Each moment and conversation brings with it treasures and nuggets of wisdom if we’re paying close enough attention to find them. My conversation with Jason Reynolds was no exception with his fresh perspectives on critical thinking, anxiety and identity. Thus the inspiration behind this blog… a few big topics with not-so-widely heard perspectives.
Learning to Think Critically on the Fly
Critical thinking is a skill that is greatly admired and often associated with people of intelligence. It is an ability that requires the confidence not to blindly accept everything at face value and to process and challenge information with a mind that is free to agree or disagree with what it is taking in. But how do we learn to think critically, especially in the heat of the moment?
Jason had a very unique and uncommon upbringing that shaped his thought processes from an early age, one that really got me thinking about how I and most people I know have been raised. While Jason’s childhood was quite different from the norm, he was careful to state that it was still always rooted in respect between a mother and a son, and their roles were never compromised. However, the principles of what Jason learned from his mother can be applied and learned at any stage in life in learning to be a critical thinker, so here they are:
1) Learn to “talk back”
Most children are raised in an environment where talking back to their parents is seen as a lack of respect for authority. However, in Jason’s home talking back was not only tolerated, it was encouraged. Jason says that being encouraged to talk back gave him the freedom to express himself and his feelings, regardless of what he had done or what wrongs had been committed. It also made him always feel like a person of equal value when it came to discussions of any kind.
Giving people, especially children, a voice at the table gives them the freedom to be curious and ask questions, to express their understanding and most importantly to feel heard. Whether you’re a parent raising kids or have long ago grown up and are now learning to understand your own voice and thoughts, learning to speak up in a conversation and to give others room to speak is the first step in learning to think critically on the fly.
2) Find the freedom to agree or disagree
The fear of disappointing people or being rejected can often lead people to stay quiet with their own opinions and to accept whatever is being told to them. Often in a parent-child relationship, the child isn’t even given the option to disagree with what is being said, they are to just “do as they’re told”. Jason’s mother never forced him to accept her answers as the only truth, and this was a crucial piece in his development of the skills to think for himself and come up with his own answers. When we find the freedom to be able to agree or disagree with anything we take in, we begin to find our voice and the confidence to believe in ourselves.
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3) Have confidence when you argue your point
One of the key elements to any argument or debate is confidence. If a person doesn’t have confidence in the point they are bringing across, the chances of anyone else having confidence in it is slim. The skill of speaking with confidence takes time and practice to master, but it can start from as early of an age as the environment will allow. Jason’s mother always told him that if he was going to argue his point to do it with confidence and strength, and so he did. And with practice, he became great at it, even when the outcome still wasn’t always what he had hoped it would be. But in the process, he learned how to think quickly and critically and how to process his own emotions and what was going on in his mind.
Whether we were fortunate enough to get to practice these skills as Jason did as a child, learning to speak up, finding the freedom to agree or disagree and having confidence when we argue our points are some of the foundational tools that will help us to think critically in any given moment. For more on building confidence in communication check out this podcast with Vanessa Van Edwards. Sometimes though, personal conditions (such as anxiety) can seem to get in the way of finding confidence.
Anxiety as a Superpower
Anxiety is another hot topic in today’s society, being at an all-time high in almost every age demographic. And most often anxiety is spoken about with a negative connotation as an unfortunate condition or disability. Truthfully it can be debilitating for some, and a life-long struggle to keep in check for many. But what if any, are the elements of anxiety that can be appreciated? In its most basic form, the root of anxiety is fear, which is also a basic instinct we all possess to warn us of potential threats or danger. Without this instinct, we would not survive. There is also a strong correlation between empathy and anxiety.
Jason offered a fresh perspective regarding his own anxiety that he has lived with since childhood. As a very sensitive boy, Jason felt his feelings and everything around him very deeply. He also had great empathy for others. This sensitivity and empathy that Jason has had since childhood are what he says developed an anxiety in him, which he has seen as a gift at times in his life. Jason says that his anxiety (his “spidey sense” as he calls it) has allowed him to feel things at a deeper level which has also helped him to teleport right into the life of a young teenage boy wrestling with identity or an older teen exploring sexuality in his story-telling. Jason sees his anxiety as a superpower that has made him the most human of humans and helped him to understand and relate to others to connect with them.
When we try to see past some of the negativity surrounding a diagnosis such as anxiety and look for the blessings (or superpowers) in the condition it can help to lighten the burden or powerlessness that often accompanies mental health issues. It is important to take care of ourselves and seek appropriate professional help to keep our health in check, but we can also regain our own power in shifting our perspective to find the good in difficult situations. After all, we are not our diagnosis or condition. Our identities are far greater than any one thing.
Identity is an Amalgamation of Everything
When someone asks “Who are you?”, we often answer with what we do. Whether the answer is a student, teacher, mother, athlete or writer our identities are often strongly linked to what we do for a living or what life has put on us. Identifying with what we do as a profession isn’t necessarily a bad thing until we lose that thing we did as a profession. We often see professional athletes go into crisis when they can no longer play their sport, or mothers who have invested 18 years completely into their children and then feel lost when their children are grown up and gone. If identity is purely linked to what we spend most of our time currently doing, we are all at risk of an identity crisis at any moment.
When I asked Jason about his life as a writer, he stated that he does not identify as a writer, but as a storyteller who writes for a living and writes because he loves to write. He expanded by stating that the only reason his writing exists is because of his entire life of experiences that he writes stories about. Jason said writing is actually a very small part of him as he is an amalgamation of the many things and people and places he has experienced that have all stuck on him.
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What really got me is when Jason said “I am who I am most in the shower”. This is another lesson his mother taught him, saying that we all have 3 lives: public, private and secret. And it’s the secret one we try to pretend doesn’t exist.. but that is who we are. When we are in the shower, when no one is looking, that is who our truest self is. And that is where we find our identity.
My conversation with Jason was illuminating with his fresh thoughts and perspectives, so hope you enjoy the show and check out his new book, Ain’t Burned All the Bright.
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Listen to the Podcast
Jason Reynolds (00:00): Whitney Houston's nickname was The Voice. That's what they called her. Her whole life, she was called The Voice. Then Whitney Houston, through whatever it was, whether it be through abuse or whether it be simply by the natural course of aging, The Voice begins to change. What happens when The Voice can't sing anymore? What darkness lies on the other side of that when all you've ever known yourself to be is The Voice? I'm not The Voice.
