Slice of Life: Jazz In The City

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

“When was the last time you were at a live concert?” I asked my father.

We were in line to an indoor jazz concert as part of our city’s weekend long Jazz Festival. Earlier, we had caught an outdoor show of Cuban/Brazilian Jazz. My father had to think. And he still came up blank. It had been a long time, made longer by the Pandemic.


“I don’t remember,” he replied, as we handed our vaccination cards to the attendant, along with our driver’s license, and then my wife, my father and I entered the renovated theater for a night held in honor and remembrance of jazz great Art Blakey. The legendary drummer and band leader died a number of years ago, but this show featured five of his players (plus two young superstars).

We sat down. We had fantastic seats.

“This place feels more crowded than I remember,” my wife remarked, through her mask, which was mandatory for everyone in attendance. I nodded, in agreement, and thought, everything these days feels more crowded. Even in the midst of certified vaccinated people, it still felt a little uneasy to be there, with my knee touching the stranger next to me.

Then the band started up and for two hours, we were transported into the landscape of jazz with exceptional players (they were amazing) and with stories of Blakey’s leadership and nurturing of countless young musicians over the decades.

And somehow, in the pandemic, we got lost in the music, if only for a little while.

Peace (on the stage),

Come ‘Write Out’ with Us: October 10-24

WriteOut: Palettes Storyboards Cadences

If you have been following my blog for the past few years, you know that I am a facilitator with the National Writing Project/National Park Service’s Write Out adventures, which take place each October. This year, it is coming October 10 and running through October 24, with the National Day on Writing on October 20 right in the middle of it all (well, sort of just past the middle).

I want to invite you to join us. It’s all free, and teachers and community groups can choose what inspires them to think about place-based activities. We will have daily video writing prompts from National Park Rangers (these are great for easy classroom writing inspirations), Twitter chats on Thursday nights, Facebook Live presentations, and tons of other resources and ideas.

Sign up for information and newsletters at the Write Out site:

The connecting theme this year comes from the National Park Service: Palettes, Storyboards and Cadences. I find these ideas interesting and evocative, if a little slippery, and I hope the notions of colors, stories and sound can open up some lines of inquiry that connect writers to rural and urban spaces.

WriteOut: Palettes

WriteOut: Storyboarding

WriteOut: Cadences

Peace (and place),