’t even feel like making cookies or any other dessert (store-bought pies here I come!). But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad or sad Christmas. Maybe it’s not even odd. Just…different. Low-key, calm, waiting for 2014.

A note about Ned Vizzini, who passed away last week. He was not only a great writer but a great guy, a really generous person (you don’t always get someone so generous in this profession). He and I had talked about being roommates, about ten years ago, when he was in NY and I was in MA (this was during one of my many, “I’m going to move!” times). It never got beyond the casual “hey, what if…” stage but I thought about that immediately when I heard the news. He contributed to PBJ many times over the years.

When I interviewed him for his book Be More Chill in 2004, this is what he said:

But seriously, it has been a very hard time for me. I have gone through real, clinical depression and I’ve written about that on my blog and been really helped by the support I’ve gotten there. It doesn’t make any sense to other people–I’m 23, I just published my second book; I’m working with A-List Hollywood talent on a movie and I’m going to England for the UK version in a little over a week–but there’s a tremendous sense of despair and hopelessness about the rest of my life and how I compare to other people. Luckily I’m going to pour all of this into my new book and then I can say when that one comes out, “I wrote this book at a really hard time in my life…”

That book was It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

He will be missed. If you’re in pain, please talk to someone.

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