Jason Reynolds (00:28): I'm Jason, my mama son, who writes for a living and who writes because he loves it. Not because it is attached to his identity. No, no, no, because one day I may have nothing else to say. One day I might want to try something. I love furniture, Chase. I might want to become a furniture designer. I might want to put my stories in physical objects. Create new narrative around what it takes to make something from a piece of wood in these hands. It might not be words on the page anymore.
Chase Jarvis (01:13): All right, Jason Reynolds. Thank you so much for joining us. Welcome. Happy to have you.
Jason Reynolds (01:17): Thank you, man. I appreciate you. It's good to be here.
Chase Jarvis (01:22): I love to start off each of these shows with a request, and the request is a simple one. It's for the handful of... First of all, congratulations on your most recent book.
Jason Reynolds (01:33): Oh, thank you.
Chase Jarvis (01:33): Total genius. Never seen anything like it, but before we get to that people, I guess they now gather you're an author because I gave that away. For anyone who might not be familiar with your work, I'm wondering if you can orient us around how you spend your time, what your focus is, your energy as a creator. How do you put yourself in time and space here for our audience?
Jason Reynolds (02:00): It's funny. My trade is writing. I consider myself a storyteller. The specificity of said trade is at this particular juncture writing for young people, even though I've written for adults and for everybody, because stories don't really have ages and age limits and requirements. Ultimately if I had to whittle it all down, just a raconteur, man. I'm just somebody who really believes in the power of narrative, really believes in the power of story.
Jason Reynolds (02:32): Of course, there are other parts to that. Like I believe in the necessity for literacy, I believe in the value of owning one's personal story as a bridge to the acknowledgement and appreciation of our collective stories. That's really at the heart of it all, what I'm interested in.
Chase Jarvis (02:56): What made you... Storytelling, I mean, humans, obviously we're storytelling creatures. We're social animals. We have desire to understand, to fit in, to try and piece things together even sometimes when it doesn't make sense. Why the focus or why have you been... You said you've written for all sorts of audiences because storytelling is the craft, but why have you gravitated towards writing, especially some of your most recent books towards a younger audience? Why that focus?
Jason Reynolds (03:31): I mean, there are a few reasons, I think some selflessly and some selfishly. I think selflessly... And in my mind, there's no greater population to write for. I think we'd all agree that to convince and encourage young people that there's something precious about reading and writing, that there's something valuable about spending some time with a good story, can in fact enrich their lives in ways that I'm not sure we always give enough credence to.
Jason Reynolds (04:09): It's not just about... You'll hear this thing where it's all about empathy. This is the caned answer about if you write books for kids, then kids will learn empathy. Maybe. We really don't know if that's true. It's what we all say, because it's a good thing to say and we all like to put ourselves on these strange pedestals like our work is a lot more... It's almost like we create piety around our work in these interesting ways that... I'm not monastic. That's not what's happening.
Jason Reynolds (04:43): I hope that they encourage empathy, but even more so than that, I think that the act of reading teaches young people and teaches all of us persistence and discipline and consistency. It gives us vocabulary. The more vocabulary we have, the more ability we have to live autonomous lives. It teaches young people to listen to themselves, how to hear one's own voice. It continues to keep the imagination fruitful and firing, which we all know as adults we tend to lose that if we're not careful, if we're not fighting for it every day.
Jason Reynolds (05:19): Those are the things I'm thinking about beyond just the ideas around empathy and representation, which are true and are very real things. But I think we get a little lazy when we talk about this by just saying like, "Oh, because I want to be representative. I want kids to see themselves in stories and I want them to gain empathy." Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Also, this is the mechanism that creates whole individuals. Now, on the selfish side, because it's fun. Because it's fun.
Chase Jarvis (05:45): I love it.
Jason Reynolds (05:46): Yeah. It's a lot more fun-
Chase Jarvis (05:48): There's nothing wrong with claiming that and owning that.
Jason Reynolds (05:49): Yeah. It's fun.
Chase Jarvis (05:49): I think that's-
Jason Reynolds (05:49): It's a good time.
Chase Jarvis (05:56): You said something in that moment that I want to grab onto, and that is understanding our own voice. That's one of the things that seems suggested that you want younger people to remember that they have a voice and to know how to use it and articulate through vocabulary and standing in their space. I heard a story about you and the relationship that you had with your mother, which I think is expressly resonant with our audience.
Chase Jarvis (06:29): Because whether you are a kid listening to this show, or let's say you're 63 years old, trying to move on to a different career, different stage of your life or even reinventing one's self, this idea that we all have a voice and that that is the thing that we need to own. You've talked a lot about owning that.
Jason Reynolds (06:50): Yeah.
Chase Jarvis (06:52): Given that that is so important for the creative audience that listens to the show, watches the show, I heard a story about your relationship with your mother, where you were essentially... I don't know if allowed is the right word. You can tell me, Jason, but it may be even encouraged to have a dialogue with her. Even I think talk back was the word that I heard you say, and I was fascinated by this.
Chase Jarvis (07:20): I think every single person should pay close attention to this because if you are working to capture your voice as a creator, that this is fascinating and important, I'm wondering if you can share that story.
Jason Reynolds (07:31): Yeah. I was raised by this incredibly progressive and creative woman, creative in her parenting. She lived a very pragmatic life outside of that, but a very creative woman when it came to her parenting and the way that she looked at parenting, and the world for that matter. She allowed us, my brother and I, but expressly me to talk back, which is a no, no, for our family dynamics. It's the whole thing like, well, I'm your mother, well, I'm your dad. I say the thing and you do what I tell you to do, and that's that.
Jason Reynolds (08:08): I don't want to poo-poo on that. I think that there is something about that that's probably pretty healthy in certain ways too. For my mother, she felt like it was totally okay for me to disagree with anything she said to me. Not only was it okay, it was human, it was healthy. It meant that I had my own mind, which is what she was raising me to have. You can't raise a child to have their own voice and then tell them not to use it as it pertains to you.
Jason Reynolds (08:42): My mother would say things to me like, "Oh, I'm upset with you because you did this, that, and the third." I was allowed to say and encouraged to say, "Well, yes, I did that, but I don't know if the way that you're disciplining me is fair. I think you're being a little harsh or I feel like you're talking to me in a way that I'm not sure is warranted." In my six-year-old language. My mother would take a beat and she'd say, "Well, I agree or I disagree."
