Dr. Maya Angelou—A Tribute
On May 28th we lost a woman to God who changed our writing world. Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, MO.
What does Dr. Maya Angelou teach us by her life and her writing? She wrote truth and it resonated to our soul.
My first reading of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (1969) was in 1984. It spoke to a truth I experienced growing up in Florida. I saw the remnants of separate drinking fountains and bathrooms, back of building entrances for Negroid persons, and many other racial inequalities.
However, more importantly, what she taught me through her writing was to write words that are REAL and make a writer vulnerable to their readers. That’s how I identified with her and how she motivated me to become a better person and writer. It’s a lesson I carry away from a woman whose life might differ from mine in many respects, yet she and I are human.
A few of her quotes that touched me:
– “Somehow I’m able to get down inside myself, deep where a poem may live and find out what it has to say.”
– “I want to write so well that a person is 30 or 40 pages in a book of mine before she realizes she’s reading.”
– “I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens. Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying, but also something wonderful happens to me. I’m grateful that I’m heard.”
A writer friend of mine, Rebecca Thesman, shared her thoughts: “Write so well that when you die, people will quote you.” Rebecca’s words are a good take-away from the works of celebrated writer—Dr. Maya Angelou, April 4, 1928—May 28, 2014.