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    Maya Angelou reflected on how refusing to speak for five years after being raped as a child shaped her journey:
    "To Show you ... how out of evil there can come good, in those five years, I read every book in the black school library. I read all the books I could get from the white school library. I memorized James Weldon Johnson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes. I memorized Shakespeare, whole plays, fifty sonnets. I memorized Edger Allen Poe, all the poetry -- never having heard it, I memorized it. I had Longfellow, I had Guy de Maupassant, I had Balzac, Rudyard Kipling, I mean it was a Catholic kind of reading, and a catholic kind of storing."
    In the face of a burning desire to be excellent, have you resigned yourself to a lack of faith that you can obtain excellence and adopted a lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied? Listen ... there is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, or how valuable, or how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. And, while no artist is pleased, there is a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
Victoria Generao


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