...Is A Real Boy

...Is A Real Boy

A Story by ericdeben
"

Max Bemis made my life. I thought the world should know.

"

 

 


…Is A Real Boy

            “I have to record the spoken word introduction… to the record,” Max Bemis winds and unwinds his ankles in miniature circles, bouncing his left hand on his right, his knees swaying with unstability. His half-assed hat hair laying inconfidently upon his head, his hands unsure if they’re ready to grab the microphone or if they should continue to hang loose.

“Still?” Tim asks in disbelief, sitting adjacent to Max on a black foldable chair in this squalid apartment occupied by the familiar punk rock instruments, tossed papers containing lost lyrics, and rolled joints consisting of Max’s choice-escape from his mentally exaggerated reality.

“Yeah, it’s only a few lines, but I’m having anxiety about it,” Max admits, expelling air from his chest with a hard, angsty breath.

            Tim shakes his head. “Do you know what it is?”

            “Yeah, it goes uh,” he starts.

            “Then you don’t have to write it,” Tim interrupts. “Oh yeah, let me hear it.”

            “Uh, ‘And the record begins with a song of rebellion’,” he recites.

            “That’s it…?” Tim sighs.

            Max silently nods and grabs hold of the mic axiomatically. Tim flips the record switch and Max slides his hands downward. While his fingers embrace the mic with a tremor, his voice remains professionally clear: “And the record begins with a song of rebellion.”

            In the apartment’s dusty corner, Coby Linder, sitting behind a drumset begins to rythmically strike the drums with wooden drumsticks. One. Two. Three. Four. One. Two. Three. And then he adds symbols. Tom nods his head to the beat in approval. With each beat, Max escretes another miniscule drop of sweat from his pores.

            He sings. He sings beautifully with a hard tone, focusing on his r’s, t’s, and d’s; the letters Bostonians and the Irish usually drop in their songs and speech. He’s an American. The melody clicks:

     I wouldn’t sell my belt to industry.

    So they carded me

    And they carted me off.

            Max continues to flow through the obscure lyrics, revealing lines even clearer, yet more obscure.

     Naked but that belt around my waist
     It was my father's once
     I still see his face.

            As the duo play throughout the entire song’s remainder; excluding the guitar riffs, tabs, and chords and the bass’ overlaying tone, another apprehensive thought runs through Max’s head with each line: The anxiety of his rather colossal expectations for this record.

            After a perfect, studio-worthy performance, Max begins to go insane, explosively knocking over his mic stand and Coby’s drumset, Coby jumping back-first into the wall. Tom rolls his eyes, keeping alert, hoisted upon his hands.

            “Woah man, that session was great! Are you okay?” Coby attempts to appease.

 “Ah, screw this! Screw this budget production. I should have signed to a major label! ECA Records sucks! Doghouse records sucks too! Screw this! God damnit!” Max screams in frustration, his shoulders perked up, his back hunched, his hands in fists then magnetically slapping onto his hair, pulling and messing it up as he screams, “Screw Say Anything!”

Max swipes a rolled joint from his mediocre mahogany bureau. A lighter flies out of his pocket at the speed of sound, flicked open and burning a hot flame on the tip of Max’s marijuana that grows out from his lips. He throws the lighter on the grainy carpeted flooring. It shuts before it hits. Tom’s eyes widen at the sight of this, his lungs jumping as he inhales through his nose.

“Holy s**t, dude! You could’ve lit this whole place on fire,” Coby looks at him in disgust, back glued to the wall.

Max holds a blank glare through the smoky haze. He coughs, “I don’t care.” His eyes begin to tire as he leans against the wall parallel to Coby, sliding his back down to sit with his knees at chin level.

“I’ll come back later?” Tom asks, already heading out the door.

Max’s eyes follow him silently as the joint reenters his mouth.

“Yeah, sure,” Coby says for Max, “later’s fine.”

Tom nods and exits, his footsteps fading on their way onto the cement sidewalk.

Coby steps forward and begins to stand up the drums, “That’s your third one.”

