Spirit Uncaged: A Writer Wednesday Post

June 4th, 2014 | Posted by Irene in Essays | Publication News


Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou, iPad art and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2014

To listen to this post, please click here:Spirit Uncaged

I just wanted to look at Dr. Maya Angelou’s face awhile, so I drew her.  Those shining eyes. That impish mouth. That joy.

Glance at the breadth and depth of her creative explorations and you know she was woman after my own heart–memoirist, actress, singer, dancer, essayist, activist, producer, professor, poet. And though she bore a lifetime of scars, she was Dignity personified–a walking reminder to continually pull yourself up by your own bare feet even if you have no bootstraps.

Some years ago, I was privileged to hear her speak. The sound of her voice was like caramel, if it, like chocolate, came in bittersweet: a rich pour that seemed to flow from a vast ancient amphora of ancestral wisdom, prompting love, tolerance, forgiveness.

And I acutely appreciate her reflections on aging. I’ll direct you to the first twenty seconds of the Master Class she did for Oprah, though of course the entire event is well worth watching.

It’s hard to believe this mighty presence no longer dwells among us. But her spirit will continue to do so. It was uncaged decades ago.


A bit of  news:  I have mentioned here how pleased I am to have a poem in  A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley. I was just notified that the book has now received five prizes–get a first edition while you can!

A Slant Of Light

 1st Prize: 2014 USA Book Awards for Anthology

The 2014 da Vinci Eye Award for book cover artwork: part of the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. (Amy Cheng is our cover artist.)

Finalist in the 2014 Beverly Hills International Book Awards for Anthology

Finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category: Women’s Issues

Finalist in the 2014 International Book Awards sponsored by The American Book Fest in the category: Chick Lit/Women’s Literature




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  • Mark Rettman

    Another true artist offering…. the artwork and the essay —- superb ! I ‘d love a copy of the book / would very much like a signed copy….. glad you are feeling better! xoxox

    • IreneOGarden

      So glad you like it, Mark! You help keep the engine purring!
      And I’ll sign any book you bring me! (On reflection, that sounds a bit funny)

  • Laura

    I watched the Maya/Master Class too and noted how profound she was and ahead of her time in being so forthcoming. Your drawing captures her spirit!

    • IreneOGarden

      I’m so glad you had time to see it–she continues to inspire me–as do you!

  • Mark Rettman


    • IreneOGarden

      Thanks, my friend–

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