May 28, 2014

We Know Your Wings Are Gonna Fit You Well

One of the many perks of working in public libraries is getting to meet so many great (some good) writers -- and some legends. I first met Maya Angelou a few months after starting my career in public libraries. I was a year out of college. She was keynoting a Maryland Library Association event in Baltimore. I stood in a long line to have her sign "Phenomenal Woman." The cut to the chase: When I got up to her, I set the book on the table, opened to that poem. I was truly awed. She looked up, smiled that big smile, reached across the table, slid her hands around mine, and held them there. I was officially having an audience with Maya Angelou! (Of course, I was one of the last people in line.) She turned to her assistant, who was standing beside her, and said something so nice about me. I blushed, and my mind began racing: "How will I write this story? How will I tell people this story?" My car flew down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. I got home, told my folks, called my college friend in Pittsburgh, wrote in my journal, and didn't sleep all night. And that was my first time.
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