Max sighs, the back of his head pivots on his neck to the wall slowly.

“Today,” Coby adds, “That’s your thir­­d one today.”

A much calmer Max speaks, “I can’t do it,” he pauses, “I’m alone in this. You play drums, I play every-effing-thing else.”

“I’m here for you. We wanted this to be big. A musical. A script. Maybe just an album is enough.”

“I’m not giving this up. This is supposed to be my master-” Max’s speech begins to drop.

“I know, your ‘masterpiece’,” Coby sympathizes, retaking his seat.

“We need to outdo Andy Warhol and … and Jesus,” his eyes widen.

“You’re expecting too much of us!” Coby exclaims, “No wonder you’re getting anxiety.”

            Max makes a terse noise, “Meh.” Puff. Puff. He passes out against the wall.

            That week, the duo continued to record songs, their mess-ups resulting in hyperbolic f-bombs. Even the perfect playthroughs, the ‘masterpieces’, made Max resort to marijuana.

            Every time he smokes, his mind trips, dropping his anxiety and bringing a joyous smile to his face. On a subsequent Sunday session, he pictures a five-minute music video, 4/5 of it song, 1/5 scripted acting. He dances with the mic, Coby beats the drums setting off rebellious explosions. Max begins to aggressively punch figures of ‘false-power’ such as his father, the president, the governor of New York, and the high school jocks that made his life a living hell.

            Sunday’s session comes to an end. A slap on the face, Max wakes to a paramedic and Coby by his side, arms crossed, eyes watering. Stubble grows on both their faces as a result of isolation and lack of hygene.

            Max c***s his head and scrunches his eyebrows, “The hell are you?” The premiscuous paramedic takes Max by the arm. “Who are you?!” Max screams in terror, jerking away.

            The paramedic lets Max slip from his grip then crouches down to eye-level, “Either let us help you or let us have you under arrest.”

            Max looks at Coby in disgust, “Coby?”

            Coby gulps, “You need this man.”

            The paramedic jerks Max and Max follows loosely, his forehead lined with confusion, tripping over his own feet.

            “Thank me later,” Coby adds, keeping his distance as he follows them out.

            Max momentarily stops the paramedic and lifts his head, yelling, “You know what? Screw you, Coby!”

            Two other paramedics take Max at the door.

            As Max is revealed to the bright outdoors and the flashing lights of the ambulence, his eyes sicken and squint.

            “I’m fine! I don’t need help!” he protests.

            Coby shuts the apartment door as Max is loaded into the back of the ambulence. Behind the faded windows, Max screams profanity as he is driven away.

 

            In his cot at Saint Mark’s Mental Institution, he pouts at the unfamiliar scenery. The small boxed tv, the fuzzy beige blankets, the scent of sanitizer, the blank white walls and the scratched white tiled flooring.

            Enter: The psychiatrist. Blue eyes, wrinkled skin, and a sagging chin. Dirt-dried blonde hair falls to her shoulders, an ugly white turtleneck sweater chokes her skin, casual jeans shyly embrace her legs, and a star of David hangs loosly around her neck.

            “Hello, Maxim. I’m doctor Martha Connolly,” she takes a seat by his side and holds out her hand with a introverted grin.

            Max’s fingers gesture her hand away as he refuses to make eye contact, “Get me out of here,” Max mumbles to the wall.

            “I don’t know if I can do that,” Martha tries to sound polite, folding her hands as her skinny speckled arms hang from their sockets.

            “Trust me, I’m completely fine,” Max states. “Let me go. I have a record to record.”

            Martha leans in and incompetently tries to start a conversation, “Do you want to talk about it?”

            “No,” Max curtly replies, bending his knees in towards his chest.

            Martha backs away to give Max some space, “What’s going on in your head?” Max remains silent. “Max?”

            “Anxiety,” he mumbles.

            Martha crouches down, laying her left hand on the cot’s edge, “Anxiety about what?”

            “The record,” Max replies, his legs inching over to the opposite edge.

            “Okay, so forget about the record for now. It’s time to take a break,” she assertively suggests.

