jake provides an alternative read



There are more publications on campus than there are periods in an Ernest Hemingway novel. Now, two Yale students and Hemingway fans are creating a new literary magazine that goes a place no Yale literary publication has gone before — into an envelope.

jake, founded by Arija Weddle ’04 and Sarah Chihaya ’05, will be available to students by reading week this December. Weddle and Chihaya are currently in the process of collecting submissions for the first issue’s Oct. 31 deadline.

Weddle and Chihaya said they decided to create jake because they wanted to design a magazine that was entirely unique.

“We were tired of the same, standard format of writing magazines,” Chihaya said.

Chihaya said while other publications have their place at Yale, they lack personality. The work found in these magazines is wide-ranging, Chihaya said, but even the most prestigious one, the Yale Literary Magazine, uses a standard format.

Instead of binding its submissions together in a book or magazine, jake will gather its works together as pamphlets placed inside a 6-by-9 inch envelope. jake will contain literary magazine staples such as poetry and prose, but it will also include artwork, sheet music and transcribed conversations –either from instant messenger or from conversations overheard on the street. Weddle and Chihaya said the transcribed conversations are a good way of capturing the comedy of day-to-day life that can often be overlooked and underappreciated.

And if the revolutionary format of jake is not enough to woo Yale students, jake’s founders said an informational pamphlet on a featured liqueur will appear in each edition. Not only will Chihaya and Weddle inform their readers about the liqueur and how to prepare it, they will also try the drink themselves and write about the experience.

“It sounded like a good idea at the time. It’s very old school, very tongue-in-cheek,” Chihaya said.

jake was named after the protagonist of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” Weddle and Chihaya said they like the character of a young American expatriate living in Paris after World War I, who spends all his time drinking, pursuing a woman, and obsessing over bullfighting.

“He has no destiny,” Chihaya said.

Weddle and Chihaya said the image Hemingway projects of a group of people sitting around and talking about literature and whatever else is on their minds contributed to their inspiration for creating jake.

“We find Hemingway very humorous,” Weddle said.

The first of the featured liqueurs is going to be Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur from Southern France with a licorice taste, which, according to Weddle and Chihaya “does not taste that great.” But it was one of Hemingway’s favorite drinks, and thus an appropriate choice for their first issue, they said.

“It’s something you might find sitting in your grandmother’s cabinet,” Weddle said.

Pernod is a brand of the liqueur Pastis, which is known for its use as a substitute for absinthe, the drink containing the hallucinogen wormwood that was banned in 1915 by the Swiss and French governments. Supposedly, Hemingway wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls” under the influence of absinthe. Today’s Pernod contains no hallucinogens.

But the founders of jake said they are not completely obsessed with Hemingway — he is just their inspiration.

“Our goal is not to be pretentious,” Chihaya said.

With jake, Weddle and Chihaya said, they want to create a laid-back setting for people to let out their creativity. Weddle and Chihaya compared the venture to McSweeney’s, a quarterly magazine, also published online, with a diverse collection of writing.

“It’s like writers and authors coming together with no point other than to sit around and drink Pernod,” Weddle joked.

Chihaya and Weddle said they have received supportive responses so far about jake.

jake is a Morse Sudler-funded project.

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