Max Friedman and his father, Andy Friedmanby Elisa Hawkes
Coastal Journal staff
BRUNSWICK — According to Max Friedman’s mom, Pat, Max has been writing for most of his life. Max’s kindergarten teacher described the 12-year-old as the most prolific little writer she had ever seen. All of that writing paid off. An essay written by Max when he was 11, titled “The Slowest Second,” was published in a nationally marketed book a year later.
Max did not submit his essay to the publisher or author of the book, “Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know,” by Ralph Fletcher. “The Slowest Second” was a routine essay submission in a Gifted/Talented class he attended at the Albert S. Hall School in Waterville. The Friedman family recently moved to Brunswick from Waterville, where Max was raised.
When Max’s teacher, Tina Serdjenian, read the essay, she gave it to a literary expert, who in turn referred the piece to Fletcher, author of 44 books. Fletcher was writing a hands-on guide to writing for “guys,” and decided Friedman’s essay was a good fit.
The book has already received critical acclaim, having been released on July 3, with one review stating, “This hands-on book will make a writer out of any guy.” Fletcher wrote the book as a vehicle for teaching and inspiring boys to become empowered through writing expressively and powerfully. He uses it as an essential resource in his lectures.
“The Slowest Second” is a richly descriptive work, depicting a trip to a New England Patriot’s game. Max said he was inspired to write about the Patriot’s game because, “The game had a good flow to it, just like the story, and was kind of a life lesson to never give up.”
In the essay, Max uses the imagery of a ticking clock to build suspense. He writes, “The rules say that after 15 minutes of overtime, if no one scored, it would be a tie. Trust me, no one likes a tie. Music blared. All of a sudden every second seemed like an hour.
“Tick, tick. The ball landed in the runner’s hands and he started running straight. The other Patriots did the best they could to block. Tick, tick. The Ravens’ defense broke through and charged at the runner. Tick, tick.”
Max wants to pursue a career in environmental law. He said he will still pursue writing, but as a hobby, rather than a profession.
Pat said, “Max writes by inspiration. Sometimes he just stops what he’s doing and starts writing until he gets it all out. It is not a case of writing to get published, or writing to a specific theme or subject: It is inspiration.”
Pat says Max will write about almost any subject. Some of his favorites are mysteries, humorous stories, and sports, but he will write all sorts of fiction and nonfiction. She said his teachers would often give him extra time away from other subjects to write.
Max says of his passion for writing, “I feel that I can express my emotions easy when I write and I can think very clearly through my pen. I am not exactly sure how my writing will translate as an attorney, but I know they write a lot about cases, step-by-step, just like the football game went play-by-play.”
Pat said she thinks part of why Max developed the talent for writing is due to his exposure to it. She has been a writer for approximately 20 years, published primarily in magazines and newspapers. This has influenced Max, and it has become part of him.
When Max was informed his story was going to be published, he was surprised. He said, “When I first found out, I was shocked. But when I found I was capable of that kind of writing, I pushed harder and dug deeper to become an even better writer.”
According to Pat, the past year was challenging for Max due to being in a new school and town. However, he appeared on the Honor Roll for the entire year, was involved in art, music, and the student council, and made good friends. Pat said she is very proud of her son’s accomplishments, but she is most proud of the type of person he is, kind and caring.
Pat said she doesn’t want people to think she is saying her child is better than others. She said, “Every child is a miracle. Anything like this that happens in their lives is a special bonus.”
“Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know,” by Ralph Fletcher, can be found in bookstores throughout the midcoast.