            “This record is supposed to be my masterpiece,” Max explains briefly, and then he abruptly screams, hitting his head forcefully against the wall, “Let me the hell out!”

            “No,” Martha swiftly stands, “you’re staying here. You have bipolar disorder.”

            Max raises his eyebrows, “No,” he’s quick to deny.

            “Yes, you have all the symptoms: racing thoughts, impulsiveness, recklessness, unusual energy, anxiety, you expect too much of yourself yet you have contrasting a low self-esteem, and you’re lonely and depressed,” Martha lists.

            “You don’t know me,” Max skeptically states.

            “Coby knows you. I talked to him over the phone.”

            “I’m not bipolar!” Max denies once more.

            “It’s okay Max, you’re just going through denial,” Martha fondles her necklace.

            Max finally looks in her eyes, then down, noticing the star of David, mesmerized. “I’m not-,” he stops.

            Martha notices Max’s point-of-focus then lets her hand drop from her necklace, “Are you Jewish, Max?”

            “I am, but what does that have to do with anything?” he looks away.

            “Religion can help you through this.”

            “Through... prison?” Max says, sardonically.

            “This is a mental institution, not a prison,” Martha corrects.

            “Might as well be,” Max sarcastically smirks.

            There’s a long awkward silence until Martha breaks it with a hushed sigh, “Well I’m going to leave you alone now,” her high heels tap on their way out the door.

            Max turns away and lies down on his side, getting comfortable underneath the blankets. The door closes and he exhales, closing his eyes in bloodshot pain.

            Martha storms through the halls of hell with her head held in shame. From his desk, Dr. Wilson stops her, “Dr. Connolly! How did it go?”

            She turns and looks up, “Well,” she pauses, “I told him he’s positive for bipolar disorder.”

            Doctor Wilson c***s his head, “I thought we weren’t certain on that.”

            “We aren’t,” Martha’s mouth cringes.

            “He can sue,” Wilson warns.

            “Yeah, only if he knows,” she unconfidentally winks.

            Max spends three more months in the mental institution. After a couple weeks, Martha could cash her claims on Max’s bipolar disorder and things were looking fine for her, not so much for Max, though it appeared he was ready to be released.

            “Good luck, Maxim,” Martha holds out her hand, shyly smiling.

            “Thank you,” Max mutters, shaking her hand and looking at the ground.

            The institution’s doors open and Max’s eyes squint, shrieking once again from the overwhelming light. Fading from white is Coby’s Cheverolet, the passenger’s door open and welcoming, with Coby peeking out from the driver’s seat.

            Max fakes a grin and hops in, clearing his throat.

            “You’re a changed man,” Coby pats Max on the back and steps on the gas, exiting the institution once and for all.

            “Are we in New York?” Max asks, off-topic.

            “Yes, we’re in Brooklyn. Our apartment is only fourty minutes away,” Coby elaborates.

            “Should’ve visited.”

            Coby glances at Max and smirks, “You needed a full vacation.”

           

            Coby and Max enter their apartment, cleaner than ever before, blasting “Stay What You Are”; a Saves The Day record.

            “Looks nice,” Max compliments.

            “Yeah, man. I fixed up the place while you were gone. I figured you’d be less stressed out if everything looked a little less… clustered,” Coby pauses, “Are you ready to record?”

            “Umm, yeah. I wrote a bit while I was out.”

            “Cool. What did you write?”

            “’Every Man Has A Molly’,” Max recalls, taking folded papers out from his right sweatpant pocket.

            Coby unfolds them and skims the pages, “Who’s Molly Connolly?”

            “The character is… loosely based,” Max explains, remembering the angst he shares with Martha.

            After hours of writing riffs, tabs, chords, and beats, Max decides to take a break. Looking around, he cannot find his previous escape, “Where’s my marijuana?”

            Coby shrugs, “I sold it man. I thought you were done with that s**t.”

            “Well, I wasn’t,” Max slaps the wall.

            “Don’t go back to that,” Coby puts his drumsticks down.

