Write Every Day: A to Z Challenge and Hello Jake!

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Hey, guys!

We’re continuing with our A to Z challenge, and meeting the crew this week. You can catch up on some of the daily A to Z posts below:

H is for Humdrum
I is for Ignorant
J is for Janky
K is for Kitchen Table Tarot
L is for Lovers
M is for Moon
N is for Newbie

And on to more of the crew!

Next up is Jake. I’ve known him since he was a kid, and one of the first emails I got when I sent my first newsletter was from Jake. It said something like, “Hi, Aunt Melissa. This looks terrible. I do this for a living. Please let me help you.” Thank GOD. He was able to take the amazing site and logo designed by Ryan Edward and help it evolve and grow over the last three years.  Jake is amazing, and this is about him.

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Tell us about yourself!

Hey! I'm a graphic designer born and raised in the Midwest. I've had the pleasure of working on a lot of different projects with a lot of great people, ranging from branding and design for folks like Melissa to podcasts and even short films. I accidentally became a Crazy Cat Guy when I rescued a 2 week old baby kitten I saw in the middle of the road as I drove home from work one day. I've since gained another and it's still hard for me to keep the numbers to a minimum of 2.

I like working on a variety of things to keep me busy – websites, logos, book covers, sound or video editing, writing. For absolutely non-productive days I read novels, bake or cook things I probably shouldn't be eating, try new craft beers (especially if they're local), create Spotify playlists with that perfect flow of sound and mood, play video games, or binge-watch films and TV shows of all genres.

What’s your idea of happiness?

They say money can't buy happiness, but I could use a billion dollars... just sayin'.

What’s your idea of misery?

Being homeless, feeling abandoned, feeling unloved, or being forced to watch The Human Centipede on repeat for all eternity.

What do you appreciate most in your friends?

I'm grateful for having friends that endlessly support me in whatever hair-brained idea or project I have, and I'm grateful for having friends that are also artistic and inspire me to push myself further in my own crafts. The emotional support, the laughter and jokes, and the general good company is bar none. They're all amazing in their own ways and I can't imagine doing life without them.

Where would you like to live?

A lot of places! Chicago, LA, NY, PDX. Basically any neat city with a huge foodie and art scene with just the right amount of grit.

Your favorite colors and flowers?

Uhhh I'm a graphic designer so asking my favorite color is going to get you a 10 minute response of color theory and current trends. But I'll tone down the nerd and go with: jewel tones, that cyberpunk combo of pink/purple/blue, and the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

I like flowers that look like they should be growing on an alien planet instead of here. But if I had to choose one, I'd say chrysanthemum, not for the way it looks but because seeing those means that my favorite season (fall) and favorite holiday (Halloween) is right around the corner.

Your favorite poets or authors?

Favorite poet, hands down, is Maya Angelou. I read her poem "Insomniac" years ago, and the rhythm of it, the alliteration, the meaning, I was just like, "Man, I think I fucking get it now." It's like music. There is beat and flow and imagery and once you can see it and feel it, reading poetry feels less like a high school assignment and more like a discovery of buried treasure.

Favorite authors, that's a tough one. The Harry Potter series will of course forever have a place in my heart. I'm currently exiting a long-lived phase of Stephen King and moving towards Brandon Sanderson, Margaret Atwood, Terry Pratchett, as well as a lot of classics – I just finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick which only further confused my questions of what it means to be human. I'm also really trying hard to read some Cormac McCarthy but damn, give me a period or a comma every now and again guy.

Your heroes/heroines in fiction?

I love reading or watching stories and films with strong female characters, especially when they're lead roles and most especially when they're portrayed as complex and important characters rather than portrayed through the "male gaze" (looking at you, Jim Butcher – what do her ample tits and lipstick color have to do with anything?). That's why I'm really enjoying reading Brandon Sanderson novels currently – I've only just started with his books, but I'm already seeing characters like Sarene in Elantris and Vin in the Mistborn series that are incredibly capable, smart, and vital to the success of the protagonists and vital for girls growing up to read about and look up to. So to answer the question, my favorite heroes/heroines are not only the incredible women in novels and films kicking ass and taking names, but also the authors and screenwriters who create them.

Your heroes/heroines in real life?

My family, for their constant and unconditional love and support, my many author and artist idols who unknowingly serve as consistent inspiration, and our Lord and Savior Elon Musk, King of Mars.

What is your present state of mind?

Always in a constant state of needing more coffee but knowing I've already had enough.

What role does divination play in your life?

I've always appreciated divination as both an art and a means to get a good kick in the pants. The more I work with Melissa for her brand the more I learn about Tarot and it's been endlessly interesting to me. I view Tarot or any kind of divination as a way to call yourself out on things in your life you can control and change, so if you don't like what you see in the cards, it's your job to change the trajectory of your life.

What is your favorite deck or divination tool?

From an artist’s standpoint, I'm fond of the Golden Tarot by Kat Black because the artwork was instantly familiar to me. I went to a Catholic school from K through 8th grade, so cards like the Hermit being portrayed by St. Francis of Assisi immediately made sense because I had to learn about all those figureheads growing up. I also took an absurd amount of Art History classes in college for some reason, so seeing all the Gothic and Renaissance imagery was sort of like coming home.

Your favorite songs?

I have a ton but I’ll narrow some of them down to circumstantial situations:

Song I must drop whatever I'm doing and air drum to: In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Favorite song as a kid (obsessed with music video): Thriller by Michael Jackson
Song that I keep close to my heart: Space Oddity by David Bowie
Song people don't understand why I love so much: Sleepwalking Through the Mekong by Dengue Fever
Song I wish I could sing expertly at a karaoke bar: Valerie by Amy Winehouse
Feel good song: Tell Me Something Good by Rufus & Chaka Khan
Song that makes me grin every time: Scuse Me by Lizzo
Secret guilty pleasure song: Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
Current favorite song: Fire by VHS Collection

Your favorite word?

Crepuscular.

Your least favorite word?

Smegma.

What about your favorite curse word?

Fuckass!

What sound or noise do you love?

Rain. Distant rumbling thunder. Frogs around a lake. Crackling fire. Cat purring.

What sound or noise do you hate?

The sound of people eating, crinkling food wrappers, or talking in a movie theater... or the sound of ice skating.

What turns you on?

In a person – definitely humor, especially of the dark variety. Open-mindedness. Tattoos.

What turns you off?

Dishonesty, racism, sexism, homophobia.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?

“Oh good, pizza’s here! I was just w— oh... sorry.”