A Copywriter’s Blog

She staggered down the street, purse over one shoulder, clutching the strap like a lifeline. The weight on the strap pulled shoulder down, making her stumble awkwardly, as if drunk. She wasn’t, of course. It would take far more than a glass of red wine for that.

It was a painfully bright day. She squinted against the glare coming off the skyscrapers and sidewalk. It took her a moment to realize why her vision was blurry. She wiped away the tears with the back of her hand.

She wanted an alley. How hard was it to find a damn alley in New York? Every time she left the subway after midnight, there was an alley every five feet. But now that she actually wanted one, it eluded her.

She didn’t know how many blocks passed before she saw one through a veil of tears. In the shadows behind a dumpster she sank to the ground and sobbed hysterically, clutching herself as if she were coming apart at the seams.

She lost all track of time. But when she realized the shadows were getting longer, she picked herself up and peered around to see where she was. Across the street was a church. She hadn’t noticed it earlier. It must be a sign.

She crossed the street and entered, twisting and turning down hallways. At the end of a hall she found what she was looking for, and opened the door without knocking. A dozen pairs of eyes turned toward her. It occurred to her suddenly that her clothes were probably filthy. She hoped they couldn’t smell her from the doorway. She took a deep, wavering breath.

“I’m Miriam Henley…” she shut her eyes as the tears began again, and struggled to speak around the lump in her throat, “and…”

The sob threatened to choke her. Her pulse roared in her ears.

“-and until this afternoon…I…I hadn’t had a drink for three years. I’m-”

The room was totally silent. Waiting. She heard a chair squeak, and a comforting arm moved around her shoulders.

“…an alcoholic.”

“Hi Miriam.” came the chorus of replies.

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She sat on the train, head bowed, willing herself not to cry. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

Besides, she’d already spent the morning depressed. Alternately sobbing into her pillow and holding a tear-choked and one sided debate with her cell phone. “I am NOT boring” she had gasped at it. The text on the backlit screen, barely discernible through her tears, offered no consolation.

Then, once she’d run out of tears, she got angry. Who was he to call her boring? She could go out. She could go out anytime she chose. Why, she’d go out right now. “Besides,” she thought as she went into the bedroom to dry her eyes and get dressed, “the best revenge would be a life lived richly.”

What time was it? 2? Hah! She’d go out and- and- and start drinking right now! She put on the sexiest clothes she owned: A pair of pants that didn’t so much hug her curves as hide them, and a very sensible blouse. She almost left an extra button undone, but didn’t want to look like a whore.

Then she grabbed her purse, hailed a cab, and rattled off the first intersection that came to mind. She would get a drink at the first bar she found. Which had turned out to be the questionably named “Hairy Monk”. She paid the driver and, with a burst of willpower, stepped inside.

She blinked a moment, allowing her eyes to adjust to the sudden gloom. She would have taken a table, but the only other people there were sitting at the bar, and she didn’t want to do anything that made it look as though this was the first time she’d been in a place like this alone. She chose the stool at the end of the bar, next to the wall.

She ordered a drink in a voice barely above a whisper. Red wine- chosen because it was a safe bet between the white wine she only sipped on special occasions, and ordering something like whiskey.

She sat stiffly, her head bowed so low her chin almost touched her chest. This was all wrong. The TV’s were too loud. The air was too thick. And everything seemed just a little too sticky. This was a terrible place. She wanted to be gone.

What sort of revenge was this, where her hands shook and her throat closed and the tears gathered just behind her eyelids? The wine appeared, and she grasped it, grateful for something to do with her hands. She took a drink, tilting the glass higher and higher. The liquid burned her throat, but she no longer cared. She put it down empty, telling herself the rising lump in her throat was from the wine. She placed a dollar on the counter and slid off her stool in a single motion, halfway to the door before she had even pulled the purse back over her shoulder.

Hailing a taxi would have meant speaking to someone, so she had taken the subway instead. And now here she was, fighting back tears in a train car at 2:35 in the afternoon. The most pathetic- and boring- person alive.

When she got home she stripped off the clothes she had been wearing, putting on a familiar pair of sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt. Then she sat in the window seat of her apartment and picked up the book she had been reading. She did not cry. The lump in her throat was gone. The last thought she spared before losing herself completely in the pages was that it was true. The best revenge was a life lived richly.

*If you’re interested, my own comments on this story are below in the- um, comments. For an understanding of where this story came from, read this post.

I wrote a book. Yes, really. Ben Levy 31, March

It’s been five months in the making. Five months of me trying to keep my mouth shut (I failed pretty spectacularly) or at least not mentioning it on the blog until it was a reality (I barely- BARELY- managed that).