            “I’m getting more tomorrow,” Max declares, turning towards Coby.

            Coby leans back, “No, don’t. I’m here for you, man. You don’t need it. Be sober with me tonight.”

            “Tonight. But tomorrow, I’m off.”

            They spend the night sober, listening to music, exchanging quick sentences then falling asleep earlier than usual.

            The morning after, Coby wakes to see Max’s futon empty. He can’t help but be overwhelmed with guilt, so he panics to find the phone, his knees bent limp and his back hunched as his hands spread wall to wall. “I gotta save him,” Coby dials Max’s number, his fingers shaking. Call.

            Max’s phone rings on the drumset. Coby watches it until it goes silent as he places the phone back on its holder, then his head towers over the futon. “No,” he claims failure.

            Meanwhile, on the streets of Brooklyn, Max looks for marijuana as he relapses with paranoia and anxiety. The city streets are busy with traffic, the cafes decorated with marquees hanging on the outdoors with black fancy fencing to surround the eating areas.

            “I know you’re filming me!” Max shouts to the sky on a sidewalk corner, “I don’t want to be a part of this mockumentary!” Max notices a stranger and encounters him at the fence of Brooklyn Burgers, “I know you! Who put you up to this.”

            “I don’t know you,” the man inches away, “And I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            “I’ve been filmed my whole life. Put the cameras down!” Max screams in the man’s face, holding his collar.

            “I’m not holding a camera,” the man holds a confused look, shoving Max away in disgust. “Now let me go!”

            Max lets him go and screams, his voice cracking, “I’m not here for your entertainment!”

*****

            It’s quiet in California. Max needs a vacation from the concrete jungles of New York. He now lays on his mother’s couch with a polished acoustic guitar in his hands, gently crushing his chest. It’s a clean oceanside beach house. White with beige suede furniture, his father’s wrecked hollywood camera sitting on the wooden tabletop, a black piano with dusty keys against the window, fake ferns in each corner. Max wonders why he ever moved to New York.

            Shifra Bemis whom Max calls ‘mom’, enters the living room with a concerned look, “Maxim, can I get you anything?”

            Max strums an E chord, “A water,” he replies curtly, then adds, “thank you, mum.”

            Mom comes back with a smile and a glass of tap water with two ice cubes floating atop. She sits on the table beside the couch, brushing the camera slightly aside to make room. Her face is tight with persian eyes and pearly white teeth. Pink glasses lie on her acute nose. Her hair is a medium-length, clean whitish-blonde, up in a mess. She wears a fashionable white blouse, lavender loose leggings, and plently of tan colored make-up to hide her age.

            Max sits up, taking the water from Shifra’s gentle hands, letting the guitar lean carefully on the couch’s arm. He takes a sip and clears his throat, “What, mom?” He rolls his eyes.

            “What are you thinking, Maxim?” Mom tries not to sound offended.

            “I’m thinking of songs,” Max says.

            “What songs?”

            “I mean writing songs… to vent. I thought of a verse,” Max puts down the water and picks up the guitar. He plays an E chord then sings beautifully with a soft undertone.

     Please take me out of my body

     Up through the palm trees

            His voice falls unexpectedly, “Crap, let me start again.”

            Mom smirks sincerely, “You were doing fine.”

            Max shrugs. His mind is set for the D chord, followed by the C, G and E minor.

     Please take me out of my body
     Up through the palm trees
     To smell California in sweet hypocrisy.
     Floating my senses surround my body.
     I wake my nose to smell that ocean burn.

            The chords flow naturally. His voice sings softly on repeat:

     La da da la da da la da da da da da da

            The final note fades. “That sounds wonderful, Maxim! I love it,” mom praises.

            “Thanks,” Max smiles, laying down the guitar, staring at the carpeted floor.

            Weeks go by and the song develops, adding a chorus and a definitive theme, keeping the overall chord flow, but adding a few notes. He calls it ‘Woe’, meaning great sorrow or distress.

            Though appearing healed to his mom, Max’s subconscious is still saturated with paranoia.

