Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Today’s blog is going to be a little different again, because yesterday the world lost an amazing woman. So, the following is a tribute to her.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." (2012)

Dr. Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928, passed away yesterday, at her home in Winston-Salem, NC, at the age of 86.

In 1969, she published a book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which recounted the horrors of her young life. She was basically abandoned by her parents as a toddler, went to live with her grandmother, was raped at age eight, dropped out of school at age fourteen, became the first African-American street car conductor at age sixteen, went back to school, then had a baby three months after graduation. The book was a stark, not holds barred, snapshot of a black girl growing up in a racially tense time, and became an international best seller. Although the book has been banned numerous times, it remains a “must read” requirement for high school students across the country.

Before she was nominated for the National Book Award in 1970, she made a name for herself as a performer. In the mid-50s, she starred in Porgy and Bess. In 1957, she recorded her first album Miss Calypso, and in 1958, she became part of the Harlem Writer’s Guild.

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." (2009)

During the course of her life, she has written numerous plays, television shows and movies, composed music and wrote songs, published seven autobiographies, and, probably what she was most known for, several books of poetry. Although she never attended college herself, she was a professor at Wake Forest University, and had received over thirty honorary degrees.

She was fluent in several languages, worked as an editor for two foreign newspapers, and was even a guest speaker at both President Clinton and President Obama’s inaugurations. After her upbringing, it should come as no surprise her passion lied in civil rights and racial reconciliation; and even though she was known to be difficult at times, she was loved by many. In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Obama.

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." (2011)

Well Dr. Angelou (as you insisted on being called), you succeeded in your mission; and through your words and example, you inspired countless others to do the same. This world was blessed to have you for eighty-six years, and your legacy will withstand the generations. May you forever entertain your new heavenly audience.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Friends teach you what you want to know. Enemies teach you what you need to know.

Ominous, yet so very true if you think about it. Who showed you to you were stronger than you thought you were? Probably a bully. Who taught you the depth of love? Probably the person or thing who threatened someone you loved.

If you evaluate who you are today, and look back over your life, you will see it was the various “enemies” you have encountered along the way, who have had the most profound influence. Enemies need not be in the literal sense and come in human form. Enemies could be a hardship, a loss, a disease, a stumbling block which you thought was insurmountable at the time.

Sorry, I guess the tribute took all my inspiration this morning, so ten minutes did not produce very much.

Your Next Challenge is (I’ll tell you tomorrow who the quote was from and what it was in reference to – and no, it was not Maya Angelou):

“It’s the only time in my life when I ever forgot what time it was or what day it was.”

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.