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‘Teen Angst?...Naaah’ author visits CAHS
By Pam Huffman, CLARION NEWS Writer

Above, author of “Teen Angst?…Naaah” Ned Vizzini, visited students in eighth-grade English classes at Clarion Area High School to share his book.

CLARION - Being a teenager is often the most torturous and awkward period in the long road to adulthood for many youth.

Many teens are looking for a place to fit in while at the same time trying to find out who they are, which can lead to many memorable and more likely embarrassing experiences.

Ned Vizzini, reaching out to teenagers across the country, took his own experiences as a teen and his ability as a writer to author the book “Teen Angst?…Naaah,” a quasi-autobiography.

Vizzini, now 22-years old, recently visited Rebecca Sanchez’s eighth-grade English classes at Clarion Area High School to share his book, his views on life and tips on descriptive writing.

“I started writing this book because of my backpack,” Vizzini states in the introduction of his book, reading it to the class. “I took a bright teal, super-dorky backpack to high school, a backpack my mother had ordered years earlier from L.L. Bean. It worked so great throughout junior high that I figured it had a year or two left in it.”

Vizzini, a Brooklyn native and an energetic and engaging person, captured the classrooms’ attention from the moment he started, explaining why he started writing his book and reading various excerpts from his life forever immortalized in his book.

“Soon I was writing on a regular basis, taking my boring, scary, embarrassing high school moments and turning them into something people could read about. It was a real comfort-if something weird or horrible happened to me, I’d write about it, and then somehow I’d be in control. A little.”

He continued to tell stories of his life including a time he took some friends to a showing of the television show “The View,” how Nintendo saved him and about writing an essay at the age of 13 for the New York Times and how hard it was to get paid for it.

In the second session students were given an opportunity to write a short descriptive story written around a scenario set up by Vizzini.

After reading some very imaginative stories written by students, Vizzini talked briefly about writing details including literary omens, sensory details, how to set up the scene and how taking something from real life puts the reader in the story.

Encouraged to ask questions about writing, one student asked, “Did English teachers help you?”

“They were encouraging,” replied Vizzini. “Your motivation is more from the inside. I don’t think an English teacher can give you the drive but they can help shape you into being a writer.”

Vizzini encouraged students to write down ideas if they have them.

“But don’t tell anybody else, they might take your idea,” joked Vizzini.

In June of 2004, Vizzini will publish his second book, “Be More Chill.”

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