On Wednesday morning, famous author and poet, Dr. Maya Angelou, passed away. After reading the news, I turned to my bookshelf and grabbed my copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – her first of seven autobiographies, and one of only three I own and have read. I bought it at the Chapters on Richmond and John in Toronto, which is scheduled to close today, of all days. After perusing the aisles, trying to find a book I could buy two copies of – one for myself and one to send to a good friend in PEI – I finally saw it and knew it was the one. And while I didn’t end up finishing it until a few months after that, it’s dogeared and creased, as every good book should be.
There aren’t many authors I feel attached to. Books, yes – but not authors. However, since she was more of a teacher than simply a writer, I latched onto countless passages in the few books I’ve read, and loved watching her be interviewed and deliver speeches. In reading through a few of her obituaries, I was heartbroken when I found out the last book she worked on – about her experiences working with various political and world leaders – was unfinished. Can you imagine how incredible that would’ve been to read?
One of the most famous lines in I Know… is, “I didn’t come to stay”. She certainly did not. However, as a literary icon, her words will live on for years and years to come. And I imagine I’m only one of thousands of people who will be at the bookstore this weekend, picking up at least one of her books not yet on my shelf.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
The low of my week was not being able to complete our hike to the Canso Bomber crash site in Tofino. After a few slippery logs, jumps and bumps, my hip felt weak and I was too scared I’d hurt myself. I choked back a few tears, not out of pain, but out of pure frustration. At least I got to enter this creepy building?
The high of my week was hanging out with my high school mentee on Wednesday night. We worked out at the gym, talked all about school and which university she’s decided to go to, and even chatted a bit about money and how student loans work. It was awesome.
A blog post I loved was How to Practice Saying No by Sarah Kathleen Peck. “If we knew how life would turn out, living wouldn’t be so extraordinary. Life is a series of experiments. Sometimes you say yes, and you learn that no would have been wonderful.” I’m beginning to see that “no” can be as strong an action as “yes”.
The best money I spent was $13.13 on two kale smoothies for my mentee and I, after our free workout.
My plans this weekend include donating blood after work today, relaxing and getting some writing done tomorrow, going for a hike with Krystal and Jaime on Sunday, and being treated to a pedicure after!
How was your week? What are you up to this weekend? And do you have any personal favourite Maya Angelou quotes to share?