Popular Posts

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

'I write because I can'


“We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can.   We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings.  That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone, that’s why we write – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.” – Maya Angelou

 Angelou was an author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer.  Born in St. Louis on this date in 1928, she authored 7 autobiographies, 3 books of essays, and many books of poetry.  She also wrote a long list of plays, movies, and television shows, received dozens of awards and was presented with 50 honorary degrees.   
It was her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, written in 1968 at the urging of fellow writer James Baldwin and cartoonist Jules Feiffer that brought her worldwide attention and started her on the pathway to success.

Angelou  "performed" many of her poems and essays at public readings and talks.  I had the good fortune to hear her at one on the campus of Augsburg College and also be part of a small group gathering before the event.  I asked her if she wrote first for herself and then to share, or the other way around.

“I would be a liar, a hypocrite, or a fool – and I’m not any of those – to say that I don’t write for the reader,” she said.  “I do.  But I write for the reader who hears, who really will work at it, going behind what I seem to say.  So I write for myself and that reader who will pay his or her dues.”

No comments:

Post a Comment