While I probably still credit Steinbeck and Dickens for sending me down the road to crazy writerville, I must admit that Maya Angelou is the writer who taught me the most about the vivid, colorful way that people talk on the page.
I first read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in high school and I loved it so much that it was the first adult book that I actually read twice. If I remember correctly I finished it and started reading it again straight away. It was that good!
Rich, layered, funny, sad and sometimes completely weird, Angelou’s characters (which were mostly based on real people from her life since it was a memoir) and their distinctive voices literally popped off the page. It was, and still is, a truly amazing read.
Even if that was the only thing she’d ever done, something tells me we’d still be celebrating Angelou today. But, luckily for us, Angelou was so much more than a writer and a poet and the bold, fascinating way she lived her life should be an example for us all. There will never be anyone quite like Dr. Maya Angelou. So, thank you for the inspiration, the words and most of all, the priceless life lessons you shared with us along the way. RIP sweet lady…