By Ashley Polite - September 17, 2021
While working at Kupcakerie, we have encountered thousands of people. And no, that isn't an exaggeration. Some of our visitors are recurring customers that stop by at least 4 days out of the week. I know their orders by heart, I know how many pets they have, we chat about life, weather, and music depending on what playlist is on at the moment. You're probably wondering how I am able to remember almost everyone right? Well, I've learned to focus on the small characteristics and details of each person. It becomes easier to identify a returning customer when you take notice of their personality, schedule, occupation, and even what they'd normally wear, which brings me to my next point. I noticed a very distinguished gentleman who'd stop by every week to get coffee and do work in the back of the shop. I always thought to myself, "man, he has the best vests ever" every time he came in with a different pair of dress pants on and waistcoat to match. Word around Kupcakerie was that he is extremely successful in his field, and I decided to ask him some questions to learn more.
Meet Jon Goode: an acclaimed author, poet, playwright, and coffee lover.
- Name and Birthplace (and zodiac, if you're into astrology)?
- Jon Goode, Richmond VA, Cancer (on the cusp of Leo :-) )
- What was your experience attending James Madison University? What was your most memorable moment as an undergrad?
- I grew up on the south side of Richmond Virginia in an all black neighborhood. In my elementary, middle, and high schools you could count the white students using both hands. JMU was/is a majority white school. It was a bit of a culture shock at first but I learned to navigate and excel in the environment, and in the end it was a great experience where I met life long friends. My major at JMU was Economics.
If you listen to the last 4 minutes of All Together Now: Fridays with The Moth – Boots Riley (link below) you can hear one of my stories from from my time at JMU.
- How did you begin your journey as a writer and author?
- I was working as an accountant with The CIT Group and one evening my friend (and boss) Veronica asked if I'd like to go to a poetry open mic. I replied, I can think of nothing I'd like to do less than go to a poetry open mic. She said, If I can catch up with you before you go home will you go? I said, yes. I left my desk fifteen minutes early. When I hit the elevator button, she was standing in the elevator and said, let's go. We went to Yin Yang Cafe. It was the most amazing and transformative night of my life. From that moment forward writing became the thing I pursued with reckless abandon.
- What are some of your favorite novels, and why?
- The Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes isn't a novel but a collection of short stories. I remember reading it and being blown away by the insights, life experiences, and perspectives in that book.
Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler are dark, dystopian, poignant and in many ways prophetic.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it's just a perfect story about life, choice, manifestation, and destiny.
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, which is actually a play, is just a classic story of selfless and unconditional love.
Futureland by Walter Mosley, Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk, Watchmen by Alan Moore, Tuf Voyaging by George R R Martin, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card... the list really goes on and on.
- Where or who does your inspiration come from (music, certain locations, people in your life)?
- I'm inspired by life itself. On the other side of your front door is a poem, a song, or a script. Whether you write it or not is up to you, but know it's there.
6. What would you consider to be the highlight of your career (so far)?
- I've been blessed to be in incredible spaces and to perform for wonderful people. I've been fortunate to win a Promax Gold and to be nominated for an Emmy or two along the way. The highlight of it all however was the first night I was afforded the opportunity to step on stage and perform in front of my mother. I performed the poem Barbara, which is inspired by, about her and by far the most popular poem I've ever written.
7. If you could describe your life as a book genre, what would it be and why?
- Dramedy.. 100% Dramedy
8. What draws you to this city? What are some of your favorite spots in Atlanta? Any recommendations?
- The reason you have a SoSo Def, a Tyler Perry Studios, a Turner Broadcasting System, and so many businesses that are household names but were originally considered non-viable underdogs come out of Atlanta and flourish is because Atlanta is a city where you can build it, whatever it is, from the ground up and be successful. Atlanta has amazing spots, due to the pandemic some are not open currently and some have gone away never to return. Atlanta is a constantly growing and evolving city so I encourage any and everyone to get out, explore, and they are sure to find their next favorite place. Some places I love, Moods Music, the Majestic Diner, Kupcakerie, Healthful Essence, Afrocentric Network, The Sanctuary Art Asylum, ADAMA (African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta), MJQ, The Village Market in PCM, The Sound Table, and the list goes on and on.
9. What is your go-to order at Kupcakerie?
- Large coffee with oat milk and honey :-) and the occasional Cookies and Dreams, or Scarlet Letter cupcake.
Interesting fella right? If you want to keep in touch with Jon, connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jon-goode-a42512b/ .