Writing in a Time of Peril: April 7, 2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 338,995 US cases, an increase of 93,337 since Friday, April 3, 2020, and 9,683 deaths, an increase of 3,625 as of 11:45am on April 6, 2020.

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 378,289 US cases, an increase of 30,294 and from the day before and 11,830 deaths, 2,147 more deaths than the day before as of 12:00pm on April 7, 2020.

Do the math!

Take a Moment 

Celebrate every day. Be in joy for every moment. Rejoice every hospital discharge and return. 

Take a moment to be in joy.

Acknowledge and hold the horrific loss and grief of those known and unknown to us.

Take a moment to mourn the departed.

Hold in your hearts those who have lost beloved ones in these times.

Take a moment to embrace the mourners.

Lift up and hold hospital orderlies, nurse assistants, nurses, doctors and all hospital staff, including first responders. Know that they are taking traumatic blows of this pandemic. Do not forget the care and support they need now and in the future to preserve their lives, to cope, to heal, to recover. 

Notice other’s sacrifices and do not forget. 

Take a moment.

COVID-19 COMMON SENSE

Do not relax your efforts to stay safe, to reduce every chance that you will contract Covid-19 or transmit itRemember the eye of a hurricane. It may look clear, someone may even sound the all clear, someone who has not survived a hurricane that is, but there is no all clear until the entire storm has passed over all of us.

The time to contain Covid-19 in the US has passed, i.e., implement public health procedures to test, quarantine people who are positive or ill, trace and contact people who have come in contact with the positive or ill person, quarantine them if needed, repeat this process and repeat it again to contain or stop the spread to avoid total lock downs, and social and economic disruptions. 

Covid-19 is spreading. Death rates will increase exponentially until the recommended universal practices above, testing-testing-testing, quarantining, contact tracing, and repeating these processes until we stop dying.

Treasure your life and the lives of others. 

Save your life and the lives of others.

Live your life every day as if you and everyone you know had been exposed to 

Covid-19, and you could make everyone you came in contact with ill, even sick to death, even if you and others around you show no symptoms of Covid-19. 

Stay home.

Covid-19 is spread by people with symptoms and those who do not have symptoms

Covis-19 is spread by sneezing, coughing, even breathing on or near another 

Keep your home and yourself extra clean. 

Engage in Physical Distance

Engage in Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Connection.

Upon leaving home or whenever in contact with other people and surfaces, wear gloves and a mask. 

Upon returning home remove clothing, disinfect shoes, place clothing in washing machine and launder immediately or place in hamper. Use gloves and mask when eventually laundering your outside clothing.

Shower immediately, including washing your hair.

Throw away packaging anyone else has touched or wash with soapy water or wipe down with disinfectant. Rewash hands.

Microwave or reheat any take-out foods before eating.

Stay informed by trusted media, sparingly, and by CDC, WHO, and other reliable scientists and medical professionals.

Yes, take a walk, a bike ride, a run, while keeping physical distance.

Use social media to have dinner or a movie or a cocktail hour with your family and friends.

There are limited ways to celebrate our lives together or hold wakes or funerals or repasts. Let us use our limitless imaginations and creativity to create and hold our families, our community, our country, our world.

Use our same limitless imaginations, creativity, tenacity, courage and belief to remain conscious, feeling, laughing, crying, playing, remembering and doing our parts, not matter that we are apart. 

Remember every elected and judicial officials, religious leaders, and business leader who delayed, dithered, and refused life-saving resources, blamed others. Engaged in shameless partisanship and took no responsibility for their behaviors. All have blood on their hands. OJ is awash in blood. 

Accept that we cannot reliably depend on any consistent or science based or public health based federal response and, should there be one, it will be way too late.

Support everyone to use our human and national ingenuity, courage, tenacity, and determination to survive and thrive. 

Value and appreciate everyone who saves and serves lives; medical professionals, scientists, first responders, all workers who support them, grocery clerks, delivery people, municipal workers, all of the people who are required and needed to stay on their jobs while we stay home.

Treasure your life and the lives of others.

Make a total commitment to save your life and the lives of others.

I go down my to-do list of self-care: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there are very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Lizz Wright’s, Fellowship album. I listen to the whole album, but I repeat, “Presence of the Lord,” whenever it comes on. 

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

Get Caught Up at: https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: April 8, 2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 378,289 US cases, an increase of 30,294 and from the day before and 11,830 deaths, 2,147 more deaths than the day before as of 12:00pm on April 7, 2020.

