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You hear stories of tribes killing some great beast and using every piece of the beast, from the hide to the loin to the organ to the marrow swimming through its bones.

This was my grandmother.

Her name was Mitsuko Ijima. She grew up in Japan in a time when almost everyone was poor, a kind of poor she didn’t just feel in her pockets but in her stomach, a kind of poor she only forgot when she’d hear planes race through the sky and she’d race these planes to shelters, scared of what they might drop.

She told me in the moments when her hunger became unbearable, feeling as though it was devouring itself, she’d climb atop the roof of a church in her neighborhood and she’d steal eggs from sparrows who’d nest there. …


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Last year, I fell in love with a girl in Denver, Colorado. It’s a long story. A good story. Perhaps, a bit tragic.

I’ll keep it short and sweet (for the sake of brevity and because I don’t feel like throwing up this morning’s cup of coffee).

We grew up in the same town in Southern Indiana.

She had always been a serious crush of mine. She eventually moved away. I moved away not too long after her.

A decade later we got reconnected ( on Instagram of all places) and I fell hard, from afar.

One morning, I wrote her and asked if I could fly out and take her to coffee. …


Writers have been trying and failing to write about sex for decades.

This might be from lack of sexual prowess, cultural taboos or simply tremendous difficulty in finding the words to describe the act in such a way that doesn’t read like a raunchy PornHub title.

Regardless, even the world’s greatest writers seem to draw blanks when their characters find themselves stumbling into the bedroom.

Ernest Hemingway would often pass over these acts in his books entirely, leaving the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps.

While this forgoing seems to have worked out quite well for him, I think it was more of a crutch rather than some sort of well thought out literary strategy. …


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Ben Cake asked me what I was working on.

I told him a novella.

Naturally, he asked me what it was about.

I told him: a heartbroken gent suffering from Schizophrenia who finds himself in and out of bed with countless women, many of which who do not exist.

(If this feels a bit out of left field, in addition to writing advertising, I moonlight as a poet and a writer of prose.)

Then, Ben made a recommendation.

Ben is the best writer I know and when he tells me to read something, I read it, immediately.

Upon hearing the idea for my next book, he told me to pick up a copy of James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime. …


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If you’re in the cattle business, you burn cash fast on “feed”.

Those big beautiful beasts have got to eat and unlike us humans, it takes a whole hell of a lot to keep them full.

The average cow eats about 24 lbs of feed a day, which can quickly become tens of thousands depending on just how big of a cattle operation you’re running.

Because of this, cattle farmers are often guilty of feeding their cows super strange shit like… gummy worms, marshmallows, candy corn, hot chocolate mix, Kool-aid mix, chicken shit, ground limestone, sawdust, crabs (not the ones you might find on your balls) and… Skittles. …


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Belarus. Two years ago. No. Three. I’m wandering her streets in a pair of Red Wing boots so new they moo with each step. Their thick, sturdy leather carve canyons in my heels and ankles that bleed and then scab over then bleed and scab over again.

The salesman back in Tennessee who sold them to me warned not to worry. The bleeding and the scabbing and the tenderness is me earning them. I add another pair of socks, the cushion in the canyon offers a reprieve from the pain. I keep walking.

Across from my hotel. A great big place with ceilings so high you could grow mountains inside of them. You can’t toss a baseball high enough to kiss them. All the buildings in Minsk are this way. Enormous lego blocks that eat up entire city blocks like starships on E, grounded. …


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For a lot of my life, happiness has felt like the lure the Greyhounds chase around the racetrack: visible but just out of reach.

While I’m skeptical that humans can ever reach a state of pure unadulterated bliss, I do believe our noses can brush the tail of this elusive white rabbit if we’re intentional.

I’ve been closer, as of late; a closeness I can attribute to three shifts in thinking and behavior:

Kicking Instagram to the curb, sort of.

The first shift has been me working out a healthier relationship with social media (and Instagram in particular). …


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David Abbott bit the dust six years ago. But, I’m not sure his ghost would be overly fond of me writing this piece.

While we didn’t know each other, I’ve read as much of his advertising as I have Charles Bukowski’s poetry and Ernest Hemingway’s prose.

And, during this reading and studying and salivating, I noticed on an occasion or two where he made mention of not being a “theorizer of copywriting”, which is a damn shame considering that save for maybe David Ogilvy, David Abbott is the greatest British advertising man to ever do it.

A bold claim until you consider…

He once put his life in jeopardy, lying under a suspended Volvo to prove the superbness of the vehicle’s spot welds. …


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Everyone has found themselves in a toxic relationship at least once in their life.

These cataclysmic cluster-fucks are invaluable in that they teach us how not to love, that way we don’t shit the bed when we eventually find the person we are meant to live out our days with — if there is such a thing.

(I suppose not all of us get to be Johnny and June.)

Unfortunately, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Joséphine de Beauharnais experienced this “toxicity” for the better part of fifteen years in a terribly tumultuous relationship riddled with infidelity (on both ends), maddening jealousy and enough emotional warfare to kill a shrink. …


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Writers have a complicated relationship with death.

They’re obsessed with it.

For some, this obsession leads to a gruesome manifestation carried out by their own hand…

Virginia Woolf put stones in her pockets and walked into a lake.

Ernest Hemingway kissed a sawed-off shotgun.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote a note ending in the words “ Relax — this won’t hurt a bit “ before shooting himself in the skull.

While John Steinbeck was able to escape this manifestation, he was no exception to this obsession surrounding his own mortality.

In Travels with Charley, he writes (rants, almost) of dying mightily rather than prolonging one’s…

About

Cole Schafer

I write pretty words and sometimes sell things. https://coleschafer.com/subscribe

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