Fast Copy


There are times when a reader’s mind wants to nibble on a few choice words — just a snack, a morsel that goes down easy with a sip of coffee or tea. Or something stronger. A few words that delight, amuse or trigger an easy thought or memory. Or something deeper. Maybe.

If that’s the mood you’re in, pick up Bryce Main’s Ad Lib. Or any of his other books, for that matter, but this review is about his latest offering, Ad Lib. As you might gather from the title, the author used to be in the advertising game. A copy writer. A Mad Man, but he’s Scottish and plied his trade in various British locales.

Reading Main is like listening to a glib, witty and worldly chum while tipping back a few adult beverages in a dark and comfortable bar where the regulars know your name and the man behind the stick frowns on noisy tourists ordering up fruit-laden cocktails.

Your chum might start talking about anything. The writing game. His contradictory love of digitial devices and their analog antecedents — the pen, the typewriter. His love of ideas and the hunt for the right words that set them free. Make them fly. How the creative mind craves both the hum of a noisy place with lots of people and the dark, quiet nook where the hum turns into magic.

You listen. You might add a few thoughts of your own. Or not. Doesn’t matter because your chum has the gift of gab and he’s convivial and entertaining as hell. His written words are conversational and don’t require a heavy lift from you. They flow and pack a punch — or a tickle. It’s fast copy, to use a phrase from the old journalism game.

And it’s damn good. Next time you get ready to dash out for a quick cup of coffee or a pint, invite Bryce Main. You’ll be glad you did.

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