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 401,166 US cases and 12,936 deaths as of 10:30am on April 8. Do the math!

Very early morning. Wrens, night herons, black birds, and nightingales sing through the dark morning in an avian symphony. Back and forth, throbbing low notes, high trilling notes, cheeps, shrieks, hoots. There is easy listening just outside my window in the ornamental pear trees and among the just coming spring leaves of the  Crape Myrtle. They sing undisturbed. They harmonize the passed day’s harrowing and triumphal tales. I listen raptured and fall to sleep. 

I was dragged out of a horrible dream about Jayne, who is beloved to me and my chosen daughter.  

Leslie, my birth daughter, and Jayne met while they were in high school when we all lived in San Francisco. After high school, Leslie was off to Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta to study history. Jayne was off to Columbia in New York to study engineering. With a completely empty nest, I moved to Cambridge, Ma. 

Leslie, Jayne and I lived together in Cambridge in the mid 90s, while Jayne chose between M.I.T and Harvard for an MBA, and Leslie considered what graduate education to pursue, teaching or history. After working as a substitute teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin and other Cambridge area suburban high schools for a year, Leslie announced that teaching was definitely not her calling. She chose to pursue a graduate studies in historical preservation and urban planning. Same age, best friends, Leslie, African American born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Jayne, Chinese American, born in the city of New York, New York.

In the dream, Jayne and I were returning home after shopping in Boston’s China town on a Saturday afternoon. We were sitting together chatting about what we would make for our weekly Sunday dinner. Hot pot or okra and shrimp. I often felt a delicious thrill when others around us were  curious about the older, fat, black woman and the tall svelte Chinese American woman talking as if there were mother and daughter. Their expressions were often attempts to hide their curiosity or their incredulity that we could possibly be beloved to each other, family to each other.  Yet, there we were loving each other without a care about the narrow confines of their experience and knowing.

In the dream, a group of young black men surrounded us. They dismissed me as a threat or target. They yelled their anti–Asian and misogynist rage. Faces distorted. Veins bulged. Spittle flew. Their voices shattered the air. No one on the train spoke or moved. They looked down or up or away. I jumped up. I stood in the space between the loudest, biggest and most menacing among them. I pulled my arm back as far as it would go. I swung my open hand. I slapped him harder than I thought I was capable of. Breaths on the train draw in and hissed to a hush. I pointed my finger directly in his face. I spoke in a direct, clear, deliberate, strong and low old Southern Colored woman voice

“Lower your hands. Hush your mouth. Show some respect for the women who made you and raised you.”

I kept moving until my forefinger pointed directly into his chest. He moved backward. His eyes showed surprise and confusion. He lowered his arms and was quiet. He began to move his head to look at the other young men.

“Look at me. Not them,” I said in the same low voice. They can’t help you.”

 The other young men formed a frozen tableau, like the other riders on the train.

“You’re doing to my daughter what white men did to your mothers and grandmothers. Those women who are the great and great–great granddaughters of former slaves, free black women, Caribbean, African, Haitian and Cuban immigrant women. Good Christian women, Muslim women, Jewish women. They are looking down on you. They are weeping. They are wailing. They are ashamed of you.”

I turned to the other young men.

“They are ashamed of all of you.”

I turned back and shifted my attention back to the big one. 

“You want to curse a Chinese woman, shame her, threaten her, beat her? You want somebody to blame? You want somebody to take your rage out on?”

I took a breath and looked at all of them for a beat. I turned back to the big one.

“You better get ready, because I’m going to beat you ass to dust if you don’t get off this train and leave my daughter alone. Leave Chinese people alone. Go help your mothers and grandmothers and aunties.

The train doored opened. The young men backed out. The train and the people disappeared in an ethereal smoke. I awakened clenching my bed clothes at my sides. My throat was hot and dry. My head and neck ached.

