Keynote

In music, the key note is the home base.
It’s the place where all progressions lead and long to go.
Unless,
the key note is modulated to a new home.
Then, sounds come in new colors with new energy.

Yesterday, Jason Reynolds Keynote at TCRWP added a 7th chord to my head and heart. A leading sound. An invitation forward. An enlarged awareness.

He told his story. His powerful story of growing up in the drugs and violence saturated neighborhoods of Washington, DC. He rejected literature. “Atticus Finch don’t exist in my neighborhood,” he said. “Literature clearly don’t want a relationship with me.”Ā  He told how rap and the poetry of Queen Latifah became the megaphone for voices of kids like him. He started to read and reread rap, the poetry of his time. Queen Latifah was his Langston Hughes, his Maya Angelou.

Much later, he finished his first book ever–when a sophomore in college. He became addicted to the act of completion. Then, he devoured books. Like a chord resolving to the home key. Complete. How many kids need the support to complete just one book? How could that begin the “addiction to the act of completion?”

A boy from the projects writes and gives a keynote. It was music to my ears.

“Nobody’s grown. We’re all growing.” –Jason Reynolds, Riverside Church, 3/16/19

Jason Reynolds

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LSquared
    Mar 17, 2019 @ 22:52:52

    I love this man. Glad I got to hear him last year at NWP/CATE. Thank you for his keynote quote: Nobody’s grown — we’re all growing. Lucky you to be at TCRWP!

    Reply

  2. smcninch
    Mar 17, 2019 @ 22:58:57

    Wow! Clearly an inspirational speaker. I’m misty eyed just hearing your refection of his speech. We’ve got to try everything as we never know what will carry a person through this life. Thank you for sharing. Loved it!

    Reply

  3. onathought
    Mar 17, 2019 @ 23:10:23

    I was there too! I loved his presentation. I could listen to the whole thing again and again. I sliced about it today too. šŸ™‚ His story is amazing and his call to others is amazing too. šŸ™‚

    Reply

  4. katlynhbennett
    Mar 18, 2019 @ 15:50:08

    I’m glad you opened with the definition of key note- I never knew where that term came from, and what a great way to introduce your post. Thanks for sharing pieces of Jason Reynolds wisdom with us! He’s so great.

    Reply

  5. sallydonnelly11
    Mar 18, 2019 @ 18:50:57

    Thank you for writing this! Though I was sitting in the same row with you, you captured my favorite lines he spoke. Plus the connection to keys in music is brilliant!

    Reply

  6. literacious
    Mar 19, 2019 @ 15:34:30

    I love Jason Reynolds and I’m so glad that his keynote sounds just like his interviews and his social media. He’s a special author who can connect with a lot of kids!

    Reply

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