Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Maya & Me & Maya

You know that silly question about who you would dine with--dead or alive-- if you could dine with anyone? My answer is Maya Angelou*. It has been since I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in high school. I fell into a deeply respectful, awed kind of love at first read. Then I read everything she's written. Multiple times.

"Phenomenal Woman"? Empowering.

"And Still I Rise"? Breathtaking.

Those are just two of her poems. Her prose is just as painfully beautiful.

Imagine my delight when I saw that there would be another autobiographical book to add to her stunning collection. And it came out last week!!! Oh my great golly.

I read it in just over a day and I'm not entirely sure why I am just now blogging about it.

I highly recommend it. Angelou discusses her relationship with her mother and a bit about becoming a mother herself. I could relate to it far more than I could have a year ago. Though I don't have nearly the experiences Angelou has had, I do now have a much deeper understanding of all that motherhood entails. No, that's not even remotely true. Let me rephrase: I have a much deeper understanding of some of what motherhood entails. When I'm 85 like Angelou I might be able to say I have a deeper understanding of all that motherhood entails.

Anyway here's a passage I love: "She had my back and supported me. This is the role of the mother, and in that visit I really saw clearly, and for the first time, why a mother is really important. Not just because she feeds and also loves and cuddles and even mollycoddles a child, but because in an interesting and maybe an eerie and unworldly way, she stands in the gap. She stands between the unknown and the known."

Just read that again.

Seriously, do it.

Lovely, isn't it?

While this wasn't my favorite book by her, I did really enjoy it. She could probably write anything and I'd love it. I'm not picky. Or maybe she just always writes lovely things.

Probably the latter.

If you know me in real life you know it isn't the former. I'm pretty picky...

Who would you want to have dinner with?

* It is fortunate I've never been invited to dinner with Maya Angelou because I'd blubber like an idiot and embarrass myself. I'm not cool enough under pressure to survive dinner with someone like her (i.e. my "celebrity hero"). In fact, the thought of it actually happening makes me anxious.

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