Saturday, November 3, 2018

On the day of Maya Angelou's passing...

Repost from 5/28/14

This autograph, photo postcard and quick note, written and given to me (she wrote my name!)  from Maya Angelou, will be my forever keepsake. I am an enormous fan of her creativity, beautiful writing, and a unique artistic point of view.  I specifically pursue all opportunities to embrace creativity in my own life and can't seem to stop creating, making, and writing all the time, even when I don't have much to show for all of that effort! I am greatly inspired by her work, philosophy, and work ethic.  She talked about her writing habits; rising early, and immersing herself in her work (often in spare hotel rooms) until at least noon.  After working, she would shower and prepare herself for the social part of her day, sometimes sharing her writing with her husband, inviting no critique from him. I particularly love her commitment to turning off the switch at some point during her day, which is something I have not yet learned to do.

"There's beauty in the patterns of life" is a tagline from a movie in which Maya Angelou was a co-star, about 16 years ago.  "How to Make an American Quilt" was not a great movie, by anyone's definition, but parts of it did speak to me... 

That quote made me think of a post from my old blog, (originally posted November 29, 2007) that begins with the image of my sister's painting, ca. 196...?

I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.
-Virginia Woolf

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Over the past few weeks (remember, these are my words in 1997), I have been haunted by the question, "Why blog?"

I started writing entries simply to combat the frustration I felt over not being free to leave the house, socialize and have grown-up time when I wanted to...

The triple-whammy of my difficult pregnancy with our toddler daughter to care for, followed by my son's serious birth defect and neuro-surgery, followed by an incredibly tight and grueling therapy schedule have left me very little "me time". So I started writing this blog. What I have found to be far more valuable than the catharsis the blog has given me, is the absolute joy of reading the blogs of others...

So it seems, I have found a "community". I was inspired to say this today, as this realisation is hitting me.

When I read your blogs, I "hear" you. I hear the love you all have for your children, (whether they are small or big)and the absolute passion you all share for expressing yourself through your words, garments, and creative fingers. I am learning so much through you. Today, I want to celebrate that!

Just so you know, since this online life can be isolating, there is someone eagerly awaiting your next posts, even when I don't comment!

So, why the picture and quote?

Well, when my sister was little, she painted this image of my mother at the sewing machine. It was the 60's, so you can see the color choice was very "of the moment", and the roundness of my Mom's afro is a great fashion statement, isn't it?

Notice my Mom's back to her - she is absolutely in her own world. And happily so. Even at my sister's tender age, she could appreciate that my mother had her own passion, and my sister took the opportunity at that time, to explore her own creativity.

At the time, anyone would have said, "What a cute picture of your Mom at the sewing machine!" But the picture expresses so much more than that. It is not about feeling "left out" of my Mom's creative world, it was encouragement and permission to find her own creative space.

As a Mom, finding your own space, your own moment to just create and really be who you are, is so important. And letting your children know that you are entitled to that space, and having them respect it, is vital. Well, husbands and friends too, but mine don't give me any conflict about my sewing. I am still carving out my own time, slowly but surely, since I have discovered that I truly cannot live (and be pleasant, ha!) without it.

So now, Maya Angelou's "back" is turned to me (and us) forever, and I hope you will indulge this thought I am about to share...

There will be no more words written by Maya Angelou... but her work needed to be written every bit as much as she needed to write them.  There is a synergistic flow in art, poetry and literature, and one of the many torches is being passed... 

That you are here—that life exists and identity,That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

-Walt Whitman


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