If You Read Only One 7,300-Word Story…

If you read only one 7,300-word story this month, make it this one: a superbly crafted piece that Gene Weingarten (pictured) wrote for the Washington Post in April 2007.

The story’s centerpiece was a 43-minute solo performance by Joshua Bell, the world’s preeminent violinist who gamely agreed to play in a most unorthodox setting.

In selecting Weingarten’s piece for the Feature Writing Pulitzer, the Pulitzer Prize Board aptly described the feature as a “chronicling of a world-class violinist who, as an experiment, played beautiful music in a subway station filled with unheeding commuters.”

As a dad, I was especially struck by this portion:

“There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.”

Next time I have this “gotta get there” preoccupation, and one of my kids tugs at me to stop, I think I’ll be more receptive.

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