The Practice of Creativity

Remembering Maya, Remembering Our Creative Folk

Posted on: June 2, 2014

Like many other people, this week I have remembering Maya Angelou and mourning the loss of such a tremendous creative force. Dr. Angelou was a teacher, writer, healer and lover of life until the very end. I discovered her work in college and remember performing her poems ‘Still I Rise’ and ‘Phenomenal Woman’ with other powerful women at various gatherings. As a young woman, I found her work accessible, rich with positive female imagery, sensuous and often jubilant.

maya-angelou

Maya Angelou’s death has made me think about the ways in which we honor and remember great creative folk. I have writer friends who have made pilgrimages to famous writers’ houses. I also remember being inspired by Alice Walker’s quest to honor the then forgotten Zora Neale Hurston. Walker chronicled this journey in the essay, “Looking for Zora,” that appeared in her pioneering collection In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens. Zora Neale Hurston’s last years were difficult. She suffered a series of strokes, had become indigent and forgotten by many. Walker’s dedication to honoring Hurston helped bring her back into the public eye.

The outpouring of heartfelt love and admiration for Dr. Angelou that circulated through social media was palpable. I am thinking about how best to celebrate Maya Angelou’s life as well as other writers who have inspired me that are no longer living. Should I read all of their work during a certain time period? Should I visit their birthplace? Should I devote several blogs to a particular author?

What is a good way to truly honor an artist’s work that has made a difference in one’s life? I believe that this is an important question to ponder further.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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