The American Dissident in White Male Middle Aged Clothes

Christopher J Galvin

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA EROTICA MEMOIR FUNNY EPIC

    Core Theme

    SEARCHING FOR MEANING

    TIME PERIOD

    1960s & '70s, 1980s & '90s, 20th Century (multiple decades), 2000s, Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, LOST IN TRANSLATION

    CHARACTER LIST

    DAVID: 58. LEAD. MISOGYNISTIC. TRAUMATIZED. CONFUSED. LOST. SENSITIVE. INTELLIGENT.

    Logline

    It is the story of one man's journey as a survivor of early childhood sexual abuse, to present day husband and father in conventional suburbia. It begins in large part with his families "white flight" from Cambria Heights to Melville. It encompasses all the pressing issues of our time.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54

    Target Gender: Female Leaning

    Setting

    Cambria Heights, Queens, Melville, NY, Albany, NY, Levittown, St. Croix, USVI

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: No

    Starting Description

    Two brothers from a large family vacation together in St. Croix, where the previous year the younger brother David's wife, purchased a sea side condominium with her mother, both Chilean immigrants. Brendan the older brother, is a father of two, and brings his 13 year old daughter along.

    Ending Description

    May 16, 2021 a day in the life of the main character David Cavanaugh, 34 years to the day of his failed suicide attempt, reflects upon the loss of his adopted daughter Crystal and her mother Nancy to the AIDS epidemic in the early 90's.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Sexual Abuse,Incest,Nudity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions,Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: David Cavanaugh

    Age: 58

    Gender: Male

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Gracious,Heroic,Heartthrob,Educated,Honorable,Insecure,Masculine,Narcisstic,Selfless,Romantic,Secretive,Seductive,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Irmania

    Age: 58

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Decisive,Faithful,Heartthrob,Leader,Blunt,Outspoken,Unapologetic,Clumsy

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Brendan

    Age: 62

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Criminal,Empathetic,Engaging,Underdog,Masculine,Skillful,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: AmberEvans1

    Age: 22

    Gender: Female

    Role: tempter

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Aggressive,Charming,Confident,Engaging,Heartthrob,Greedy,Underdog,Narcisstic,Sexy,Blunt,Funny,Skillful,Seductive,Sophisticated,Unapologetic

    Development Pitch

    The American Dissident... wraps Dostyevsky's Idiot in the broken vessel of the idealized man. Muscular, intelligent, well read, noble at times, he has greater intimacy three young British Only Fans girls, than he does with his Chilean born wife of 18 years Irmania. David and Irmania live on the border of Levittown, Long Island, where the children are schooled, and notorious in its inception for its Exclusion Clause which banned post war homeowners and real estate agents from selling their homes to Black Americans. David is the eigth of nine children. His father Mike a retired NYPD sergeant, his recently deceased mother a sales clerk and regenerated artist in retirement, until Alzheimer's took her from the canvas. Brendan one of 4 older brothers, the black sheep to David's altar boy image, is on vacation with David and Irmania and their two children Amelia 17 and Benny 15. Brendan brings his 13 year old daughter along as well. The story though is largely David's story. All of it based in part on the Author's life. For example the poem cited as published in The Long Islander, founded by Walt Whitman, was published under my name on the same date. David's story is the quintessential American story, beginning with the actual life altering abuse at the hands of a much older relative in contrast to the abandonement of his beloved Cambria Heights neighborhood, on the trumped up charges that a greater influx of working class blacks will cause a rise in crime etc...

    Genre

    MATURE AUDIENCE, DRAMA

    Brief

    A 58-year-old white American man, asleep at the wheel of life and in an unhappy marriage, seeks comfort from cam girls while reflecting upon his life and the childhood sexual abuse that derailed it.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The profile claims this is "the story of one man's journey" but there is no journey portrayed here, really no story at all, just a series of vaguely poetic vignettes about seemingly random information and no real characters.

