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A Copywriter’s Blog
Oof. Ben Levy 23, May

I was gonna wait to write a post until I could write something that wasn’t about fatherhood. But everything’s about fatherhood these days, so that’s retarded. I think instead I’ll just run down some highlights from the last month.

-People won’t tell you if your breath stinks, if your fly is down, or if your boss is standing behind you while you rant about what an asshole they are. But they’ll tell you in a second how to raise your child.

-Before I had a kid, I would listen to people who had kids. They would say things like “I wish I could find the time to work out.” And I would secretly think to myself “You have the time, you’re just prioritizing sleep. Cut out an hour of sleep from your schedule, you have the time. It’s what I do. If you wanted it badly enough, you could make it a priority, and you could work out.” Dear people who had kids I secretly thought that about- I am so, so sorry. Please forgive me. Love, Ben.

-The Spawn rolled over at the age of 7 days. No, she hasn’t repeated it since. But we put her on her stomach and she flipped the hell out and did a push-up at the same time her legs spasmed and over she went. It counts. My child is a genius. Alert Yale.

-In the last week she’s discovered how to scream in her sleep. She’s not unhappy. If you go over to the crib, she’s got both eye closed and isn’t moving at all. But she’ll scream. In her sleep. She gets this shit from The Wife.

-A lot of parents write some sort of letter to their child every month. I guess I could do that, but even if I did, it seems weird to post it in public. Also, I managed to work as hard as I think I ever have in advertising, while still having to get up every 3 hours to feed The Spawn. My feelings on this are mixed. On the one hand, now I know I can do it. On the other hand, ouch. So, I put this post up instead, and that’ll do for now.

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Good lord, was that a chore. Someone once said “When you’re 95% done, you’re halfway there.” Dude knew what he was talking about. But it’s done. Finally up and available. Click, buy, etc. If you don’t want a silly overpriced physical copy, or if you have embraced the digital apocalypse, imma have a super cheap ibook version up in a few days weeks whenever I get around to it. Gotta go feed The Spawn.

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Friday Features: Diapers Ben Levy 4, May

This is exactly what it feels like to change a diaper.

Only if you screw it up, instead of getting crushed by a boulder, you’re peed on.

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Molly Jean Levy Ben Levy 27, April

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Born at 1:12pm on April 26, 2012. It’s been a little over 15 hours since she came.

I’m fairly certain I’ll never sleep again.

Seems like a fair trade.

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End Chapter 2 Ben Levy 25, April

My wife is resting in a hospital bed across the room, and I should probably be doing the same. Then again, this is the last day of my life as a not-parent. I feel like I should say something about it.

I won’t ever be the person I am tonight again. My priorities, my focus, my entire approach to life will change once my daughter is born.

What’ I’m saying is, this is sort of a Big Deal.

If she’s born tomorrow, that actual date won’t hold much importance to her. Beyond using it as proof of identity, I don’t attach any real emotional significance to what happened on June 20, 1983. June 20, 1996 was pretty great. And 2004 was epic. But it never occurred to me until tonight what that birth date must mean to my parents. To me, it’s cake and presents. To them, it’s the day their son was born.

That’s really pretty awesome, in the original sense of the word.

If the first chapter of my life was growing up, and the second was independence and marriage, tomorrow or the day after will clearly begin the third chapter. So, here we go. I expect the next post will be the one introducing my daughter.

End Chapter 2.

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Pre-press Ben Levy 24, April

If you’re wondering why I haven’t pushed the “Owl Book” more, it’s because I’ve discovered it is fucking expensive to print color. It’s looking like this 24-page book is going to cost something like $15. That’s ridiculous, but it’s a whole other order of magnitude on the ridiculous scale when you realize my last book was 100 pages and sold for $10. What the hell do they make color ink out of anyway? Baby harp seals?

With shipping, it cost me an absurd amount to get my proof copy from Blurb. Something like $22, after coupons. The printing is gorgeous, and the quality is amazing, but I can’t even sell that to people “at cost” with a straight face. I found a way to shave at least $3 off the base price with Lulu, but for some reason their book upload process shits the bed when faced with CMYK files, and all my colors turned neon.

As interesting as my new book about a radioactive owl was, it’s not quite what I had in mind. As was evidenced by my stream of consciousness tweets.

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Don’t worry, the neighbors don’t even have a cat. (any more)

So I converted everything, and now I’m going to sit here wondering what the hell the colors in this book will actually be when it shows up on my doorstep in a week. And then, if it looks as good as it should, I’ll put up a site and pimp this owl properly*.

If you people didn’t keep liking this stupid shit I do, I wouldn’t have to go to all this trouble.

Thanks for that.

*I am totally going to start a gameshow called Pimp this Owl Properly. Who’s with me?
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Signs of the times Ben Levy 11, April

It’s interesting that the busier I am, the less time I waste spend talking about what I’m doing. I mean, I finished my second book over a week ago, and I’m just posting about it now. (I just dropped that shit like it was nothing, didn’t I? That’s how we experienced authors roll, bitches.)

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The proof copy did just come in this evening, so that’s part of my excuse. I had it as an iBook on The Wife’s iPad as soon as the pages were done, but there’s something special about holding a physical copy. I don’t even know if I’m going to make the physical one available for purchase (all the color options I’m finding are laughably expensive) but I’m glad I have one for myself. Maybe I’ll do a limited run or something.