            “Maxim,” mom calls from the kitchen, “you should go outside. You haven’t been outside in a while.”

            “I will, mom,” Max gets up from the couch and itches his bearded face. A blade hasn’t touched his skin since he came to California.

            “Do yourself a favor and shave, too,” mom says.

            “I will when I get back,” he vaguely promises, heading out the back door that leads to Venice Beach only a couple blocks down. “Bye, mom.”

            As he walks the beach alone in his thoughts and open-toed shoes, the sand scratches bittersweet between his toes. He notices people around him in his peripheral vision; his anxiety comes back to him. I must avoid all encounters, he thinks. I don’t want to relapse.

            His mind goes blank and he wanders off the beach, into the streets embellished with familiar outdoor cafes and children playing all around. Sentimental teens walk alongside the diminutive buildings, holding hands.

            Max begins to harass children, telling them that they’re all “living a lie” and “it only gets worse”. When he’s shoed away by parents, he nonchalantly walks into an outdoor café.

            An overweight man in thick-rimmed glasses hunches over his bowl of soup. Max swipes it from him and attempts to push him back, but only backfires. “Hey!” the man exclaims in shock, putting his hands up. “I was eating that.”

            Max takes a spoon silently and scoops a bite of the soup that he spits at the overweight man. He then takes another spoonful and pours it gradually onto the ground, splashing onto his cheap Converse.

            “You’re paying for that,” the overweight man struggles to get up then exits the café.

            People crowd as Max spends a half hour, silently sobbing and pouring the soup on the ground spoonful by spoonful, his head drooping over. Max’s face is blank and emotionless until the spoon hits the empty bottom and the bowl drops from his hands, shattering on the pavement and hitting his jean-guarded shins. He looks up at the crowd.

            “What do you want?” he screams, exiting the café and shoving people out of the way. “What do you want?” Max punches a stranger in the full force face, following his fist with his body like a pitcher with a baseball. The man hits him back and crowd inches away as the two battle it out, some watching in excitement and others in shock. “Get off of me! All of you! Get off of me!” Max falls to the ground, bruised and bleeding and yelling in sweet hypocrisy under his broken breath as the man viciously stomps on his head, “Crazy a*s, do you do this to every man you meet?”

People increasingly back away as police in white uniforms, navy blue caps, and glistening golden badges run to the scene. The man runs off, stumbling through the crowd, placing the obligatory blame, “He hit me first! He hit me!”

As the uniformed policemen surround him and the siren of an ambulance comes closer and closer, Max’s paranoia reaches an all-time high, “Don’t take me!” His heart races.

I must’ve been raised to be the perfect example of what not to be, Max thinks, rather melodramatically. And now I’m being executed for it. Writing that record is what prompted them to make their final decision. I’m a goner.

            In cuffs, Max is lifted into an ambulance, coughing up blood and screaming, “Don’t execute me!”

            An onboard nurse tries to appease him, “You’re not being executed.”

            He ignores her ‘lies’ and repeats, “Don’t execute me!”

            Hospitalized until physically cured, visited in disappointment by his mother and a surprise visit by Coby, whom was astonished by his condition.

 

            Rehabilitated until mentally cured, visited in hope by his mother and frequent expected visits by Coby, with the overwhelming will to help.

            Rehab is the Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas where Shifra and the band unanimously decided would be the best place to cure Max.

            Max sits on a comfy white chair in nothing but a baby blue gown and an identification wristband in his room, a television placed parallel by request where he watches the church channel nightly.

            Coby walks in from behind, patting Max on the shoulder, “The album’s selling well.”

            “I forgot we finished it,” Max looks up at Coby in relief.

            “Yeah, it’s getting good reviews. Be proud,” Coby sits on the bed nearby Max’s chair. “Whatcha watching?”

            “The church channel.”

            “Any good?”

            “No,” Max stares blankly at the television at now, a silent pause.

            “You feeling any better?”

