Written by Alli Kennedy
Photographed by Blair Bellaire
Ambitious is just one word that comes to mind as Jacob Cavett begins to list his numerous pursuits: a double major in English: Creative Writing and Communications: Digital Media with a Business minor. While he is usually dressed business-casual for his job in Admissions, he’s sporting his brand new “dad shoes” and bear-print socks, a small gesture to his obsession with bears. “If I had to die a terrible death, I’d be honored to get mauled by a bear,” Jacob says as he chuckles. His perfect day looks like watching Parks and Recreation (he relates to Leslie Knope on a “spiritual level”), riding his bike through a European city, roller-skating, dancing with his friends, and drinking black coffee while writing in a niche bookstore.
Writing is an essential part of Jacob’s life. He couldn’t stop if he tried: “If I wasn’t writing, I’d be neglecting the passion the Lord has given me.” While taking Dr. Jones’ Advanced Fiction class, he truly began to discover his voice while experimenting with different short stories that revealed his strengths and weaknesses in writing. His humor has pervaded his stories, even from the time he was a second grader writing his first-ever short story starring George Washington’s horse who had been shot, or in his book “Turbo Toilet,” inspired greatly by Captain Underpants. In his most recent stories like “Militant Veganism,” he uses the unlikely interaction between a militant vegan and a redneck couple to reveal truths about humanity.
Much of Jacob’s writing is centered around the inspiration he has from the people who surround him and the teachings of Jesus. “Jesus used fiction—parables— to reveal the heart of God,” he says. He cringes as he lists the attributes of traditional “Christian Fiction” that he hopes to avoid: more focus on Twitter followers than the craft, no character development, clichés, and sentimentality. He wouldn’t mind redefining the whole “Christian Fiction” genre with his own work someday.
Since high school, Jacob has been tirelessly writing and re-writing his novel based on the Parable of the Vineyard: the story of a man who stops at nothing to convince his son to accept his inheritance, set in the 1890s in a fictional southern town. “Everything I’ve learned in my major up to this point has been for my novel,” he says. Working through the third draft of his novel has helped him to fall in love with the story as he discovers his characters on a much deeper level. With each revision of his novel, he feels like he gets closer and closer to the heart of the story.
Jacob’s dreams for the future center around his love for writing novels and his love of adventure. When he graduates, Jacob will work to pay off his student loans and move to Prague to tell unreached people about the Gospel while also pursuing writing. He hates “being cliché” by using the word “beautiful,” while describing the city, but he smiles as he ruminates aloud about the beauty of red-roofed buildings and ornate libraries that he fell in love with during the six weeks he spent there last summer. He describes how he reveres the Czech for their appreciation of literature while throwing in a few jabs at Americans’ distaste for reading.
After living in Prague, he plans to attend graduate school for an MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Literature and Writing to perfect his craft and work as a professor. There don’t seem to be any limits to Jacob’s aspirations. Whether it be revolutionizing an entire genre or teaching at a university abroad, his persistent dedication to writing will surely have a profound impact on those who will read his work.