Jason Reynolds (09:12): I would sometimes still be in trouble. Then other times she'd say, "You know what? You're right. Maybe I have been a little harsh or maybe I am being a bit mean because I'm tired from work because of the things adults have to handle that kids don't always... That it's not always fair that they bear the brunt of." Or she'd say, "Well, look, argue your case, state your point, but if you state your point, you got to state it confidently.
Jason Reynolds (09:34): If you're going to argue with me, you're going to debate me on this with something that I'm calling you out on, then you got to lift your chin and roll your shoulders. You got to say that thing like you mean it. Make me believe you." This is the way that we communicated in my household. I'll tell you, Chase, the beauty of it as I got older is that I believed that my voice belonged in any room that I was in. Not only did I believe that, but I was unwilling to let anyone muzzle it.
Jason Reynolds (10:06): I think sometimes when we tell kids that they're not allowed to talk back or that they can't ask inappropriate questions, what we do is we subconsciously and implicitly and explicitly for that matter, muzzle their curiosities, let alone their humanity.
Chase Jarvis (10:27): What a gift.
Jason Reynolds (10:28): What a gift.
Chase Jarvis (10:31): I mean, I'm not a parent, so I'm the funcle. I'm the fun uncle for everybody.
Jason Reynolds (10:36): Me too. Yeah.
Chase Jarvis (10:36): It's a great role.
Jason Reynolds (10:37): Me too. Shout out to the fun uncles, man.
Chase Jarvis (10:41): Shout out to all the fun uncles out there. I don't think I've ever heard of someone being parented like that. Maybe implicitly or subtly that subtext may have existed in a relationship between a parent, but never overtly. Like if you are going to talk back, that's fine, but we're going to have a conversation and you have to state your point clearly.
Chase Jarvis (11:10): How do you feel like that's rippled through your life today in addition to just knowing that you belong in whatever room you're in and your voice? First of all, is that something that you would encourage... There's parents listening right now, for sure. I mean, is that a slippery slope? Is there advice to give or is it all upside for the child?
Jason Reynolds (11:31): I personally think it's all upside if it's framed around respect, not just the child respecting you, but also you respecting the child. My mother made it very clear, "Remember, I'm your mom. You could say whatever you need to say, but remember, you're talking to your mother. I am your mother." There was never any blurring of the line when it came to her role in my life. It wasn't like, "Oh, I'm going to come down and try to pretend to be more of your friend."
Jason Reynolds (12:00): It was like, "No, no, no, I'm your mother, but that doesn't mean that you're any less of a human because of this archetype of our relationship. You're still a person with a range of emotions and feelings." I would encourage any parent to try this and to do this. I think that as long as you frame it around and you couch it in respect, I respect you, you respect me. If there's something you want to say, you can say it. If you want to disagree, you can disagree.
Jason Reynolds (12:26): Now, I also have the right to not change my mind, but you can definitely express yourself. Why would we try to stop this? What does this look like? How does this help me in my life beyond knowing that I'm a person and I'm a person all the time and I can be a person in any space I'm in any room I'm in, and I can agree or disagree? I think it has also helped me process my emotions. It's taught me to process my thoughts.
Jason Reynolds (12:52): It's taught me to really distill and synthesize what's happening in my body, what's happening in my mind without fear that the way I feel is shameful or silly or sophomoric. I don't feel that way, ever. I feel like my feelings are my feelings. It's that simple, but that's because my mother gave me space to feel and to express the fact that my feelings are my feelings. You can feel how you feel, son. Say what you need to say to me and feel how you need to feel.
Jason Reynolds (13:34): If I think that you have stated a case that should be overturned, I will overturn it out of respect and love for you. If I feel that as your mother, I have to hold the line here, I will explain that to you and I'll hold the line, and we'll engage as people. If we could take that and do that everywhere, Chase, the world would be a better place.
Chase Jarvis (13:57): This is what I'm thinking. My mind is just like... This is like the highest order of human existence right here. How did that manifest in your relationship with your mom and others? The way that I'm actually excavating... My goal with this line of questions is excavating how you have been able to stand in your space and put the kind of work out there in the world that is progressive and different and confident.
Chase Jarvis (14:28): These are all attributes that I think any creator, entrepreneur, anyone who wants to build something and put it out in the world, these are the fundamental building blocks. I'm trying to excavate how you got this.
Jason Reynolds (14:43): Yeah. I think between the two of us, my mother and I, I think I also watched it create... Those moments created glue for us. Those moments were the adhesive that bonded us. It's an amazing thing to not fear your parents. It's an amazing thing to love them. My mother always taught me, she said, "Jason, the decisions that you make, you must make out of love and never fear." Which means that even the conversations that I have with my mother are conversations out of love and not fear.
Jason Reynolds (15:15): Imagine not having to fear your parent. I get to just love them. I get to make a decision and say the thing that I'm going to say, and yes, there may be some frustration there, but there's no fear. There's no fear. That becomes an adhesive that binds a relationship, which means that I have a very early example of how relationships are formed. Relationships are formed through intimacy. Relationships are formed through trust and communication, through giving of one's self, trusting that the person's going to be able to hold it.
Jason Reynolds (15:46): I think when I write my books and I do my work, that's all I'm ever thinking about. I live by three very simple rules that I got out of those conversations with my mother, humility, intimacy, and gratitude. If I can put those things in a book, then they will connect with people in the same way that if I can put them in the conversations between my mother and I, they will connect the two of us. If I can give them to you, Chase, in this moment, they will connect the two of us.
Jason Reynolds (16:10): It's a very simple... Humans, we're actually not that complicated. You give me a little, I give you a little. Now, usually we think about giving as bartering goods and things of that nature. No, no, no. If I give you a little of me, then you'll feel more comfortable of giving me a little of you. If I'm humble enough to apologize, then you'll be confident enough in my humility to trust me. If I value you enough, simply by your existence to be grateful for you, then you will feel big in the world and be grateful for me.
Jason Reynolds (16:52): It's basic. To me, this is easy math. These are all the things that were happening at the kitchen table at my mother's house as a child, as we suss out whether or not I agree or with what she's trying to teach me.
Chase Jarvis (17:08): All right. Here's the big leap. I get that at the dinner table in an area of trust, communication, value, love, empathy, all these words, your connection, all these words you've used, but little Jason has to go to school.
Jason Reynolds (17:25): Sure.
Chase Jarvis (17:27): How does the rest of... Or how do those values stand up? Weather? How do they affect you in life? You show up and you can talk back to the adults in your life and you stand in your voice, and from what I understand, you were a couple of years ahead in school, so you were smaller, younger.
Jason Reynolds (17:55): Yeah.