            “Now that you mention it, no,” Max says. Coby gets up, nodding half-offended, yet understanding. “No, stay.” Coby sits back down. “I don’t think I’ll be able to fix this, well not completely anyway. It’s human nature to feel anxious or insecure at times. It would be supernatural to overcome it.”

            “Then be supernatural,” Coby suggests.

            “I’m no superman,” Max pauses, lifting the remote to turn off the television, “but I’ll try to treat myself to the greatest extent.”

            “Good to hear. Just know you’re not on your own,” Coby smiles, nodding.

Max answers with a nod then looks at the pen on his nearby nightstand, “Let’s write a song.”

            “I’m not much of a lyricist. I’m a drummer,” Coby excuses himself.

            “Then watch me write a song then tell me if it’s crap,” Max says.

            After about two and a half hours of writing, spewing out lyrics sporadically line by line, Max has a verse draft. He sings with an unsure tone:

     I wake up in a room and realize I’m insane again.
     This is the fifth time straight in a year I’ve ended up in here.
     Eating p.b.j’s and watching the church channel nightly
     I didn’t mind what I did
     I fell behind on my nightly four-course meal of rainbow pills
     And now I’m wondering what is fake and what is real.

            He stops then looks up from the paper and into Coby’s eyes.

            “It’s a start,” Coby shrugs, smiling. Nodding and rubbing his hands together, he reiterates “It’s a start.”

 

Bibliography

Bemis, Max. ...is a Real Boy. Say Anything. Doghouse America, 2004. MP3.

Bemis, Max. In Defense of the Genre. Say Anything.  J Records. 2007. MP3.

© 2011 ericdeben


Author's Note

ericdeben
Based on a true story. Max Bemis, the lead singer of Say Anything, overwhelmed with the pressure of creating an album that's truly a masterpiece mostly on his own and on a low budget, went into his own 'unreal' world of insanity, conspiracy philosophies, and anxiety.
This is the first draft. I'd like to add more 'excitement' to the overall story.

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Featured Review

Hi there!!

A few things that I noticed:

-The second sentence about the half-assed hair and whatnot.. It sounds incomplete. I would change it to "his half-assed hat hair was laying confidently..." and do the same for the second half of the sentence.

-When Max starts recording the spoken word piece, grabbing the microphone, you wrote that be grabbed it 'axiomatically.' Did you mean automatically? I looked up the word and it doesn't seem to be the right fit but it could be wrong. I am fairly well read and have a decent vocabulary, so if that was the word you intended to use, it wouldn't hurt to change it to a word that more readers would know without having to look it up.

-When describing how he sings, emphasizing certain alphabetical sounds.. Maybe change "Bostonians and the Irish" to "Bostonians and Irishmen." Side note: I didn't know that citizens of Boston call themselves Bostonians! The more you know! :)

-The sentence starting with "the duo play..." is a rather convoluted sentence. It may come off more naturally if you split it into two. A writer friend once gave me a great tip! She said that if you ran out of breath trying to read the sentence out loud, it's probably too long. I struggle with this at times too!

-I like how you start to get into some of the reasons why Max is so tormented, what with the line about the false powers that made his life difficult. An overall suggestion for the story would be to channel more of the inner turmoil.. Maybe more internal dialogue and a little bit of backstory as to why this record has to be larger than life, universe altering, world shattering quality material. What hangs in the balance? I'm doing this review as I go.. So I have not finished the story yet, but at this point in the story, without knowing why the album is so important, why he is so tormented, and as a reader not knowing or caring about Say Anything, Max seems like the stereotypical self indulgent, self-destructive-because-it''s-cool aspiring rock star.

-About the bipolar disorder.. When you flash forward to the institution he is at, he is looking around at the "unfamiliar" atmosphere, implying he has just gotten there. It takes about 30 seconds of conversation with the doctor before he is diagnosed with bipolar, which is entirely unrealistic in terms of how these diagnoses are made. Doctors are increasingly more hesitant about misdiagnosing bipolar because of the strength and side effects of the medications used to treat is. They run blood tests, have multiple conversations, sometimes even have you take a brief written test... I would research and beef up the process leading to the diagnosis.

