What I want to say doesn’t fit into a tweet, quite–but I remember quite clearly what Maya Angelou taught me.
That people’s attempts to obliterate me have no bearing on whether they get to tell my story. I get to tell my story. It’s my story. In time, those people will become merely passing side characters; those violations and cruelties will become events–sometimes, minor events–against the grand narrative of a life’s journey. As a young woman who often both targeted and also had big dreams, this was so important to me.
Also that for an artist, the life’s journey can always hold around the corner unimaginable and astonishing adventures–no matter its small beginnings or even present humble exigencies–sometimes even within those small, banal places.
Maya Angelou’s biographies had the sweep of the female quest narrative (itself a rare occurrence–I mean, who do we get? Alice in Wonderland? Dorothy in Oz?)–but against the backdrop of a real life. The tremendous chutzpah and moxie–courage–that it took for her to tell her own life’s story in that way–will always remain an inspiration.