RACIAL DISPARITIES IN COVID-19 IMPACTS Over the past few days there has been increased recognition of disparities in COVID-19 impacts, with African Americans bearing a substantial burden of the deaths compared to other populations in the US. A similar phenomenon was observed during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, during which racial and ethnic minorities were disproportionately affected. In Chicago, African American residents have approximately a 6 times higher mortality rate than Caucasian residents. Additionally, 68% of COVID-19 deaths have been reported in African Americans, despite only representing 30% of the population. The distribution of cases and death from COVID-19 highlights differential access to resources and poignant inequities between communities. Affected communities in Chicago have higher rates of underlying health conditions including hypertension, diabetes, and lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which could factor into the disproportionate COVID-19 impact. Additionally, individuals who live in high-density housing, use public transportation, and are employed in jobs that are not conducive to social distancing are likely at elevated risk. There is a need for actions to be taken to mitigate these impacts and identify appropriate protections to disproportionately affected populations.

Additional Resources:

Anti-Asian hate continues to spread online amid COVID-19 …

www.aljazeera.com › news › 2020/04 › anti-asian-hate-continues-spre.  

4/3/2020 – STOP AAPI HATE Receives over 1,100 Incident Reports of Verbal Harassment, Shunning and Physical Assault in Two Weeks

Pandemics: waves of disease, waves of hate from the … – NCBI

I go down my to-do list of self-care: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there are very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I look up, “Will You Harbor Me,” by Sweet Honey in the Rock on YouTube. I repeat this song throughout the day whenever the thought of anyone harming my beloved Jayne because she is Chinese American.

Sweet Honey in the Rock – Would you harbor me – YouTube

YouTube‎ · ‎Eileen aka Adamfulgence

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

Get Caught Up: https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: April 6. 2020

April 3, 2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 245,658 US cases and 6,058 deaths as of 10:45 am on April 3, 2020.

April 6, 2020, 

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 338,995 US cases, an increase of 93,337 since Friday, April 3, 2020, and 9,683 deaths, an increase of 3,625 since Friday, as of 11:45am on April 6.

Do the math.

On Sunday, beloved friends and family gathered for our weekly Zoom Sunday Dinner. We shared deeply about how we are each doing, our parents, children and extended families, our work, adjusting to staying at home, our projects, successes, a job search, an interviews scheduled, and a job offer. Yes, in the times of sheltering in place and working from home, jobs are being searched for and found in Covid-19 times. 

We talked about the dismaying catastrophically failing federal government response to Covid-19 response and the abandonment of state governors, city mayors, and county/parish rural public health departments and managers.  

We discussed the alarming reality that African American are contracting and dying at alarming rates without much reporting of Covid-19 unequal ravaging of People of Color communities. Here is a ProPublica article sent by a friend:

Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate

No, the coronavirus is not an “equalizer.” Black people are being infected and dying at higher rates. Here’s what Milwaukee is doing about it — and why governments need to start releasing data on the race of COVID-19 patients.

https://www.propublica.org/article/early-data-shows-african-americans-have-contracted-and-died-of-coronavirus-at-an-alarming-rate

We shared the internet connections that are keeping us sane:

  • Tuck and Patti ‘s Wednesday  at Noon Concert. 

Tuck & Patti – Home | Facebook

I sighed in relief and joy. We were together again. We heard each other’s voices and saw each other’s faces within our loving arc of knowing. 

I go down my to-do list of self-care: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there are very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Sweet Honey in the Rock. I go from album to album and find my favorite songs, some social justice and some spirituals. I Remember, I  Believe; Ain’t That Good News; Ella’s Song; Breaths; B’lieve I’ll Run On and See What the End’s Gonna Be, Seven Day Kiss, and Every Woman.  

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: Friday, April 3, 2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 245,658 US cases and 6,058 deaths as of 10:45 am on April 3, 2020.

I was on my way to Oakland to receive Amanda’s love. I figured if guns, alcohol, and marajuana outlets were essential, a ride fifty-one mile ride just as was essential to get fresh and dried healing herbs in Oakland, deep dish pizza in Alameda, there is none in Rio Visa, and drive through Peet’s Coffee, for the return ride, the only drive through Peet’s I know about in the East Bay. I also wanted to go to Tartine’s, in Berkeley, for bread and poppy seed tea cake, but they had closed a few days earlier. And, if my bladder held up, I figures to see my girlfriend, Gloria. Call her. Tell her I’m driving by. Stop and wave from afar. 

My partner does this thing with her eye brows when she is giving me serious warning with no wiggle room. She can make just one of eye brows go up, while she looks steely eyed at me. “Those are just excuses,” she said. “I worry about you going breaking the stay at home order.” She doesnt say, ‘ Don’t come back home with a killer virus.’ But, that is what she is communicationg.

