Moving on native death and also speaking about passing to spirit, Angelou comments the she loves all the art and visuals that depict heaven. Yet when request what she think happens after death, she replies: "Thatdepends top top what time of the job you questioning me." She smiles coquettishly, and we laugh. "I havesee that if you take it a fall fo water indigenous the ocean and also put the under a microscopic lense you uncover everythingthat"s in the ocean is in the drop that water. Every aspect that"s a whale, or a crab, is in that drop of water. So I have a emotion that we come from the creator. The poet claims "trailing wispsof glory"—and ns think us go earlier to the creator. That"s my feeling. And we go ago as adrop that water is went back to the ocean. And it mingles v something else and it comes out again."
Her wisdom originates from deep soul searching. This American original has actually lived many lifetimes.She to be raped at age eight by she mother"s beau. The male hung himself. She didn"t speak for five years. "I assumed my voice eliminated the man. And so ns refused to speak," she has actually said inmany interviews. She worked for a brief time as a madam and a prostitute, came to be a mommy at seventeen,and wove a ceiling of experience as a waitress, actress, singer, playwright, director, and the editor of anEgyptian newspaper. She even taught dance in Tel Aviv and also Rome.
In the 1960s, Angelou was asked by Dr. Young name Luther King, Jr., to be the northern Coordinator for theSouthern Christian leadership Conference. In addition, she was the very first black woman admitted toHollywood"s director Guild. Angelou speaks six languages, and also is the receiver of many honorary degrees and awards. She has been nominated because that a Pulitzer Prize and also a Tony Award.What an completed life! Is there something she"d prefer to perform that she hasn"t done yet?"Oh, my yes," she says emphatically, v a twinkle in she ambrosial brown eyes. "There isthe book I"ve yet to write, the poem I"ve yet to write, the enjoy the meal I"ve however to cook, the lovely friendsI"ve yet to meet. There"s constantly something come do."
As Angelou tastes her wine, ns ask: "Why has the AIDS epidemic appeared at this suggest in history?She answers: "I think it"s human carelessness. Ns think it"s greed. Public health inthis country. And also because the was an excellent and it didn"t call attention to itslf, we made light of it.The world said, "Cut the budget. Reduced the budget." Is that dumb?" she asks as though she had actually a negative taste in she mouth. "Tuberculosis is top top the rise, hpatitis is on the rise, mosquitovirus, Ebola, and so on. If greed were no in it and also if true intelligence—not intellect oreducation yet true intelligence—were at the helm, we would not only see windy health back in ourcountry but we would certainly be seroius about working with other countries. We room a global nation.Everybody from the barrio or the shacks the West Virginia, native the ghetto or Beverly Hills—everybodycomes in contact with every bacteria and also virus around."
She sips she wine and returns come the inquiry at hand. "I don"t check out that the AIDS epidemic hasany an excellent spiritual ultrameaning indigenous without. No, it"s ours fault. We are a country of reactors to action. Us should have learned native the Boston Tea Party. In orderto adjust an unfair tax on tea, people boarded cargo ships, take it the tea, and also spilled it into the Boston harbor. That taught those that were selling the tea a lesson. The vendors said,"Ooh, sorry, why didn"t girlfriend tell us?" use that come AIDS research. As soon as enough people stand up and say, "That will do," what will happen?"
Without lacking a beat, she leans forward and also continues. "Let me tell you something. I freshly addressed a team of executives and also filmmakers. They payment me a the majority of money to speak tothem." She giggles. "After i greeted them, and also told a joke, the group was emotion relaxed.Then i said, "You need to stop flooding the record market, the television, and the movie houseswith filth. You recognize that. You have to stop. I understand that numerous of you will certainly say,"We"re giving the world what lock want." However, if there room 2,000 of you here, there are at least a hundreds who room dying because that a cigarette. However even in this structure which girlfriend own, youcan"t smoke. Girlfriend can"t also smoke in the lobby. You need to go outside. Now, tenyears ago, or probably fifteen, the tobacco service providers said, "We"re providing the civilization what they want.Not just do they desire cigarettes, they"re addicted come nicotine." but somebody said, "That will do." Everyone thought you can"t break this multibillion dollar business."She pauses for dramatic effect. "Oh?" she says wryly, through a sly and knowing glance."But it happened since somebody said, "That will do," and also meant it." She straightens increase a bit and also cuddles back more into she chair. "Take that, I would certainly suggest, together a lesson."
Angelou summons Ms. Burditte, that pours much more white wine into the long-stemmed frosted crystal glass.