Chase Jarvis (17:56): I'm seeing some setup for some problems.
Jason Reynolds (18:00): Yeah. And they came, but I think my mother... It's interesting, because those problems did come. I dealt with all the things that one deals with, whether it be the bullies and then you have to adjust and so you become something that you're not just to stave the bullies off. I wasn't that good and I struggled in my grades, discipline stuff. I mean, you go through all those things.
Jason Reynolds (18:30): But I think that the other thing about my mom and those conversations and teaching me all that stuff is that you also learn to adjust and to adapt. Because in order for you to argue your point, one has to be able to think pretty quickly because it's not like my mom wasn't offering me rebuttals. One has to learn to critically think. You have to adjust. You have to pivot and adapt. I think most of my life has been just that.
Jason Reynolds (18:56): I think that until, I mean, seventh grade or eighth grade, I think it was when you get to middle school. I was being teased for all these reasons. My mother was trying to stop the teasing so she trying to buy me name brand clothing. You do all the stuff. The signals of whatever the currency of cool is, you try to figure out how to drape yourself in those things to keep the boogeyman away. Even though the boogeyman, they're all the same insecure kids that I was. It's just a weird pecking order that's created, you know?
Chase Jarvis (19:30): Yeah.
Jason Reynolds (19:31): My mom tries to do that because she loves me and wants to protect me from that stuff. Then eighth grade came and I was like, "Eh, I don't really want to do all that anymore. I don't want to wear all that." Fortitude already there. Enough fortitude to tell my mother, "You don't have to spend your money on this. I don't need these things. What's going to happen is I'm going to go into the school this year and I'm going to be myself. Then I'm going to let them laugh. Then eventually they'll stop laughing. Then they'll copy me."
Jason Reynolds (20:01): That's what they did. My mother's just the sort of woman who was like, "Okay." I mean, she knew who she raised. She would tell me... When I got to high school, it got worse. She would tell me like, "Look, kid, you out in the street all night. You doing the things that you do." I was still a regular teenage boy. I tell the story, not to exceptionalize myself. I was still a knucklehead teenage boy who got into all the things that knucklehead teenage boys get into all of them. The good, bad and the ugly.
Jason Reynolds (20:27): My mother would say, "Yeah, but I gave you a constitution. I gave you fortitude early in your life." Her prayer was always that like, "Look, just make it home." Because she always knew that at the end of the day, I would mature and grow up and you work through it but the foundation was so strong. She knew that there was only so far I would go, that there was no pressure, there was no peer pressure strong enough to push me over the line.
Jason Reynolds (20:52): She was right. I would get to the line, for sure, but I was always like, "Nah." And I knew how to express myself. I knew how to say, "Nah, I'm not interested." I knew how to say, "Nah, I'm afraid. That scares me. I don't want to do that." I could say that to my friends, and because my friends were all being raised by this same woman, because my mom's house was the community house, they knew who I was and how I moved and how I spoke and how we got down.
Jason Reynolds (21:17): When I expressed anxiety, my friends who were raised by the same woman were like, "Well, Jay don't do that. It's cool. He not going to do it." I never had to worry about having to put on fake faces and false armor. I never had to do all of that, thankfully, because she affected the whole community.
Chase Jarvis (21:37): Again, I'm excavating this because I think this has to be so core to what has made your work, I don't know, numerous New York Times bestsellers. How many? 14/15 books? What do you got now?
Jason Reynolds (21:49): I think 17. Yeah, 17.
Chase Jarvis (21:51): You lose track after a dozen. I mean-
Jason Reynolds (21:53): Yeah. 17. It's up there. It's up there, man. I don't know.
Chase Jarvis (21:57): Well, to be that prolific. I think these building blocks, this is why I'm so interested in your past. I'm aware that there was some anxiety in your childhood, even as an adult. I think I've heard you talk a little bit about it. But I think my understanding of your interpretation of that is fascinating. I'm wondering if you can share a little bit of that with our listeners and watchers.
Jason Reynolds (22:30): I never had a name for my anxiety until I was 25. I had it my whole life and I think it... So the other part about my mom and my family, I was raised by a bunch of women and they were a bunch of Southern Black women raised in a very tough time, as I'm sure you can imagine. My mom is 76 so she lived through all the things. Because of that, though she was really progressive in certain ways, and in most ways, she also was hardened by life in a lot of other ways.
Jason Reynolds (23:09): All of her sisters and their children, which are all women, nieces and cousins who all raised me, the youngest one, who was a very sensitive boy. A lot of my life was trying to figure out how to avoid the wrath of my household, let alone the wrath from outside of it. Yes, my mom and I had this lovely thing, but she could just as easily... She understood this. She understood this and she tried her best not to lean into it, but she understood that it only took a look to break me down.
Jason Reynolds (23:44): It only took... My mom telling me she disappointed in me was brutal, was brutal for me because of this empathetic nature that I had back as a child and still have as an adult. My anxiety with the way I think about my anxiety is that it's rooted in my empathy. It's rooted in my ability to feel, to feel my feelings and to feel the feelings around me. I mean, the reason I even started writing is because I heard my mother crying when I was 10 years old for the first time, because her mother had died.
Jason Reynolds (24:24): I could not bear the sound of my mother wailing in the bathroom, my ear to the door. I'd never heard anything like it. I can still remember the way it felt in my own body to hear my mother cry. Chemically changing. I started to write. I wrote a few words hopefully to make her feel better. She printed those words on the funeral program. That was the beginning of this whole thing.
Jason Reynolds (24:50): It's always been rooted in the feelings, in my own emotions and any emotions of the people around me, but it is caused... That is coming out of an anxious place or whatever we call anxiety. As I've gotten older, I've learned to wield it differently. I've learned to understand it differently. I know that pang I get in my stomach. I know what it is. It's like my spidey sense.
Jason Reynolds (25:15): I know that it means that I feel something good or bad or something that is possible or something that might be coming or that I'm on the phone or talking to a friend who's going through a tough time and I can carry that weight with me. It's not always a healthy thing. I got therapists and medicine and all the things to keep me on a level because nobody deserves to carry all that weight, but I see it as more of a blessing than a burden.
Jason Reynolds (25:43): I feel like it makes me one of the most human of the humans and I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful for it. I manage it but I'm grateful for it because it allows me the ability to teleport into an 11-year-old space, the ability to teleport into a 14-year-old dealing with his own insecurities, a 16-year-old trying to figure out sexuality. It basically gives me my own emotional and mental spaceship to go anywhere in the emotional galaxy of our children. Who am I to shun it?