I had a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes. As I approached the intersection Highway 12 and Highway 160, I saw that the produce stand was finally after the winter closing. The first produce had just been harvested from the acres of farmland just behind the produce stand. I put on my mask and gloves, shopped with more than six feet of space between the few customers, and made my purchases; a half flat of strawberries, and a quarter flat of strawberries for Amanda, and just picked and washed beets, green onions, cilantro and lettuces I accepted my purchases from the gloved proprietor and I was on my way.

I have other gifts for Amanda neatly packed in the car. Fresh cooked blackeye peas and  small green lima beans, rice and vegetarian savory bread pudding. I made the savory bread pudding with croissants and vegetables that I roasted myself; onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, dried herbs, salt, pepper, eggs, almond milk and avocado oil. 

I arrived. I brought my gifts to the bottom of her walk way. She brought her gifts down and placed them in the trunk of my car. We stayed in excess of an 6 feet apart as we talked and loved each other. We discussed safe handling of food, food packaging, newspapers, mail, delivered boxes and the things that arrive in them. We talked about the best uses to vinegar and bleach to clean and disinfect surfaces. 

Amanda explained what she has included in her gifts: Herbs from her garden she had dried and placed in separate small brown bags; basil, mixed lemon balm and mint, and mullein for the lungs. She had placed fresh herbs from her garden in a basket; thyme, parsley, rosemary, fennel, mint and oregano. In addition, she added oranges and a lime from her nieces’ garden. She returned to her front garden and cut some blooming freesias which filled the car with the scent of spring. 

We talked about support for her niece who is a nurse who recently self-quarantined in her home and her need for PPE’s when she hopes she can return to work. We said our goodbyes with lavish air kisses and prayerful leave taking.

I had arranged for an emergency bathroom use plan with Natalie’s in Alameda. I’m of an age that my bladder is my boss. With so many places closed, there are very few safe and clean bathrooms available for a bio-stop. I’m only able to go as far as I am amble to return home before my bladder clock sounds a full non–stop blaring body alarm. 

I entered her basement with gloves and mask. She left disinfectant wipes so I could clean everything any part of my body touched thoroughly. I stood in her driveway near her side porch. She stood inside her doorway. I sang Happy Birthday to her wife, Akila, whose birthday it was, and placed two baskets of strawberries on their porch as a gift. We waved and swept kisses toward each other before I turned to go. I didn’t drive by Gloria’s. I miss her. I’m sad I don’t get to see her, hear her voice other than over the phone.

I was halfway home when my daughter, Leslie, called. She could tell I was driving, that I was not on lock down at home. She wasnot pleased. I confessed. Shewas still not pleased, but I can tell she was impressed with the measures I have taken to care for myself and those I came in contact with. We talk of the possibility of layoffs or furloughs that may be in the near future for her. I praise her assertive and proactive fown lexicon of family, friends, work, and memories  We laughed and laughed, and love passed between us, mother and daughter of forty-four years. We shared the musical losses of Ellis Marsalis and Bill Withers. I promised to stay home for the duration. 

Leslie voice accompanied me all the way home. When I arrived home, I hung up feeling humbled, grateful, privileged and relatively safe as the super-virus, Covid-19, begins to make landfall and hopeless– wretched– pitiable loss and grief begins to tumble and slam into us, crash over us, swallows us whole, and covers us in fathoms of grief and loss.  

Once inside, I washed my hands and face. I took care of removing the packaging of my gifts. Quarantined the packaging for 24 hours and three says. I took my clothes off, placed them in the washing machine. I washed my hands and face again. I didn’t shower or wash my hair again, because of, I tell myself, the minimal contact I had with others and surfaces. I know it as a lazy cop out, a refusal to make something an essential habit. I tell myself, I will do better.

I count my blessings and go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

Lizz Write is in concert on SF Jazz’s Friday’s at Five this week. 

I clink on this link. 

Fridays at Five – SFJAZZ Center  and prepare for te concert. 

Make a cocktail date with your beloved ones and enjoy!

Joann and I eat deep dish pizza from Star on the Park in Alameda.

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: March 31, 2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboardis reporting 164,610 US cases and 3,170 deaths as of 7:45am on March 31.

My experience of Orange Julius is as a liar, bully, sexual predator, thief, con man, coward, thin skinned, incompetent, vengeful, despotic, paranoid, grandiose, shallow, impulsive, misogynist, xenophobic, and he derives sadistic pleasure and profit from harming, exploiting and blaming the ost vulnerable among us.

