A lawyer and a writer. Michael Drezin is a name I’ll not soon forget. Honest, relatable, and intuitive, Michael has given me a sneak peek into the life of a Bronx native with a lot of heart who can tell a story like no one else.
Here’s an inside look into the man behind the 100-word stories on NYCTastemakers: Michael Drezin
Michael spent five years taking the 2 train into Manhattan before settling into the Bronx, opening his own law firm, and practicing for 45 years. On most days in the five years he worked in Manhattan, Michael would wear a three-piece suit – a vested blue suit, white shirt, and red tie, to be exact.
However, after working with a lawyer in the Bronx who wore dungarees to the office and managed to get the job done, “I ditched the suit,” he noted.
He started out as a journalism major at George Washington University and, after graduating, went straight to law school at Pepperdine University in California. Although he went to school in different states from his hometown, Michael always knew he would return to the Bronx.
After opening his law firm and working under big-time lawyers in Manhattan, Michael had to think about how to conduct himself as a lawyer. In his words, “a country doctor comes to mind. Honest. Plain talking. Trusted by the town folk to do his level best.”
That is exactly who Michael is.
However, when Michael got his first job in Manhattan, there were some doubts as to whether a career in law was right for him.
“I should be a journalist. The world doesn’t need another lawyer.” His boss at the time picked up Michael’s troubles and sent him to a press room to pick up some paperwork from two reporters. On the front of the envelope was written Michael Drezin, Esq.
“And I thought, wow! I’m a lawyer.” With a little more pep in his step, he continued his journey.
In a contracts class, Michael read a case about a lawsuit where Americans were selling chicken to Europeans, but the contract didn’t define what a chicken was. What struck Michael was “they’re fighting over millions of dollars over the definition of one word – that one word being chicken.”
“Words are really important in this law thing and words are important to being a writer.”
Although Michael may not explicitly say he’s a writer, he speaks passionately about it. While he really enjoys being a lawyer, his love of writing is plain to see.
“The principal difference between being a lawyer and being a writer… When you’re a lawyer you’ve made an impact on one person’s life, but when you’re a writer it’s possible you can make an impact on any number of people’s lives, and you never know who they are. And you never know if you did. In terms of being a writer, that aspect of it, having a broader impact on people makes it cooler.”
Michael started writing after watching Ruby Sparks (2012), a movie about an author who writes a book, and the main character comes to life as a real flesh-and-blood person. After watching the movie, he “knew something big was missing.” He started writing for a website and then later started writing stories. In 2014, he took his first class at NYU and has been attending workshops here and there since.
He’s also currently working on a novella. Without giving too much away, it’s a story about a guy who sues Santa, is befriended by Santa, and then betrays the world’s most eagerly anticipated gift giver. Michael said it’s a true story. The novella is a stocking stuffer, and I hope it will be published soon.
When asked where he draws inspiration for his writing, he mentioned two books. One was “Behind the Hits”, a book about the inspiration behind the greatest hit songs of all time, and another was a book on idioms.
He would interpret the idioms literally and write a story that was “hopefully entertaining and possibly absurd.” At the end of it all, Michael concluded that you never really know where inspiration comes from.
“From what I read, for a lot of people, inspiration comes from – they don’t know where – and I’m not really sure I know where, but we’re always glad that it does.”
Initially, when asked if he ever thought about compiling his 100-word stories into a book, Michael said it could be difficult to read the stories one after the other. Upon further reflection, he mused that illustrations accompanying the stories would be “something I would like to do.”
“I think what would be great is if the 100-word stories were illustrated. Illustration on the left and story on the right, and then scatter my 2500-word stories throughout.”
The 100-word stories are short and a popular format for online publications. The problem for Michael is that, although he could get his stories published elsewhere, other writers take things too seriously. “There’s no real outlet for writing about being observed, being silly, being ridiculous.”
When Michael writes a story, he writes it, publishes it, and then moves on to the next, forgetting about everything that came before.
For the Bronx native, writing is a personal indulgence, and he hopes people like it. However, writing is subjective.
“You can’t complain about what people feel [about your writing]. No matter what you do, some people are going to like it, and some people aren’t.”
Michael said he’s not sure he’s at the level of expertise to give advice, but from what he has read, “writers should write. Write, write, write.”
“Then when you think you’ve gone as far as you can go on your own, get into a class, get an editor, get a workshop.”
So, who is Michael Drezin, really? A lawyer? A writer? Both? Michael Drezin is the man with a thousand stories. Stories that are summed up in 100 or 2500 words. The Bronx native that left home to come back home and observe the world and its absurdities. Someone like that tells the best stories, and I can say from personal experience, Michael Drezin is one of the most brilliant storytellers I’ve ever met.