Chase Jarvis (26:25): I think this is fascinating. It was one of the core things I wanted to learn from you today. I think this is a helpful narrative because you can read the studies, anxiety at an all-time high, and whether that's just a diagnosis and it's been this way forever, or it really is a more anxious time, I think it's probably connected to how fast information moves today, relative to all previous times on the planet.
Chase Jarvis (26:57): How do you manage it? Because right now there's someone who's listening, they're on a walking trail, somewhere on the subway. They're like, "I would love to be able to look at my anxiety in the way that Jason Reynolds looks at his."
Jason Reynolds (27:15): Yeah.
Chase Jarvis (27:15): Help us.
Jason Reynolds (27:16): Well, I don't pretend to have those answers, man, but first of all, I think it's okay to not look at it the way I look at mine. I think it's okay to say that this is a severe mental difference that has caused me some turmoil. Not everybody's going to see it as a superpower and honestly, not everybody has to. The reason why I want to make sure I say that is because sometimes I think by trying to upend our stuff, we sometimes can come across as a bit flippant because people are really struggling.
Jason Reynolds (27:49): I mean, very much so. I'm fortunate that mine isn't as severe as others. Mine is rough, but it isn't... It could be absolutely debilitating. For those people I say you have every right to be upset and frustrated and angry, and angry. It's okay. Like I said earlier, our feelings are our feelings. Our feelings are our feelings. That being said, for me, therapy has been amazing. Figuring out what my triggers are over the years. I know what it is.
Jason Reynolds (28:21): I know what might cause the spiral. I'll tell you, I'll share something with you. God, I hope my mother doesn't hear this because she's going to lose it, but it's okay. We'll just talk about it. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the doctor because I thought I was having a heart attack. I'm 38 years old. I live a fairly healthy lifestyle, considering, but I felt like I was on my way out of here. I get to the doctor and I'm freaking out.
Jason Reynolds (29:05): The doctor says, "Okay. Jason, you're not having a heart attack." That's the first thing he says, he's like, "Look, first thing first, you're not having a heart attack." He said, "Honestly, dude, you know this about yourself. You know your anxiety lives in your belly." Mine lives in my belly. So the gastro issues that my anxiety has caused has now worked its way through other parts of my body. It felt like it was just sitting on my chest.
Jason Reynolds (29:36): He said, "This is coming from the pressure of your life, the stress of your life." He said, "So you have medicine." That I try not to take, but I do have medicine. If I need to, I'll take it. But I've always tried to find other ways to work through it. Me personally. By the way, for those who take medicine, what a gift, what a gift. This is not me. I think medicine is... Because it's all chemical stuff happening in our brain.
Jason Reynolds (30:02): For the medicine takers, please take your meds, please take your meds. Do what works for you. My doctor told me, he said, "Look, here's what we're going to do. I want you to..." First of all, he told me that I could only have two drinks a day from here on out, which for a writer is terrible news. Absolutely-
Chase Jarvis (30:23): I'm just sitting here doing the math like, "Oh, man. I hope I don't go see that doctor."
Jason Reynolds (30:28): Absolutely devastating. Then he also said, he said, "How many days do you exercise?" I said, "I exercise about three to four days a week." He said, "All right, well now it's six to seven." He said, "We're going to push your body so that it frees your mind." That's where I am. Right now I have therapy. I have exercise. I'm taking up fishing because I need to create a disconnect and an escape from... We talk about those books in all the New York Times bestsellers list. But boy, do they come at a tremendous cost. A tremendous cost.
Jason Reynolds (31:08): What everyone else is impressed with is killing me, Chase. It's not normal or natural or sustainable, impressive as it may be. Fishing is the next thing on my docket. I'm going to learn how to do that and take some time to do that. Lastly just do my best to journal and write in my journal and remember what I'm grateful for outside of writing.
Jason Reynolds (31:35): I write for a living, but I'm very careful about calling myself a writer because I don't want to attach this thing that I love so much to my identity just in case I have to let it go someday. I journal and I do other things to stay on the level, man. Yeah.
Chase Jarvis (31:51): Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. We got to stop. We got to put a pin in that.
Jason Reynolds (31:54): Yeah.
Chase Jarvis (31:56): What I understand is the identity actually... I think people see that as something that helps them, it orients them. If I can say I am X or Y or Z, and we attach... Some of these labels are false. Some of them are narratives we tell ourselves but we're not really, they're aspirations. But your willingness to not attach your identity to your work.
Jason Reynolds (32:26): No.
Chase Jarvis (32:26): Can you say more about that?
Jason Reynolds (32:28): Yeah. The first time I thought about this was when Whitney Houston died. Whitney Houston's nickname was The Voice. That's what they called her. Her whole life she was called The Voice, and then Whitney Houston through whatever it was, whether it be through abuse or whether it be simply by the natural course of aging, The Voice begins to change. What happens when The Voice can't sing anymore? What darkness lies on the other side of that when all you've ever known yourself to be is The Voice?
Jason Reynolds (33:04): I'm not The Voice. I'm Jason, my mama son, who writes for a living and who writes because he loves it. Not because it is attached to his identity. No, no, no. Because one day I may have nothing else to say. One day I might want to try something. I love furniture, Chase. I might want to become a furniture designer. I might want to put my stories in physical objects. Create new narrative around what it takes to make something from a piece of wood in these hands.
Jason Reynolds (33:39): It might not be words on the page anymore. I love it. Look, I'd be disingenuous if I said to you that I imagine myself quitting. That's not what I'm saying, but what I am saying is that life is funny and unpredictable-
Chase Jarvis (33:55): Funny, weird, not funny ha ha all the time, right?
Jason Reynolds (34:00): Funny, weird, right. Yeah. Funny, weird. I don't want to ever be the person who suddenly cannot do the thing anymore and feels like he lost himself. I don't want to do that, man. We see it happen to athletes all the time. Their whole lives they've been basketball players. Not people, athletes. The moment that the game is over, they don't know who they are. Matter of fact, we see it happen to mothers even more often. Little boy, little girl finally is grown, is going to leave the nest.
Jason Reynolds (34:35): Mom has only been mom. Mom hasn't been herself though for 18/19 years, and now has to figure out who she is all over again. We see it happen. For me, I'm just like, "Let me be a little more preemptive and thoughtful and self-aware about the realities of that and be very careful about how I talk about myself as it pertains to this work." I do this as a, this is what I do, this is not who I am.
