By Karen Gordon

“What a Difference a Day Makes”
—Dina Washington,
songwriters María Grever, Stanley Adams

Thursday, February 20, 2020, B.C. (Before COVID)

That date feels like a lifetime ago, though only five months have passed. It was on this day that I submitted final edits for my March article of Augusta Family Magazine. ‘Twas a regular day in the life of the Empress of Cool. According to my meticulous email records and the fact that I delete nothing, I was working on the following:

• ordering seedlings for friends, families and community garden spaces throughout the area
• messaging my brother, Wycliffe, about rehearsal schedule and other logistics for the production of “Within Our Gates” at Augusta University
• checking my calendar because LeScoot had invited me to ‘play some smooth jazz music’ for his school’s spaghetti dinner fundraiser the following week
• deciding whether to volunteer for or to sneak into the Arts Council’s annual Wet Paint Party (we would discuss COVID-19 precautions the following week)
• messaging a handful of corporate event planners and hospitality staff regarding talent for Tournament Week
• making last minute edits to my grant proposal for my 1970 Augusta Riot – Protest Music Project

Back then, in the modern day 2020 B.C. (before COVID), that was typical. I had two daily alarms: 5 a.m. (for all that I left unfinished the day before) and 7 a.m. (Scoot during the week and me on weekends), and two weekday alarms: 2:50 p.m. pick up from Westobou and 5:50 p.m. pick up from Jessye Norman School.


Thursday, July 16, 2020

I believe that we have all aged a decade in the past few months. And, instead of focusing on DOING, COVID-19 has forced us to focus on BEING. That process in and of itself is fraught with more questions than answers. 

• First and foremost, what in the Pandora’s Box IS this?! And which version of ‘normal’ are we experiencing— regular, new or next?
• Who is going to show up for the creative community— the ones whose art, music and words will live on to tell our COVID-19 story long after we’ve departed?
• What message do we send (about who we say we are) in the way we treat people who are different?
• When will we take a hard look at our public education systems? Is there a way to tackle some long-standing obstacles without dividing our efforts within local school communities?

• Where IS the love? Was it just a lie?

• Why does it take a global crisis to initiate unity through equality for all people?

And… how do I channel these feelings of empathy into my future BEING? How do I show up for my family when my sense of self-worth is taking a major beating? How do I muster the strength to bypass the snooze button, to show up for myself when none of this makes sense, and to hear the music again for the first time?

One day at a time. God is good. I remain grateful. 

There’s my 7 a.m. alarm. How will you show up?

Karen Gordon is a singer, songwriter and the founder of Garden City Jazz. She works with the City of Augusta to present the Candlelight Jazz Concert Series each year and has partnered with RCBOE to develop interactive courses such as Taking Notes: Jazz & The American Story and Jazz4Kids.