    Draw of Story

    The protagonist David is an enigma waiting to be solved. Although not remotely likable or even empathetic, there is something fascinating about him and his image of himself in the world versus his possible lack of self-awareness. He could perhaps be an interesting protagonist in an arthouse or surrealist film in which he is not supposed to be likable and reality is difficult to decipher.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Pretty much everything about this made me want to put it down, but the most repulsive aspect was the ceaseless sexually graphic descriptions of 58-year-old David's communications with young female sex workers on OnlyFans. Any point to have such messages included in this abstract piece was eroded long after the final inclusion. David himself is unlikable, treating the people in his life horribly while feeling sorry for himself endlessly.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    If done as some kind of dark surrealist film with a creepy confused protagonist, it might have a hook.

    Fanbase Potential

    No, much too arthouse for that.

    Awards Potential

    Perhaps if someone like David Lynch directed it.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, LOST IN TRANSLATION

    What’s New About the Story

    The format and style are certainly unique but neither are of any use for a potential film adaptation.

    Lead Characters

    David is the only real character here. He's grotesque in how he views and treats women, either as sexual objects to be lusted over and discarded, or as a nagging sexually useless wife to resent and ignore. He seems quite narcissistic and relentlessly self-pitying to a degree that makes it difficult to empathize with him about the sexual abuse that happened to him in his youth. He is confused by the world and lost in it, seeking something to take his mind off his pain and allow him peace.

    Uniqueness of Story

    No, not a rare gem as it is.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Indie

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    There is no story. It's unfilmable as it stands right now. It needs more structure.

    Tips for Improvement

    The work overall is not a story in that there is no beginning, middle or end, and no characters to speak of. It's an odd choice on the part of the author as, considering the events that shaped David's life, this could perhaps make a somewhat interesting memoir if told in the chronologically linear classic manner rather than the random and baffling series of vague vignettes offered here which make David's story almost impossible to figure out. In essence this work is unfilmable in its current form.

    Brief

    A 58-year-old white American man, asleep at the wheel of life and in an unhappy marriage, seeks comfort from cam girls while reflecting upon his life and the childhood sexual abuse that derailed it.

    What We Liked

    The protagonist David is an enigma waiting to be solved. Although not particularly likable, there is something fascinating about him and his image of himself in the world versus his possible lack of self-awareness. He would be a perfectly darkly mysterious protagonist in an arthouse or surrealist film in which reality is difficult to decipher; the audience splintered between true reality and David's perception of it. He's grotesque in how he views and treats women, either as sexual objects to be lusted over and discarded, or as a nagging sexually useless wife to resent and ignore. He seems quite narcissistic and self-pitying, but he experienced sexual abuse as a child and this knowledge, if given to the audience at the right time, would color their feelings about David to great effect. Ultimately, David is a man confused by the world and lost in it, seeking something to take his mind off his pain and allow him some peace.

    Similar to the protagonists of many David Lynch films, David Cavanaugh is dark and mysterious and not particularly likable. A film in the surrealist style which obscures reality behind David's perception of it--and his perception of himself--could become a fascinating character study sure to draw many arthouse lovers to their favorite indie theater. Alternatively, a more straightforward biopic piece could be told chronicling David's life from the sexual abuse he experienced as a child up to his unhappy marriage at 58, which finds David relentlessly pursuing online sexual relationships with young female sex workers who David showers with money in return for sexual gratification and attention in an attempt to extract some meaning from his life.

    Key points:
    1) Fascinating protagonist
    2) Compelling backstory
    3) Creative format
    4) Unique voice and style
    5) Unlike anything else out there

    Synopsis

    DAVID CAVANAUGH is fifty-eight years old, married with two kids, asleep at the wheel of life, immature, melancholic, and aloof. He’s a cancer survivor and an alcoholic, sober thirty-four years. David has eight siblings. His father is a vaguely senile, ninety-four-year-old ex-cop. As a child, David’s family moved to Melville from Cambria Heights. He grew to like the place and made friends. When he was a child, David was sexually abused in a basement by a much older relative. He blacked out almost all of the memory but knows it happened. David writes poetry and short stories in his spare time. David was also an advocate for civil rights beginning in third grade; an anti-apartheid, anti-segregation college student; a human service worker with juvenile delinquents, emotionally disturbed children, battered women and their children, and schizophrenic adults.