Chase Jarvis (35:04): Who are you then? You said, "I'm my mama's son." Is that based on all the effective programming that you have? I could see how that would work for you, but leave others feeling vapid because so many people are just an accumulation of all the things that they've done. What is, in your mind, a healthy construct for who we are, if we are not a writer, a photographer, a designer, entrepreneur?
Chase Jarvis (35:40): I mean, I think I know, but I don't know if I have the courage to just stand in that as my thing. That sounds scary as hell.
Jason Reynolds (35:50): Hey, man. I think-
Chase Jarvis (35:54): Ego. Ego, bro.
Jason Reynolds (35:56): Oh, oh, oh, massive. That's a very real thing. I think for me, I am who I am most in the shower. I always think about this all the time. I think about this all the time. Like, who are we? Who are we? Who you are in the shower, that's who you are. In the shower I feel like... I think about this all the time. I'm a person who is detail-oriented. I'm a person who doesn't take himself very seriously. I'm a person who loves to hear his own voice, for better or for worse.
Jason Reynolds (36:41): I'm a person who needs and values and requires relaxation. I think about the shower all the time as a metaphor of perhaps our personal identities in its most distilled form. Is it the only way? Of course not, but the concept or the idea is like, who are you when no one is there? Who are you? Because if you're asking me, I'm all sorts of people. I'm an amalgamation of many, many things and many, many people and many, many places.
Jason Reynolds (37:07): Every single thing that I've ever experienced has stuck on me and has stuck in me. Most of those things have nothing to do with my work. I am the kid who tried to figure out how to pop a wheelie at six years old. I'm the kid whose parents split, but he got to watch his parents remain friends. I'm the kid who wanted to be his father, because his father was a bad boy, and who wanted to be his mother because his mother was a professional person and seemed to have a grasp on a spirituality that no one else seemed to understand.
Jason Reynolds (37:38): I'm the kid who was very, very, very popular for good reasons and bad reasons as a very young person and therefore, had to contest and deal with his ego, much younger than most people would have to. I was on the cover of the Washington Post when I was like 15. You're dealing with ego. You're dealing-
Chase Jarvis (38:00): Unchecked.
Jason Reynolds (38:02): Oh, it's wild. You're dealing with ego very early and so you know the ugliness of it all very, very early in life. You run from it for the rest of your life. You work hard to try to run away from it for the rest of your life. I'm all of those things. Writing is a very small part of that when I really think about it. As a matter of fact, the only reason the writing exists is because I'm telling all the stories from all of that stuff. Without who I am, the writing don't exist.
Jason Reynolds (38:29): We take the thing that means the least and strap it to ourselves as if it's the most, when really the only reason it exists in the first place is because the actual most makes it so. That's who I am. That's who we all are. Chase Jarvis is not Chase Jarvis because of the podcast and his ability to ask questions. Chase Jarvis is Chase Jarvis, who is the person who is curious enough to even start a podcast in the first place.
Chase Jarvis (39:00): I'm going to have to go away and get back to you on that one. That's some heavy shit.
Jason Reynolds (39:08): [inaudible 00:39:08].
Chase Jarvis (39:08): I like the shower bit too. Who are you in the shower? Nothing. You don't have any clothes on, even.
Jason Reynolds (39:15): Exactly. You don't even have any clothes on. We do all sorts of things in the shower that people don't know, Chase, all of us.
Chase Jarvis (39:21): Secret life.
Jason Reynolds (39:22): We have secret lives. As my mother used to say, there are three lives that every individual has. Your public, your private and your secret. It's that secret one we try to pretend don't exist, but that's who we are.
Chase Jarvis (39:31): That's amazing fertile ground for storytelling. You've done that so, so effectively. Makes me want to point to recent work, Ain't Burned All the Bright. I don't even know what that is. I mean, can you try and describe it? I mean, this is a very seductive piece of art. It's collaboration between yourself and a buddy, Jason Griffin. How do you describe it to... I mean, we're on a podcast here.
Chase Jarvis (40:07): We're like people are either listening to us... Maybe some people are going to watch this, but how do you explain what it is? I mean, it's in a book form. It's a package, but I've heard you describe it as three long run-on sentences, but I [inaudible 00:40:26]-
Jason Reynolds (40:26): That's what it is. That's what it is. That's what it is in form, three run-on sentences, mashed up against a landscape of hundreds and hundreds of pieces of art. I've been thinking about ways to describe it. Music makes the most sense. We usually use jazz as our metaphor, but I actually think this is more of an orchestral suite, to think of it as an orchestral suite. To think of it as movements, three different movements of a symphony.
Jason Reynolds (40:59): The first sentence or the first movement of the symphony is all about the murder of George Floyd, the racial uprising of 2020, young people who are crying out, the constant turning over of the racial reckoning in this country. The constant retelling of that painful soil. It's sweeping and it's personal and it's narrative and it's rooted in a family. It feels familiar, it feels distant. It feels sometimes a little too close. It's all these sorts of things. It's a movement.
Jason Reynolds (41:40): The second movement, the second part of the suite sort of winds and weaves through the melee that was COVID. It talks about a father who is coughing, the same family, same group of people. It's a father and he's coughing and he has COVID and it's all about trying to figure out how to love and care for a person that I can no longer touch.
Jason Reynolds (42:07): Then the final suite, the coda of the symphony is all about basically that these two things amongst other things like the LA wildfires and all sorts of things in 2020, that these things were all... That they were all attacking our respiratory systems. Whether it be the tear gas in the street or the way that George Floyd was murdered, whether it be what COVID was actually doing, which was attacking the lung. For 2020 and 2021, we were all suffocating.
Jason Reynolds (42:35): We were suffocating physically. We were suffocating emotionally. We were suffocating socially. Air was being stripped from us in every single way. The question was, where does one find an oxygen mask? The coda of this symphony, this last sort of bit of this suite, this last movement is all about where one finds an oxygen mask. The answer that we all realize, and hopefully at least many of us in 2020 and 2021, is that the true beauty in our lives, were in the boring bits.
Jason Reynolds (43:08): That what a gift it is to give a hug to someone you love, something we took for granted. What a gift it is to shake somebody's hand. I don't want to give fist bumps. I'm not interested in closing my hand to greet you. That doesn't do it for me. What it means to walk around with... To see a person smile, a very small detail that we've been robbed of for two years and how that's where our oxygen is.