Those who report while attempting to give context to OJ’s behavior, and his constant spweing of harmful misinformation and misdirection, often ponder; does he understand or does he realize or does he grasp or does her comprehend or does he care? Additionally, after nine months without White House briefings, we are now subjected to an OJ reality show that he uses to replace his presidential reelection political rallies and give cover to his administration’s failed Covid-19 response. Meanwhile, his administration continues to smear, threaten, bully and fire when he feels others are disloyal, hurts his feelings, tells truth to power, get in the way of his saving his presidency or exploit our country. 

Like Miss. Nancy, what I lovingly call our Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, I do fervently wish our current president was competent, effective, and up to the challenges of the presidency of the United States of America. I daily resit the impulse to hate him, curse him, wish him unwell. I resit this impulse in part because of Miss Nancy’s example. She prays for him, genuinely so, as she has been taught. I stop the powerful hateful thoughts in earliest-flight from my brain, to my mouth, to my heart, mouth, because of what I have been taught. I have been warned with a wagging fingers. I have been admonished with withering looks. My mothers, grandmothers, and auntie mamas have universally inparted, “What you wish ill for others, casting out your anger on others, hating others will reflect on you, return to you, bounce back onto you.”

Meanwhile, the reality of Covis-19 permeates all our lives as medical professionals, mayors, governors, doctors, nurses, first responders and medical professionals plead and beg for what should have already been delivered.

I respond to all of this in rational terror and furious love and determination for a well-founded, consistent, and united national response to Covid-19. Instead, I receive daily toxic doses of arrogantand incompetent mixed messaging, harmful misinformation, and revisisionist histories of the months, weeks and days preceding. 

I experience OJ as a no-win gaping black hole of rage, fear, projection and need. Nothing works to corral him into responsible and accountable leadership. People have tried to give him what he wants; praise him, genuflect to him, fact check him, lie to him, lie for him, leak on him, lie on others for him, give him the facts in small visual bites, and withhold the facts, just to name a few. I experience OJ as loving the fight dirty, to upset, to embarrass, to shame and embarass others, to incite strife, to profit from all things. I experience him as hating and fearing the truth, authenticity, the very notion of honor and duty, and any appearance that he lost or failed, even when he has lost, is losing, is constantly. 

Orange Julius’ leadership, and lack thereof, and the double bind natures of our government’s responses to Covid-19, leaves us rationally afraid, confused, angry, disappointed, mystified and uncertain about how to to save our own lives and the lives of all Americans with a healthy natioal response.

We are a people awakening to the realization that an effective and competent presidency is lost to us. OJ will not respond in any consistently responsible, accountable or presidential way. To continue expecting, hoping for, pleading for Orange Julius to become the functional president, that he was elected to be and he swore to become, requires of all of us levels of denial and delusion that will increase the Covid-19 illnesses and deaths among us.  Instead, together, we will find within ourselves and other individuals, groups, and institutions that we can depend on to save our lives and invent whatever we need to do so. We will keep ourselves and each other safe. We will volunteer, pitch in and donate in every way we can. We will keep physical separation. We will not allow emotional, social, and spiritual separation. We will find every way to save ourselves, each other and our country. And, we will find every detail of this administration’s betrayal of our trust and their sworn duty to serve us, and we will hold them morally and criminally responsible.  

So, I’m going down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Stevie Wonder’s, Songs in the Key of Life. I listen to the whole album. I repeat, “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” each time it comes on. 

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: April 2, 2020

The US CDC reported 186,101 cases (22,562 new) and 3,603 deaths (743 new) on April 1. The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 217,263 US cases and 5,151 deaths as of 11:00am on April 2.

Paul Robeson

by Gwendolyn Brooks

“That time we all heard it, cool and clear, cutting across the hot grip of the day.

That major Voice. That adult Voice. Forgoing Rolling River, forgoing tearful tale of bale and barge and other symptoms of an old despond.

Warming in music — words devout and large, that we are each other’s harvest: we are each other’s business: we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” 

— Gwendolyn Brooks, Family Pictures(1971)

There are people who are sacrificing their jobs, some their careers, some their lives to confront and expose Orange Julius’ betrayal of his oath to preserve, protect and defend U. S. citizens from the pandemic of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the commander Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, sacrificed his naval career by writing a letter to his superiors demanding more help for his crew as Covid-19 spread unimpeded through the Roosevelt. He was relieved of his command.

