Yesterday I shed tears upon learning that Dr. Maya Angelou passed away. This legendary woman influenced my desire to become a writer. It was after reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Phenomenal Woman that something clicked inside of me. I thought, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ Here was someone who looked like me and came from humble beginnings, then went on to take the world by storm.
I never had the pleasure of actually meeting Dr. Angelou, although I came close once and it is an experience I will never forget. In January of 2011, she came to a book signing at Barnes and Nobles in Dallas. This B&N was one of the larger ones with two huge floors and a cafe inside. The place was packed. Literally standing room only. We were all there to meet Maya Angelou, and to hear her speak. I wish I had the words to describe how awesome it was to listen to her articulate in that special way she had. When she opened her mouth, even with all of those people there, including children, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was in awe of her! She was so authentic. She wanted to stay and take pictures with everyone, but her health was failing even then. This great lady apologized profusely that she was not well enough to meet all of us individually. She then promised to sign all of our books and mail them to us. And she did. I was thrilled to get my signed copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Reading books and poems by Maya Angelou is like sitting on the lap of your grandmother and listening as she gives you lessons on life and living. I found my own voice through her’s. She has made her transition but her words, which are her beautiful legacy, will live on. May you forever rest in peace, Ms. Maya.
Dr. Maya Angelou
Sunrise~April 4, 1928
Sunset~ May 28, 2014