Jason Reynolds (43:38): Now we know that, we can perhaps start to give ourselves a bit more of it or at least pay attention to it differently as time goes on. That's what it is, man. I mean, it's a trip. I'm grateful to have made the thing. I don't know if I thought it would be what it became, but that's the beauty of art, right?
Chase Jarvis (43:58): Pure genius.
Jason Reynolds (43:59): Thank you.
Chase Jarvis (44:00): So, so fascinating. I have not heard you describe it like that before. I've listened and watched and read a lot of stuff. That's very, very, very-
Jason Reynolds (44:07): I've never had. That's a new one. That's for you, Chase. That's a new one.
Chase Jarvis (44:13): Speaking of gratitude, grateful, I want to shape the last piece of our conversation around. There were a couple of people besides your parents that I understood were impactful for you. I want to understand this and have you talk a little bit about it because it seems profound. It seems like we all have these people in our lives. We ought to look for them and pay attention to them and also try to become them for others.
Chase Jarvis (44:44): These are a couple of teachers that you mentioned. One was the first person who saw potential in your writing. The second was a person that you described him in such a way as almost evil genius. I'm hoping you could close the description of these two people and the roles that they played for you with the story of the fish.
Jason Reynolds (45:10): Yeah. I had this teacher, Ms. Blaufuss. This was 10th grade English. I took her class. I remember the first day... Because she was young. She was probably 25, gosh, 24/25, fresh out of Princeton and was teaching this class. I knew from the very first day that I had to get out of that class. I remember going home and sitting with mom. I walked in the door and my mom's at the kitchen table. I say, "You got to transfer me out of this class. There's no way you can let me stay."
Jason Reynolds (45:46): She's like, "Why?" I'm like, "This teacher is so mean and I cannot do it. She's too strict. She's too rigid." I just didn't like anything that was restrictive in any way. I'm just like, "She's too hard, she's too..." All the things that teenagers whine about. My mother's like, "Eh, nah, I don't know if that's a good enough reason for me to transfer you out of the class, Jason." I'm like, "Why would you want me to be in a class with a teacher this mean? Why would you want me to go through this?"
Jason Reynolds (46:13): She's like, "Jason, I just don't..." As we work it out together, she's like, "I just don't think that your argument is compelling enough for me to transfer you out of the class just because she's difficult. It's the first day. You haven't even had any class."
Chase Jarvis (46:32): You know. You can recognize these people. You're like, "Oh, God, this is going to be tough." You feel like [inaudible 00:46:37].
Jason Reynolds (46:36): Oh my goodness. Now, by the end of this semester, having stuck it out, she ended up becoming a tremendous gift. She was the first teacher to recognize that I had any kind of ability as a writer. She was the first teacher to... And I didn't do good in her class. I didn't do well in her class. I probably got like a C or something like that, C minus, who knows? But she would always give me my papers back and she'd tell me what I did right.
Jason Reynolds (47:09): She'd tell me what she saw in the work, even though I didn't get a good grade, and she'd say like, "You didn't get a good grade because you don't follow directions, but your ability, I can recognize you have talent. You just want to do what you want to do. You don't want to follow my directions. You want to write what you want to write. You want to write it how you want to write it. But it would be destructive for me to not at least tell you that you have something."
Jason Reynolds (47:34): As a matter of fact, she saw it so clearly that she even started a creative writing class halfway through the year actually and only took eight students that she wanted to work with, myself being one of them, and gave a special instruction to help us learn all the different poetic forms and all sorts of things that I will forever be grateful for.
Jason Reynolds (47:57): As a matter of fact, she even told my mother at a football game or something, homecoming or something, she said, "Look, and when he starts applying for colleges, try to get him into a school with a good writing program. Whatever it is, he's got the thing." I'll always be grateful for-
Chase Jarvis (48:13): Wow.
Jason Reynolds (48:13): Yeah. She lives down the street from me. She's still a very good friend of mine. As a matter of fact, for all of you who are listening, if you've read Spider-Man, she's the teacher. I mean, her name is even in there. Ms. Blaufuss, the teacher.
Chase Jarvis (48:26): That's right.
Jason Reynolds (48:27): Yeah. Yeah. Who's teaching a poetry lesson and all of that. Yeah. That is the real Ms. Blaufuss, a gift that I'll never be able to repair her. Then the second teacher was Mr. Williams. Mr. Williams who's also still a very good friend of mine, he was unlike any human I've never met. Not just a teacher, like I've never met a person like Mr. Williams. He looked different than everybody. He had a stark white bull cut and he wore-
Chase Jarvis (49:01): Flattering description of-
Jason Reynolds (49:02): But he also had a-
Chase Jarvis (49:03): Does he know you're talking about him like this?
Jason Reynolds (49:05): Yes, yes, yes. He knows. A stark white bull cut. He had an earring. He always was pretty clean shaving. He wore like a button-up shirt with these weird ties and he wore sneakers. He would find old Jordans in thrift stores and all kind of stuff. He was just a strange... He wore bracelets and rings and he was sort of an eccentric... Not even sort of, he was an eccentric man. He had this incredible voice that was... Yeah. I don't know.
Jason Reynolds (49:38): He was just different, Chase. He was different in lots of ways. One day in class... He taught a class called global studies. As a matter of fact, the first day of class, the first thing you learn is the word ethnocentric. What does it mean to be ethnocentric? Right? This is the first thing you learn.
Chase Jarvis (49:57): Wow.
Jason Reynolds (49:57): I always tell people, this is the man who taught me how to be a human in the world.
Chase Jarvis (50:02): Wow.
Jason Reynolds (50:03): My mom gave me the tools to have an internal humanity, but this is the man who taught me how to be a human in the world. I'll never forget it. Ethnocentricity. What does that mean? That one sees themselves and their ethnicity as the center point of the world when really, obviously that there are many, many cultures that are different, and how dangerous it is to be ethnocentric. This is what he taught us at the beginning.
Jason Reynolds (50:27): I mean, he fed us crickets because he wanted us to know that somewhere in the world, this is a cuisine. This is the delicacy. He showed us slides of his travels around Mogadishu and Rwanda and Shanghai. I mean, this dude was just... We had never known anyone who had done what he'd done and been where he'd been and seen what he'd seen. He took a liking to us.
Jason Reynolds (50:51): He loved teaching and he wanted to give that to a whole bunch of little Black kids most of whom never left their neighborhoods. One day we come to class and he has a fish. He says, "This is going to be the class pet." Now, for context, this is my senior year. We're like, "We past the class pet phase in our lives."