But now it’s done. So I can post this:

Picture 7

What? You have read this blog before, right? I mean, I hope you weren’t expecting something more appropriate. Something deep and meaningful and Shakespearean? That’s not really how I roll.

I Have A Dick. Now What? is about all those things that guys should know, but often don’t. The best way to stare at a woman without getting caught. The best methods for hiding porn. And several plans of attack for removing a bra. This book- while addressed to males- has proven to be entertaining to the womenfolk as well, as it peels back the (admittedly shallow) mystery of common male behaviors. To the rest of you- who have ever been caught ogling the fairer sex, have protested to your mother that you don’t know how the Playboys got under your bed, or desperately swore that you’d have that bra unhooked in no time no really you mean it just one second oh thank heaven there it goes- you may want to read this.

Like this blog, it is written by me. Unlike this blog, it’s nearly 50% pictures. A typical page looks like this:

IHADNW_Sample 7

Although it could just as easily look like this:

IHADNW_Sample 9

Like this blog, it is available electronically. Unlike this blog, you can also have it delivered in print form.

If you want more info, you can check out the site here. There’s more sample pages, an “about” section explaining where the idea came from, and even some shirts (there will be more later). There’s also a facebook page here, since I’m told the kids love that. Become a fan, won’t you?

Please help me out by re-tweeting, re-posting, and generally spreading the word to anyone who you think might find this book amusing. And do keep in mind the vast, untapped possibilities represented by offering it as a gag-gift. I mean, that’s the whole idea behind the dedication page:


Next post: My thoughts on just how awesome it is that a no-talent hack like me can publish their own book in the year 2010.

This was originally intended for a micro-story contest, under 250 words. The theme was “troubled superheroes”. Then I read further and discovered they didn’t want “caped crusader” style heroics. So instead, I’ll post it here.

When Adam (aka ATOM ADAM) woke up that morning, the first thing he did was reach for the glass of water on the bedside table, and take his pills.

Setting the glass back on the nightstand, it shattered into a million splinters. It took him three tries to put on a pair of pants without tearing them in half.

Once outside, he caught a glimpse of Kevin (aka KING KEVIN). “Hey!” he called out “Hey KING KEVIN! Over here!”

KING KEVIN turned, and charged across the street at a dead run.

ATOM ADAM went straight at him.

The two closed the gap in nanoseconds. As they ran, their feet cracked the pavement. The pressure burst fire hydrants and flipped manhole covers for blocks. The speed of their passing created shockwaves that hurled squirrels from trees and trees from the ground. KING KEVIN raised a mighty hand, and ATOM ADAM met it with his own. The resulting thunderclap collapsed an entire block of sky scrapers.

“You know” said ATOM ADAM (aka Adam) as he lowered his hand from the high-five “the trouble with these superman vitamins everybody has now is that we don’t have a superworld to go along with it.”

KING KEVIN sighed heavily. Which flung a nearby high rise apartment complex 50 feet in the air.

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Bonus Post Ben Levy 27, January

Went to a free creative writing seminar tonight, just to see what it was like. They had us do an exercise where we wrote about some “miracle machine from the future”. This is what I scribbled:

The Carrier Pigeon 2.0 was hailed as a marvel of robotics and artificial intelligence. Merely tell it what you need, and it would fetch it for you. Certainly the masses praised it for it’s usefulness around the home- finding keys or TV remotes. But what really set it apart was it’s ability to interpret the requests it was given. This capability was famously displayed on the day when Jonathan Pembleton, a struggling writer, crumpled up his latest screenplay and screamed “I need an idea!” within range of his Carrier Pigeon 2.0. Whereupon the device flew out the window and returned three hours later with a full manuscript. Sadly for Jonathan, it was the property of one George Lucas, and detailed the soon to be released prequel to Indiana Jones.

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My Short Story Ben Levy 29, November

This is my first short story. I have so very many things to tell you about it. I’ll do that later.

For now, I’ll just post it here. Warning: I have a criminal disregard for formatting. I’ve done my best, but honestly a line of dialogue once killed my parents and I’ve never been able to bring myself to properly punctuate them since.

Here’s a download. I’d recommend that.

The Case of the Dead Detective

And just to show you I’ve lost all sense of propriety, I’ve put the full text in it’s own post here I’ll probably put it up in it’s own post tomorrow.

Please, PLEASE, leave me comments guys. Especially if you don’t like it, or it confused you, or you think I’ve committed an unforgivable crime against the craft of writing and should have all my keyboards taken away.

Even if you’ve never commented before, please do it now. This is a learning experience for me and I’m almost entirely self-taught where fiction is concerned.

Which means most of the time, my teacher was an idiot.