Publishers consider senior’s book

For his wish, Max Ritvo ’09 asked the Make a Wish foundation to act as an agent for his book, “Cancer Song,” which is currently under consideration at Harper Collins. All proceeds from the book will go to cancer research.

Ritvo, who was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in 11th grade and is now in recovery and back at school for his senior year, started writing short stories, poems and one act plays after his diagnosis.

He was interviewed by Fox News as they followed him to a reading of his manuscript at the Borders Bookstore at Westfield Century City on Dec. 2.

“It was a little uncomfortable with kids in the audience,” Ritvo said, “but I don’t write to seek a reaction.”

Ritvo, who has been interested in poetry since he was 4 years old, says he received many self-help books from people throughout his treatment in New York, but he found the books unhelpful.

His writing is much more “literal, less comforting and more honest,” he said.

Each poem, play or short story includes the date when the poetry was written, which stage of progression he was in and what drugs he was on at the time.

“When I was on Oxycontin, my writing was more expansive, grander, more broken and fervent,” Ritvo said. “I want the poetry to speak to my psychological state.”

While there is no guarantee that the book will be published, a few of his friends have read it, though Ritvo says it’s harder for people who know him to read it.

For the cover, he said he would prefer to have a picture of a tumor tapdancing, but it isn’t up to him.

Ultimately, he hopes that someone else who hasn’t found solace in self-help books will be able to turn to it for an honest insight.

However, this was not his primary goal, and neither was the comfort of writing.

“You have to create for the sake of art,” he said. “Anything else is secondary.”