Throughout ours visit, as soon as a question is asked, Angelou relates stories pertinent come the topic.It"s ideal to stay silent and permit her an individual insights to flow naturally. Now she continues: "People might say, "I want something," but they require to discover out if lock reallywant it. They must ask: "Am ns willing to do anything to acquire it?"" She recalls thetime when she was fifteen and also decided to come to be a mountain Francisco street automobile conductor. "I wantedthe job since conductors wore uniforms and also they had actually hats through bills and also they had the money changer.Tick-tick-tick-qwik. It just looked "it" come me," she says. She went down to applyfor the job, however the office employees wouldn"t offer her one application.
She walk home and her mom asked, "Do you recognize why castle didn"t give you one application?"
Maya replied, "Yes, since I "m a Negro." "That"s right," stated her mother. "But perform youwant it?"
"Yes, I desire it." Angelou replied.
"Do girlfriend really desire it? Think about it," claimed her mother.
"Yes!" stated Angelou adamently.
"All right. You go down there tomorrow morning. You be there prior to the secretaries, walk inwith them, and also ask because that an application. As soon as they don"t give it come you, sit down. Take it a good book to read and also sit there. I"ll offer you money, so you can go to and also havea exorbitant lunch. But don"t you leave until the office workers leave for lunch. And also yoube earlier there once they get ago from lunch—if you want it." Angelou imitates her motherwith an exact bravura.
Leaning forward as if preparing to tell a secret, Angelou goes on: "About the 3rd day, ns didn"t feelI want the job any more." She says in a hushed tone, through an embarrassed, girlish voice, together if her mother were standing simply a couple of feet away, "But i couldn"t call my mommy that. ns sat there through the secretaries, with few of whom ns had been in school. The clerks insulted me; they referred to as meeverything. Here"s this black girl sitting by herself analysis the Russian writers—Distoevsky,Tolstoy, Gorki—and every day I"d go home shaking. My mommy would host me, hug me, kiss me,fix my favourite foods. She"d ask, "You still desire it?" I would shout, "Yes!" aggressivelyand easily to hide mine true feelings."
Finally one office worker did sell Angelou one application. When asked her age, Angelou lied and also said she to be ninteen. "I was six feet tall, and white world don"t know what black people"s eras areanyway," she chuckles. And as employment suffer she said she had been the chauffeur because that a womanin the South named Mrs. Annie Henderson. "My grand mother!" she whispers, laughing. "I hadhardly ever been in a car. I lied. I simply lied like whatever to gain that job."
About a week later, she was called to begin the job. She to be the an initial African-American streetcarconductor in san Francisco. She acquired fitted for she uniform and also began her shift at 3 in the morning. Her mother would wakeher up, and also draw she bath; Angelou would dress, and her mother would drive behind the streetcar, with apistol on the vehicle seat next to her, till it to be daybreak. "She"d honk, throw me a kiss, say, "Bye, Baby," then journey off," Angelou says wistfully.
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"I tell that story to remind myself and every one of us the if we really desire something, us hardlysleep till we gain it. Ns think if we construed the power of AIDS, not just to kill one person, however to desvastate a family, a community, a nation, climate we would certainly spend more time trying to obtain moneyfor research and a cure." She glances down, then looks up v a faint smile and says:"if we really wanted it."
As our conference concludes, ns follow Angelou right into her exclusive office, whichis splashed in colors of reassuring peach and also off-white. On her desk one of the secretaries has opened and displayed a note from Phyllis Diller, along with a mid-size painting Diller has done.The note is a thank you because that Angelou"s contribution to Phyllis"s A&E biography episode.The two had showed up on the famous Purple Onion in san Francisco earlier in the 1960s, whereby Angelouwas a featured singer.
Sitting down at she desk, Angelou returns to her last thought about creating what us want."We"re in the business of changing something all the time. I"m being adjusted even as I speak to you.My muscles space being changed, and also my eyesight is gift changed. The essential thing is come bein love v the search for truth, no in love through a certain position. Be prepared to give up anyposition at a moment"s notice. It is danger to discover one method and call all the others false—"No,this is the method I am and I am just this,"" she says, mockingly. "I"m taken aback when people walkup to me and tell me they are Christians. My an initial response is—Already?"
The phone call rings, and her secretaries start to mill about—my time is up. However Agnelou isn"tquite finished. "Nobody is anything every the time. To be lively is to be in search and also torealize "I"m in process,"" she says, her elbows relaxing on the desk with she hands folded. Shelooks at me intently. "We have to never pass up a chance . This is my fourth interviewout of 5 or 6 I will perform today and also in at least three of castle I"ll speak something around AIDS.Never permit a possibility pass. Never"