He is not alone. A parade of people, sounding alarms about the catastrophic failures of the Orange Julius administration’s response to Covid-19, have been fired or reprimanded, doctors and nurses included. We must act in any and all ways we can to support and protect the people, their voices and their actions on behalf go their solders, patients and themselves

When I lived in Cambridge in th 90’s, I brought with me the tradition of Sunday Dinner. Often, I invited friends and colleagues to this feast of healing food and connection. Last week, after having difficulty connecting with , four my East Coast friends after the onset of Covid-19, we cranked up all of our modes of communication and finaly, my writing partners and extended family convened a meetin via Zoom. We caught up with each other and our children, parents, and other family members. We laughed together, remembered together, and touched each other.

We, Marcia and Jen in Western Massachusetts, Charlene and Liz in Brooklyn, New York and Joann and I, in Rio Vista, California, have committed to having a Zoom Sunday Dinner every Sunday during these Covid-19 times. We are refusing to be outside of the arc of each other’s love and blessed assurance. 

I count my blessings and go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I go to YouTube and look up Marcia Gomes. Marcia is an amazing musician, writer, teacher and beloved family to me. She has produced her first album! I go to YouTube to hear her voice, see he bandmates, and June Millington’s amazingly beautiful hair!

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: Wednesday, April, 1, 2020

March 31, 2020The US CDC reported 140,904 cases (18,251 new) and 2,405 deaths (293 new) on March 30. The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 164,610 US cases and 3,170 deaths as of 7:45am on March 31. 

April 1, 2020

The US CDC reported 186,101 cases (22,562 new) and 3,603 deaths (743 new) on April 1.

Ellis Marsalis, Jazz Pianist and Music Family Patriarch, Dies at 85

Growing up in New Orleans, Ellis Marsalis was a junior high school music teacher who played jazz on Thursday nights at Snug Harbor on Frenchman Street. He was more working stiff. He didn’t tour as his talent and importance to jazz demanded. He was a devoted family man and a teacher.  Later he would become a master teacher at Xavier University, University of New Orleans and The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. University of New Orleans. He gained national and international fame and awards. For me, he always remained my best girlfriend’s junior high school music teacher who played at Snug Harbor on Thursday nights.

Once I was old enough, I spent as many Thursday, and later Friday nights, nights at Snug Harbor as I could. Jermaine Bazile and the Gentlemen of Jazz and Ellis Marsalis were my favorites. 

It was a date night. It was a solo night. It was bring your friends to a jazz set during Jazz Festival night. It was celebrate whatever night. His musician sons began to appear with their father at Snug Harbor when they were young teenagers.  

When I moved away from home, and returned for a visit, I never missed a night that Ellis Marsalis played at Snug Harbor. Like visiting my extended family and friends, I sat down at one of the small tables in the crowded room to hear Ellis Marsalis play jazz piano with his current tri or quartet or guests.

Ellis Marsalis was a no-drama man. He sat at the piano and played with his head down mostly. He directed the rest of his his trio or quartet with a look up or a nod or slight movement of his body or hand.

Ellis Marsalis’ music and his reliable and constant presence at Snug Harbor was a home place for me. His death leaves me homesick and heartbroken. 

By Giovanni Russonello and Michael Levenson

Published in NYT on April 1, 2020. Updated April 2, 2020, 1:05 p.m. ET

Ellis Marsalis, a pianist and educator who was the guiding force behind a late-20th-century resurgence in jazz while putting four musician sons on a path to prominent careers, died on Wednesday in New Orleans. He was 85. The cause was complications of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, his son Branford said in a statement. Mr. Marsalis spent decades as a working musician and teacher in New Orleans before his eldest sons, Wynton and Branford, gained national fame in the early 1980s embodying a fresh-faced revival of traditional jazz

Mr. Marsalis in performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2009. The mayor of New Orleans called him “the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz.” Credit…Associated Press

I continue to go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Marsalis’, Fathers and Sons and A Night at Snug Harbor, (1995.) I listen. I remember. I grieve for myself, my home, for the Marsalis family. I repeat. 

Joann and I join Tuck and Patti for their weekly concert from their home on Facebook. They invite us into their home every Wednesday at noon Facebook. Don’t forget to contribute to the Tip Jar.

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog