Saturday, October 1, 2011

Organized Curiosity: Part I -- Maya Angelou

I have loved her for as long as I knew there were bodies that could be hurt, that we could speak some healing in those torn places.  I have loved her before she came to UNC to speak, and I sat in the the room outside of the auditorium where the crowd had spilled out, leaning into the intercom to hear her.  I have loved her since "Phenomenal Woman."  So, as part of my desire to begin my research (for nothing other than to find things that speak of life abundant), I watched a program hosted by Bill Moyers about creativity.  At some point back in the early 80's, Mr. Moyers conducted many, many hour long interviews with writers to attempt to pin down what makes "our awareness leap to new ground" as we make art.  I'm going to simply copy here a few things I jotted down while watching.  Perhaps these snippets will inspire you, as they did me, to take up the bag filled with pens and paper I'd tried to leave behind at the station because I was convinced I wasn't really a writer.

We must wait around until the creative thing reaches for us.  To run after it would spook it.  Just wait.

The difference between a person and an artist is that a person will simply curse like hell when something bad happens.  An artist will first curse like hell and then ask, "So, what can I do about this?"

Traits of Creative People:

-  They wear a lot of plaid.  (Wait, that wasn't in the video.)
-  They challenge assumptions.
-  They work hard.
-  They recognize patterns.
-  They see divergent ideas and find ways to bring them together.  (Blessed are the peacemakers!)
-  They take risks.  (I need a bit of this lately.)
-  They seize upon chance.
-  They collaborate with others.  (Ownership of a product is less important than process.)

And Maya says:

"There is a place beyond talent and technique where life itself becomes an artistic process."  (YESYESYES)

"You never leave home.  You take it everywhere you go."

"I was terribly hurt and vastly loved in this town."  (In this home, in this world, in this life...)

"I went to church because of the sorrow songs.  And the promise in them."

"I finally found my own husband."
"How many times have you been married, Maya?"
"Enough.  You know, I was a woman looking for a man.  And I finally found him."

"I had to scrape my pen across those scars."

"Keep your sweetness, but know that deep down there is a ball of steel underneath.  Select carefully because you were born to survive."  (By now, I'm crying uncontrollably through the documentary.  This is the kind of research I was looking for.  Prayers heard.  Surprising ways in which they are filled.)

"...she gave me back my voice.  Allow yourself to be touched by others."

And Bill closes the night with, "Where our hearts are, there too are our treasures."

So, where is my heart?  I need to know.  And you do too, I'm betting.


  1. I wish this were an easier question to answer...where are our hearts?
    Blessings to you and Nora.