Will Write for Tobacco

Will Write for Tobacco

Below is a letter I wrote to Drew Estate cigars in hopes that they would sponsor me as a writer. I received no response.

Dear Mr. Estate,

When I was a child, my grandfather showed me a magazine photograph of Hemingway reading a newspaper. A cigar pierced his beard, framed by an easy, unassuming grin. The photo charmed me even then. My youth allowed a strange captivation with the gray, hazy smoke; I remember the way it overlaid Hemingway’s beard and hair, becoming as much a part of the man as the man himself.

The association would return years later. College writing courses brought back the name, and with it, the cigar. You were there with me, Drew Estate, when I first adopted the pen in my early college days, channeling Hemingway, adding that remembered posture to my growing bank of guises. I discovered a few of my own supporting poses as well: the ‘legs-crossed slow-drag’ when reading impressive-looking novels, the ‘quick pull prior to delivering insight’ when arguing with other, equally green freshmen. And of course, the ‘lonely man slouched on his front steps at 3 am’ posture, most commonly practiced after heavy nights of drinking, having exhausted poses one and two.

I was an awkward, unpolished freshman and Drew Estate played an integral role in sculpting my identity. Though as I matured, so did my reasons for keeping you lit. You became a staple: paper, check; pen, check; cigar, check. That first draw and sweet smell became less a social badge and more of a Pavlovian appetizer en route my current personality: aficionado willing to write for free cigars.

Therefore, Mr. Estate, if you are still reading this, you must either 1) assume I am an idiot for thinking the ‘Estate’ in Drew Estate is a last name, or 2) are intrigued enough not to care. So where does this leave us? Though you surely don’t need me to craft your good name (my voice is meek, your reputation huge), I feel we could still enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship wherein a few social crannies, as well as my mouth, are filled with your product.

I propose this: in exchange for free cigars (at a frequency to be determined) I will 1) continue to spread the gospel of Drew Estate among the literary community and 2) devote select future writings, and perhaps an entire collection, to cigars, with a specific focus on Drew Estate.

An icon of cigar culture such as Drew Estate supporting an up-and-coming writer such as myself would surely make for good publicity, a noble melding of the intellectual act of letters with the intellectual appeal of the cigar. I look forward to your response.

If I do not hear from you within the month, I will send a similar letter to Swisher Sweets. They also taste good.

Thanks for all,

Caleb J. Ross


About the Author

Caleb J. Ross has been published widely, both online and in print. He is the author of Charactered Pieces: stories (OW Press), Stranger Will: a novel (Otherworld Publications, 2011), I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin: a novel (Black Coffee Press, 2012), and As a Machine and Parts (Aqueous books, 2011).