Chase Jarvis (51:12): Yeah. That's like sixth grade shit right there.
Jason Reynolds (51:15): Yeah. That's very young. Right. Right. We're like, "Bro, we don't need no class pet, but okay." He's like, "Nah, nah, just humor me. This is your class pet. I need you all to name it." We name it Confucius. I don't know why, but we do. We feed it every day and he says, "I want you to feed it, but here's the deal. I don't want you to ever put your hands in this tank.
Jason Reynolds (51:35): If you put your hands in the tank or if you touch the fish, no matter what the reason is, if you touch this fish... Because I know how teenagers can be. If you touch this fish, then you're going to be suspended. No questions asked. Don't touch the fish. No fingers on the fish." "Okay. Mr. Williams, whatever you say." A month goes by-
Chase Jarvis (51:55): [inaudible 00:51:55].
Jason Reynolds (51:55): Yeah, of course. Like whatever. Some time goes by a month or so. He comes to class and he walks over to that tank and he takes the fish out of the tank and he puts it on the floor. He does it so matter of factly that nobody knows what to do or what to say or what to think, but we all get up and we're moaning and groaning. We're wondering what in the world he's thinking. He just stands there and watches, as we gather around the fish and the fish is flopping and gasping for air and we're watching this fish die.
Jason Reynolds (52:22): Finally, after a few seconds, that felt like minutes, these two young ladies go and they scoop up the fish and they toss it back in the tank and the fish survives. We're like, "Whew, thankfully, that was a close one." Mr. Williams, as calm as can be, looks at those two young ladies and he says, "All right, well, the two of you know, get your backpacks and head on down to the principal's office because you're suspended." They're like, "We're suspended for what? We just saved the fish. Why are we suspended? What did we do wrong?"
Jason Reynolds (52:50): He said, "Well, the rules are the rules. I told you long time ago that if you put your fingers on the fish, if you touch the fish, for whatever reason, that unfortunately you would be punished. There would be disciplinary action. You are suspended. Don't bother fighting me on it. Just head on down to the principal's office." They're cussing him out. They're angry, the whole thing.
Jason Reynolds (53:11): He sticks his head out the door and he says, "But hold your heads up because you did the right thing. But sometimes doing the right thing has consequences." The rest of us had to sit in class, myself especially, I can only speak for me, I sat there with the cowardice churning in my stomach and I vowed to always save the fish from here on out. I think about that story all the time, a few times a week, at least.
Jason Reynolds (53:42): That every day of my life is a day where I'm probably going to have to make the decision to save the fish. I also think about it because the two girls who saved the fish are indicative of the world we live in. It is always the girls who save the fish.
Chase Jarvis (53:54): Always women.
Jason Reynolds (53:55): It is always the women in our lives and in our world who sacrifice their bodies and their comfort, who sacrificed their freedom for the betterment of the rest of us and they rarely get any credit for it. Those are the things that I think about. Those are the things that he taught me. I'll tell you one quick, funny thing about him and I'll shut up. But I saw him recently. I went to his beach house which he spends all summer at. He's retired now. He's still the same old troublemaker.
Jason Reynolds (54:28): I'm down there. We're on the beach, man. We're sitting there chilling, having a couple of drinks and reminiscing. He said, "You know Jason..." He's very, very shy. Very modest. He hates the fact that I've told the story, that so many people around the world know this story. He's very modest. He said, "You know Jason, I've been meaning to talk to you to tell you that recently..." Maybe a couple years ago, somebody came to see him. This is before he quit school, before he retired, someone came to see him, a young lady.
Jason Reynolds (54:57): They walk in this classroom and they're catching up. She says, "I have something to show you." She pulled out the disciplinary referral that she kept. This is not the one from my class. This is from some other class, some other person who's gone through the fish. She pulls it out and says, "I was one of the ones who saved the fish." And kept the referral. The suspension referral kept it all those years. I was one of the ones who saved the fish. Could you imagine? He said he cried and he just got emotional.
Chase Jarvis (55:34): Yeah. I got my hair is standing up on my whole body.
Jason Reynolds (55:38): It's amazing. It's amazing. Shout out to Mr. Williams, Dr. Chris, as he goes by now, for teaching me the value and sacrifice, for teaching me... I'll tell you one last thing, Chase, that ties this all together. It's about my upbringing again, but this time it's not about my mother and what she taught me. It's about my father and what he taught me and what he used to say to round this all out. What he used to say is, "When it comes time to give, make sure to give the things that you want, never the things that you don't want."
Jason Reynolds (56:13): He said, "The reason why is because if you give the things you want and not the things you don't want, then you will know the difference between empathy and sympathy. You will know the difference between sacrifice and charity." When I think about saving the fish, When I think about giving of myself, when I think about laying it on the line and giving the things that I want, which is my time and my freedom and my comfort, I will think about my mother and my father and Mr. Williams for the rest of my life.
Chase Jarvis (56:51): We have the courage to save the fish. That is such a powerful... I don't know how you can experience that and not have that stay with you forever.
Jason Reynolds (57:06): Forever.
Chase Jarvis (57:08): Wow. Well, thank you for doing the work to save the fish, putting it on the line. I think it's incredibly inspirational how you've decided to spend your time and your perspective it's very unique. It feels just welcoming. I'm grateful for you and the work you put out in the world. Thank you so much for spending time with us. Again, you've got 17 books. We've already established that. Most recently, Ain't Burned All the Bright. Staggering worker genius and highly, highly recommended.
Chase Jarvis (57:49): Is there anywhere else you want us to go to pay attention to your work, Jason? This community is really supportive of the creators that we have on the show. We'll be buying book that came out earlier this year and others. Anywhere else you'd want to point us to stay connected?
Jason Reynolds (58:05): Yeah. Yeah. You can find me on all the things @JasonReynolds83. My website is jasonreynoldsbooks. Oh, no, it's not. It's jasonwritesbooks, I think. [inaudible 00:58:13]. Who knows? I think it's jasonwritesbooks.com. I don't know, man. But stick out with Mr. [inaudible 00:58:26]. Chase, I appreciate you giving me a couple minutes of your time and allowing me a moment to share some space with you.
Chase Jarvis (58:33): So grateful. I would like to take a minute to acknowledge the audience. Thanks again for paying attention. Please dig into Jason works, totally extraordinary. I'm again, grateful. I'm looking forward to the next piece of work and until then, and to everybody out there in the world from both Jason and I, we bid you all a good day.
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