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Why’d I do this, you ask? Because the only thing I could think of that would screw with people’s heads more than being “the guy who wrote the dick book” was to be “the guy who wrote the dick book and a children’s book.” Also, it was because I felt the need to do something really special for my unborn daughter, something that we could share even before I knew what she was like. But don’t tell people that. It’ll totally ruin my street cred.

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So, maybe I’m a slightly more legitimate not-at-all-legitimate author now. That’s two books. Neither of which have what you’d call plot, exactly. And they’re surprisingly heavy on illustration for a guy who dropped out of graphic design in college, and claims to be a professional writer. But still, they’re books. I’m pretty proud of them.

Like I said, I’m not sure what the sales options will be like for this one. I see a few very minor tweaks I’d like to make to the physical version, and there’s been a surprising amount of talk regarding board-books and plush Little Owls. There’ll definitely be an iBook version out, but I need to make those tweaks first.

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I’m not dead Ben Levy 11, March

Really, I’m not. I am, however, working on 4 side projects (one of which is nearing completion, which is super exciting), doing a significant amount of overtime at work (some of which is also nearing completion, which is also super exciting), and frantically attempting to make life ready for my offspring (which is also nearing completion, and OH MY GD I WILL NEVER BE READY FOR THIS.)

Also in that time, I think I’m supposed to do my taxes. This is gonna hurt.

Baby Talk Ben Levy 15, January

I have a wealth of concerns about my impending parenthood. One of them is the way current parents use the word “fountain” to describe their offspring’s eliminatory actions. Another is the fear I’ll lose all my friends as I slowly lose the ability to talk about anything other than my daughter.

I don’t really think this will happen. Partly because I have more in common with my friends than our mutual not having of babies, and partly because even now i’m able to carry on a conversation without mentioning babies every other sentence.

But it seems to be happening less and less. Because all my friends want to do is talk about babies. “What’s new?” “Whatever man, tell me about your baby!”

Yeah? You wanna hear me break down just how stupid non-intuitive stroller construction can be? Or how the entire world seems to think anything intended for a baby girl has to look like it’s been puked on by a rainbow? You think that’s scintillating? Then brace yourself, friend, and make sure your seat back and tray table are locked in the upright position.

Cause we can talk about the baby. I’ve got plenty to say on the subject. But there will come a day, perhaps years from now, when I’ll hang up the phone or walk away from the table after the bill’s been paid, and you’ll turn to the person next to you and mutter “all he ever talks about is his kid.”

And when that day comes, remember- I tried. I gave you the option. You brought this on yourself.

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Dear 2010 Ben Ben Levy 30, December

An open letter to my past. From my present. Which is his future.

What’s up 2010 me? Life’s pretty good, yeah? Working at a Madison Avenue agency, got a pretty sweet apartment, published a freaking book. You did well, man.

I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but the future’s not going to be what you think it is. In about 3 months, you’re going to be laid off. It’s ok though, I’m fairly certain it goes down in history as The Best Layoff Ever. Plus the new job is equally awesome. They have a ping pong table in the office, and free beer on Thursdays. And you get to do some really awesome work. No, it’s not a shop you’ve heard of before, but go to the interview anyway, alright? Otherwise we’ll run into some weird time-continuum thing.

Around the same time as The World’s Best Layoff, you’ll find out they’re jacking up the rent 25%. Fuck that place. Save yourself a few days of shopping around and just move three blocks down, to a one-bedroom with an amazing view, right on the water. Floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river. It’s a good move.

This is supposed to be a letter, so I guess you can’t see me. But if you could, you’d immediately know things changed a lot in 2011. I know you’re in great shape, 2010 Ben. It’s a side effect of working on the New Balance campaign. But man, you know nothing. You’re going to tear through P90X, and it’s going to be life-altering. You’re going to be in the best shape ever. Not just up until this point. For all time. Because if we ever see a workout regiment more intense than 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 3+ straight months, I don’t want us to do it.

Incidentally, if you can maybe focus on your middle back while you’re doing those exercises, that would be awesome. I didn’t, and it sort of caused a muscular imbalance that resulted in our back muscles literally trying to tear themselves off the spine. Don’t worry though, after 3 months of PT you’ll be pain-free. Anyway, I know I said not to alter the time-stream, but it may be worth trying it in this case.

Speaking of physical changes, I guess that birthmark thing we’ve always had was/is/was pre-cancerous? So you can go ahead and get that removed. Just a heads-up, 2010 me: that barbecue smell during surgery isn’t someone’s lunch being reheated. It’s going to be your face. But you’ll get a badass scar. I have so much more street cred than you do. Seriously, the ladies love it.

You’ll try to start a bunch of side projects, fresh off your book success. Aside from releasing your book in digital format, they, uh, they won’t be finished. I’m sorry about that. Hopefully I’ll be able to recapture some of your dedication in 2012. I don’t think it’s entirely my fault though. As you can see, 2011 was a crazy year.

Oh, yeah. You’re gonna get The Wife pregnant. Good job.

-2011 Ben

PS- Shit, I forgot to make this shirt, too.

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