an evening with maya angelou

{Via Branka Jukic}

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So when my plans for last night fell through the cracks, I wasn’t at all surprised to get call from a friend asking if I wanted to hear Maya Angelou speak with him later.

Is that really a question? Of course, I did! No doubt in my mind, I was supposed to hear her last night.

I’m going to be completely real with you for a second….I don’t read a lot of poetry. Ok, none. I have the utmost respect for the craft, but it’s just never been in my vernacular. But everyone knows Maya Angelou, right? She is by far one of the most influential women of our time.

My friend and I weren’t really sure what to expect of the night. Would she be reading her own work? Was it more of a lecture? Would she teach us something?

Yes.

Yes.

And, yes.

The first thing to come from her lips was a line of song- “When it looked like the sun wasn’t going to shine no more, God put a rainbow in the clouds.” With that one line, the woman already had me in tears. I knew nothing of her really. I didn’t know her past, why she writes or what she had for lunch, but her presence on stage and the delivery from her strong voice caught me off guard in the best way. I thought to myself, “Oh no! Am I going to be crying the whole time?”

Don’t worry; it was only sporadic tears of “Yes! That’s so true.” And when I wasn’t crying, there was a huge smile that wouldn’t leave my face. She’s such a big deal, but she doesn’t act it at all. As she weaved through childhood stories of her brother, grandmother and years of silence, her double chuckle as she made herself laugh was the most endearing bit of her.

As a writer, I learned about the importance of poetry. As a person, I learned how to live a life worth writing. It’s so much that I can’t really dive into what I want to in one post. So here are a couple of her statements that I’ll be thinking about and hopefully will post on later:

“Pave the way for someone else who is yet to come.”

“Let your gratitude for the life you live precede you.”

“You can be anything erratically. But to be something always, you must have courage.”

“You not only have rainbows in your life, you can be someone else’s rainbow.”

PS- I really want to try poetry again. Any suggestions on who to start with?

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1 Comment

Filed under Life

One response to “an evening with maya angelou

  1. Gina Edmonson

    Dani, this is so inspiring…obviously I don’t write, but…I do read,!..last night I was reading Radical…and something spoke to me…he posed the question ~ are we receivers, or reproducers?… do we take something for only ourselves, or receive it in order to give and teach others?..this struck me to think~ it looks like your are definitely a “reproducer” ~ and thank you for that!~..love your blog, and love you~ Aunt G.

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