    “At fifty-eight years old, David had never fully matured. He found the mundane chores of life, paying bills, tidying a room, repairing a car, or listening to any of the numerous chains of language which passed appropriately in the lexicon as ‘small talk’ abysmal. He was an imposter, a married man with two children of his own, who fully understood the Talking Heads lyric, ‘This is not my beautiful wife, this is not my beautiful house…’ He saw his children as friends, erstwhile companions which made fidelity to his wife bearable. He was the exact opposite of the man his mother married seventy-one years ago in Brooklyn.”

    “To David, there is little in life more beautiful than a dandelion, head bent, reverent, sacrificial, and happy in the sun. To a child, like David it is your first flower. The first bit of beauty your chubby hands can pull from the earth. Broken and milky at the stem, regal and ill-reputed at the crown, a clump of soil at the root, where it had been tethered like a kite against a bright blue sky.”

    David’s wife IRMAIN is a medical tech. Their marriage is not going well. “David had never been unfaithful in body, unless you count his arm around the barmaid in the Myrtle Beach strip club...nor her hand on his thigh, nor the foot massage he gave her against protocol in the black vinyl booth. That was twelve years ago.” Irmain later discovered a receipt for flowers David had bought for the barmaid; Irmain feared David had slept with the woman, though he had not. This caused a huge argument. David and Irmain undertook marriage counselling, “Irmaain was eventually persuaded into restoring the marriage by David’s contrition and their marital bed and family unit was restored but dented. In time it would rust around the edges.”

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, David and siblings visit their dying mother in Saratoga. Alone in his hotel room, David chats with OnlyFans username AmberEvans1, a young British camgirl he is obsessed with, though he tells himself he loves his wife. Amber gives him the attention he needs, minus criticism.

    Back at home, David chats secretly with AmberEvans1 while his wife is not looking. He pays for a video of AmberEvans1 stripping and he watches it secretly. David speaks with AmberEvans1 often, sending her large amounts of money per week (“there is nothing Amber sells that David does not buy”). He also messages Tara[heart emoji]22 and sends her lots of money as well.

    Following the murder of George Floyd and ensuing global uproar, David writes a Facebook post in honor of Floyd, then walks alone from his high school in a largely white middle- to upper-class neighborhood to a largely Black impoverished area in the next town.

    When he was a young man—handsome and muscular—David was suicidal and one day attempted to kill himself using his car. He was charged with property damage and sent to a tough prison for a short time.

    In 1990, when David worked as a senior counselor at a homeless shelter for battered women in Huntington Station, he met a woman named NANCY seeking shelter for herself and her six children. Nancy and her three-year-old CRYSTAL are HIV positive, though Nancy’s twenty-two-month-old GIGI was spared the illness by a bloodless C-section. “People who were HIV positive were often isolated and abandoned. This was the year before Magic Johnson’s diagnosis, but having lost his five-year-old niece and God Daughter, to a tragic car accident four years earlier, David befriended the little girl and her family, in the same way she and they adopted him. If David was working, Crystal would knock on the door. Most days, they watched ET in the living room, which David always felt she chose to prepare. Before long David was coming in on his days off to take Crystal and as many of her siblings that wanted to go to the park. On one occasion he carried Crystal all the way to town for the Easter Parade.”

    Six months later, David asks Nancy on a date. Against his parents’ advice, David begins a relationship with Nancy despite her diagnosis. “The unconventional romance flourished for a year or so, until a mandatory blood test for a catastrophic insurance policy, which turned out to be negative, had scared David straight. For a year it was either one of the most courageous things a young man had ever done, or the craziest or both. He buried Chrystal first, their two-year joint adoption, came as he knew it would, to a tragic end. The night before she died he walked the vinyl tiled halls of Stony Brook with Crystal as she had been on their first night, aloft on his shoulder, but this time in anguish from whatever it was that AIDS did to her little body, she could not be consoled, and she hollered into the night, ‘Daddy …’”

    About The Author

    Christopher J Galvin, born in 1960s New York, is a father to two incredible teenagers, a husband to a Chilean émigré, and a survivor of incest/sexual trauma, suicide, cancer, and Parkinson's disease.