I think that overall, I would proofread it heavily and consider some of your word choices and maybe even your choice to present the story in present tense. That is a stylistic decision so it's totally your call! :) I just saw some misuses of words (calling the paramedic 'promiscous,' which usually is synonymous with s****y) and a need to add some body to the story that could really bring out the depth of the torment that Max was going through. There is a great book called "Manic" if you ever want to read a heart wrenching, informative memoir about bipolar disorder.

I will definitely check this band out. I hope this feedback was helpful! If you have time, feel free to dissect my writing! I'm working on a novel, the first chapter of which I have posted on my profile and I know that I have a lot if improvements to make!

Take care and Happy New Year!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Hi there!!

A few things that I noticed:

-The second sentence about the half-assed hair and whatnot.. It sounds incomplete. I would change it to "his half-assed hat hair was laying confidently..." and do the same for the second half of the sentence.

-When Max starts recording the spoken word piece, grabbing the microphone, you wrote that be grabbed it 'axiomatically.' Did you mean automatically? I looked up the word and it doesn't seem to be the right fit but it could be wrong. I am fairly well read and have a decent vocabulary, so if that was the word you intended to use, it wouldn't hurt to change it to a word that more readers would know without having to look it up.

-When describing how he sings, emphasizing certain alphabetical sounds.. Maybe change "Bostonians and the Irish" to "Bostonians and Irishmen." Side note: I didn't know that citizens of Boston call themselves Bostonians! The more you know! :)

-The sentence starting with "the duo play..." is a rather convoluted sentence. It may come off more naturally if you split it into two. A writer friend once gave me a great tip! She said that if you ran out of breath trying to read the sentence out loud, it's probably too long. I struggle with this at times too!

-I like how you start to get into some of the reasons why Max is so tormented, what with the line about the false powers that made his life difficult. An overall suggestion for the story would be to channel more of the inner turmoil.. Maybe more internal dialogue and a little bit of backstory as to why this record has to be larger than life, universe altering, world shattering quality material. What hangs in the balance? I'm doing this review as I go.. So I have not finished the story yet, but at this point in the story, without knowing why the album is so important, why he is so tormented, and as a reader not knowing or caring about Say Anything, Max seems like the stereotypical self indulgent, self-destructive-because-it''s-cool aspiring rock star.

-About the bipolar disorder.. When you flash forward to the institution he is at, he is looking around at the "unfamiliar" atmosphere, implying he has just gotten there. It takes about 30 seconds of conversation with the doctor before he is diagnosed with bipolar, which is entirely unrealistic in terms of how these diagnoses are made. Doctors are increasingly more hesitant about misdiagnosing bipolar because of the strength and side effects of the medications used to treat is. They run blood tests, have multiple conversations, sometimes even have you take a brief written test... I would research and beef up the process leading to the diagnosis.

I think that overall, I would proofread it heavily and consider some of your word choices and maybe even your choice to present the story in present tense. That is a stylistic decision so it's totally your call! :) I just saw some misuses of words (calling the paramedic 'promiscous,' which usually is synonymous with s****y) and a need to add some body to the story that could really bring out the depth of the torment that Max was going through. There is a great book called "Manic" if you ever want to read a heart wrenching, informative memoir about bipolar disorder.

I will definitely check this band out. I hope this feedback was helpful! If you have time, feel free to dissect my writing! I'm working on a novel, the first chapter of which I have posted on my profile and I know that I have a lot if improvements to make!

Take care and Happy New Year!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I adore this.
I'm a huge Say Anything/Max Bemis fan, too.
:3

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on December 12, 2011
Last Updated on December 16, 2011
Tags: say anything, music, pop punk, alternative, rock, genre, Pinocchio, guitar, drums

Author

ericdeben
ericdeben

Some town, MA



About
I'm 15 years old and I'm an aspiring filmmaker. When you review my writing, don't just shower me with praise; I can use all the constructive criticism I can get. I'll be taking creative writing class.. more..

Writing
Changes Changes

A Poem by ericdeben