Books · Life · Writing

My #WCW – Maya Angelou

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I am going to try out a new kind of post discussing my #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday – a woman crush is one of my heroes or a person I admire).

When I was 11 years old, I was a girl without a hero.  For a portion of an autobiographical essay I had to write, I was supposed to discuss my heroes / role models.  I honestly didn’t have any at the time.  I was in the awkward zone between being a child and being a teenager, so I no longer related to the people I used to admire.  I wrote about how I didn’t want to be like anyone around me nor like any of the people I saw on TV.  I’m sure I also gave reasons for this.  This alarmed my teacher, who reported this my mother.  My mother probably didn’t care since she already knew me to be a stubborn little mule, who did not follow the standards everyone thought I should follow.  My teacher probably imagined me dropping out school to be an addict / gang banger.

I found a role model the moment I saw Maya Angelou recite her poem, “On The Pulse Of Morning,” at Bill Clinton’s inauguration.  She was as powerful and elegant as her words were.  This sparked an interest in writing again.  I used to churn out short stories and a few poems in elementary school, but now I wanted to be a writer like Dr. Angelou.  I devoured her book I Know Why The Cage Sings.  I watched the movie Poetic Justice, which featured several of her poems until I had them memorized.  I performed “Caged Bird” for an assignment in 8th grade and I still remember parts of the poem.  Most of all, she inspired me to write.  I filled a 3-subject notebook with poems that summer, all in an attempt to come close to the greatness of Dr. Angelou’s poetry.

Dr. Angelou is still one of my heroes to this day.  I feel like she had a greater understanding of life than most people do. I said recently that I wish she was still here, so that she could speak up on a situation that was in the news.  I often look to her words when I need a little ray of light.

I will end this post with one of my favorite quotes of hers, “All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”


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