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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Remembering Maya Angelou

"People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But, people will never how you made them feel." ~Dr. Maya Angelou

I was working at the library when the reference librarian announced at 10 this morning that Maya Angelou has died. It's with such sadness that I am writing this because she was a favorite of mine. I loved her poetry; the emotion and truth that she put into her writing. It inspires me. I remember reading her autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," in 2004 when I was in 9th grade. She recounts her rape, her pregnancy as a 17 year old (not by the rape) and how she got through that time in her life. According to Wikipedia, Angelou said while working on "Caged Bird", "Beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou used the same "writing ritual"[16] for many years. She would wake early in the morning and check into a hotel room, where the staff was instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She would write on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to playsolitaireRoget's Thesaurus, and the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She would average 10–12 pages of written material a day, which she edited down to three or four pages in the evening.[95][note 16] Angelou went through this process to "enchant" herself, and as she said in a 1989 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, "relive the agony, the anguish, the Sturm und Drang."[97] She placed herself back in the time she wrote about, even traumatic experiences like her rape in Caged Bird, in order to "tell the human truth"[97] about her life. Angelou stated that she played cards in order to get to that place of enchantment and in order to access her memories more effectively. She stated, "It may take an hour to get into it, but once I'm in it—ha! It's so delicious!"[97] She did not find the process cathartic; rather, she found relief in 'telling the truth.'"

Maya Angelou will sorely be missed not only by the writing community, but by the whole world. Throughout her life she advocated for peace and justice; we should all strive towards service for others as well as ourselves. Rest easy, Dr. Angelou, and spread your beautiful wings with the other angels.


  1. I was surprised when my brother told me this afternoon about Maya Angelou's death. Such a loss. :(

    1. I was really surprised when the reference librarian announced it. That made me really sad. :( I know she had been ill the past few days, but I didn't realize that ill. I aspire to be the writer and person she was. Between her and nan. :D