Several attempts have been made to formulate my thoughts on Maya Angelou’s passing into a blog post that would adequately describe what her writing has meant to my life. I felt like it was my responsibility, as a writers, to say something about this extraordinary woman.
I sat and thought about the feelings that emerged in my spirit years ago as I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I remembered the exhilaration of performing Phenomenal Woman in the Miss Sumter High Pageant in 1993. And I reminisced about the many, many years of teaching high school English that Maya Angelou was my poet of the week.
Memories ran though my mind of the ways Angelou has inspired me and caused me to dream that I could be something greater. But I was paralyzed with shock from her death. My attempts of memorializing her in a post had failed. So, I resigned to the notion that I would, in fact, not write anything on this blog. I would simply honor her by continuing to write and publish books that lifted the spirits of my readers.
Then, last night I received some news about the passing of one of my college mentors. He was only ten years older than I. I sat there, amid my shock and sadness trying to comprehend the idea of death.
I imagine if we knew the majesty, the grandeur, the illustriousness, the eminence of Heaven that instead of shedding tears and succumbing to our sadness when a loved one passes, we would rejoice and give thanks that they have entered into God’s promise.
For the past few months I’ve had a strong urge to contact my mentor and tell him about my latest book. One of the main characters in the novel, Walter Thomas, is based off of him. I never got around to contacting my mentor or sending him my book. But, my God, how I wish I had! He was such a kind-hearted man. A strong role model and great leader. He will certainly be remembered well.
A tall muscular gentleman walked towards Ms. Greenley. He was dressed in a gray Brooks Brother’s business suit with a pair of black, newly shined Stacey Adams shoes. A burgundy ascot peeked from his topcoat. He had one hand in his pocket and offered his free hand to Ms. Greenley. Walter escorted Ms. Greenley into his office. He pulled out her chair and motioned for her to have a seat. Walter Thomas sat across from her at a circular table in the corner of his office. A copy of her manuscript sat on the table along with a pile of garnet and black folders. Walter took a sip of tea from his Alpha Phi Alpha engraved glass mug and handed Ms. Greenley one of the folders. ~ Excerpt from Chapter XI The Miseducation of Ms. G
Thank you, Walter Jackson, for helping me write my novel. I will forever remember you.