Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays

Ever have one of those days when even spilling a little lunch on your shirt at work, getting caught in rainy day traffic, and cutting your fingernail with your razor in the shower (come on... we've all done it) can't even touch all of the other good stuff going on?  My Monday was a day of getting sweet, surprise texts from friends, completing a couple of long-term projects, making new friends, and a night of inspiration.

A Beautiful Storyteller 
Last night a friend gave me an extra ticket to attend the Maya Angelou Event at Belmont. I had read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in high school and loved her work. I remember my English teacher saying, "If you ever get a chance to hear Maya Angelou speak, you have to go." Well, at 5:15 when a coworker casually mentioned that she had an extra ticket to the event, I jumped on the chance. So glad I did. 

Maya Angelou was escorted (as she is now elderly and feeble) onto the stage to eruptions of applause. Her literature and poetry have truly been influential to our generation, and that has not gone unnoticed. 

Maya Angelou

She eloquently shared her beautiful story of overcoming tragedy and learning to use her voice to change the world. When she was very young she was raped by her mother's boyfriend.  After confessing this event to her family, the man was found dead a few days later.  Convinced that her words could kill people, she became a voluntary mute for 6 years. She would only speak to her brother since she felt he would always be safe with her.  For those six years she was tormented by others in the town accusing her of being "stupid" or "illiterate". However, she refused to speak in order to protect even the most cruel of people because she knew that her words were far too powerful. Little did those people know that she had spent those years memorizing poetry, reading the classics, and learning through listening.  Finally, a teacher who noticed her nose always in books of poetry convinced her that she could not truly love a poem until it rolled off of her lips. She presented a poem to her class and overcame her silence. She was right, her words do have power, but a bold, beautiful power that has influenced our culture through novels, poetry, and songs.  In fact, she was commissioned by the United Nations to write a poem about bringing peace to this world. At the end of the evening, Maya Angelou's charming alto voice recounted, "I am not beautiful because I am a bold, broad sky. I am beautiful because others have put rainbows in my clouds." 

You can read more about her story on her website or in "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings". 

Code Keith in Aisle Seven
At one point during the Taylor Swift concert last weekend she ran through the crowd to get on a small stage at the back of the floor. When she grabbed the mic she said “Wow. I love Nashville. I just passed a few neighbors and a bunch of people I went to high school with. I’ll probably see some of you at the grocery store tomorrow.”  Well, guess what? She was right. Now I didn’t see her at the grocery store, but I did see Keith Urban. Between work and the Maya Angelou event I stopped by Whole Foods in Green Hills to pick up a couple of things (brown rice syrup, unsweetened dried coconut, and almond butter… the essentials). I stepped out of the end of the aisle, surveying just how much my major purchase of three items would set me back.  I looked up and realized that I was walking straight towards by Keith and Nicole. I passed by and then realized that the little girl a few feet behind them that had gotten distracted by the case of Odwalla (who doesn’t love Mango Tango?!?) was Sunday. I had accidentally cut her off from her parents so I stepped back, said ‘Excuse me.’ in my high-pitched kid voice and moved along. Sunday is so cute! Just last month I was jamming at Keith’s concert.

Last night he was just another neighbor at the grocery store.

Disclaimer: I do realize that practically everyone in Nashville has seen Keith Urban around town and that 90% of those sightings have been at Whole Foods. I hear Keith stories all of the time. What I find interesting is that you are clearly a Nashvillian when you say, “I saw Keith Urban. Oh yeah, and Nicole was with him.”  You are clearly a transplant if you say, “I saw Nicole Kidman. Oh yeah, and Keith was with her.” I am a Nashvillian. Love him.

Turns out that rainy days and Mondays aren't always bad.

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