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|Ned Vizzini's new book "Be More
Chill" is going from the bookshelf to the silverscreen. The
directors of "American Pie" - the Weitz Brothers (Chris and
Paul)¬†- and Steve Pink, the screenwriter of "High
Fidelty" are working to turn this Hyperion/Miramax book into a
movie. teentoday.co.uk visitor Piper Henriques got a chance to
speak to Ned...|
Jeremy Heere your "average high
school dork" takes a "squip" to make him cool to get The Girl.
The squip - a supercomputer in pill form - tells him what to
say, what to wear and how to act to achieve the Ultimate Cool.
(Can you get a squip? Google it.)
Ned Vizzini also
penned "Teen Angst? Naaah..."¬† (his memoir of high
school), wrote a great essay for the New York Times Magazine
at 17 and a veteran of the New York Press since he was 15.
This 23-year-old New York native writing
sensation let us in on his life.
As a young
writer with a couple of books under your belt and Be More
Chill turning into a movie, what's it like to be Ned
It's cool being Ned Vizzini right now. The
only thing is, there's so much to do--I get pretty stressed. I
have to keep myself calm by listening to music and working on
all sorts of crazy projects, as well as keeping my website
updated. And writing my next book is something that I
absolutely need in my life - without it I don't know where I'd
be. It's been a lifeline.
What sparked the
concept for Be More Chill? And what inspired the creation of
some of your characters?
The concept of BE MORE CHILL
was sparked by a few things: one was a band called Drunk
Horse, whose song "AM/FM shoes" (about a guy with a pair of
shoes that play the radio and make him cool) reflected my own
views on how certain products in society are ascribed with the
ability to make us cool. I also saw a lot of consumerism among
my peers, and a complete willingness to accept it, and I
wanted to write about the consequences of that. Also, I was
studying computer science. That can seep into a
Can you let us in on your squip
Sure. The squip websites, or "Squipiverse,"
as we call it, were created to promote BE MORE CHILL but also
to be a participatory reality that people all over the world
could contribute to. We have websites covering all aspects of
the "squip phenomenon"--from celebrities at CelebritySquip.com
to people who hate squips at squipped.com. We made a world
where squips are real! The wonderful thing is that it
generates email every day and people are taking it to places
we never expected, with animations, pictures and all sorts of
craziness. It's been a great experiment. I think it might even
be art. You can go to www.squipworld.com and judge for
Ned, what do you love to
I love to ride my bike. I got really into it this
summer. My brother introduced me. I feel like I'm beating the
system when I ride it, and I develop nice muscles. It's been a
You're a really proactive writer, you
host a biweekly reading series at Barbes in NY, speak to
students at schools, send out newsletters, have busy message
boards, creative contests ... you have such great energy, what
drives you, inspires you?
What drives me? Fear of
death, of course. That's why I started writing too. Fear of
failure keeps me going. I like to keep myself busy so I
won't¬† have regrets later.
When you speak
to students at schools, what message do you like them to walk
I like students to walk away knowing that
they can do what they want to do with life as long as they
don't watch too much TV, don't spend too much time on AIM,
stay off ecstasy and stay dogged about their goals. Whether
it's writing, music, or art, if you don't listen to anyone
you'll find that you can go pretty far. Only listen to the
people who know what they're talking about. And take them with
a grain of salt. Make art. It'll save
What events do you have coming up in
October, November? How can we keep in loop on what's
All of the important information about what I'm
doing is on my website, www.nedvizzini.com. In October I will
be speaking in Morenci, MI, where people are big fans of mine,
and also speaking at a number of libraries in New York, as
well as hosting my reading series at Barbes. I also hope to be
finished with my new book at that time. And I'll be presenting
a program called the "New York City Student Writing Showcase"
to teachers and librarians in the NYC public school system to
try and get them signed up. I'm really excited about the
Do you have a favourite quote:
I'm¬†going to¬†take a lot of heat for quoting
Jesus, but this is what's helped me out¬†lately: "What man
by worrying can add an hour to his
What are some of your favourite
things, food, entertainment ... anything ....
of food, the one thing I can always eat is yogurt. I keep it
around for emergencies. Girls hate it--the food that girls can
always eat is avocadoes. I love Spider-Man, the first one. I
think it's an American classic. I also love the NetCaptor
browser and I'm a big fan in the book world of James Frey's A
Million Little Pieces. Just as a sampler.
advice do you have for young writers?
Breaking into the
writing world is tougher than it was when I was a young
person, actually. It seems that everyone wants to write a book
and no one wants to read one! My advice remains to start with
short stories, preferably ones about true things that happened
to you, and work your way up to fiction. Fiction is hard.
Don't try to do it all at once.
Come to www.nedvizzini.com/boards/ and
join the discussion about my books and your own
Ned will be at the Lambrook Festival in
London on 27/10 to speak to young people about the writing
process.. why not go along?
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