words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Gwendolyn Brooks

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“We are each other’s magnitude and bond” – Gwendolyn Brooks

On this 18th anniversary of her passing, I wanted to share some quotes from Gwendolyn Brooks, a poet and author that I learned about as a child but had somewhat forgotten as an adult.

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It’s not that I don’t recall the words to “We Real Cool” by heart (because I do). But as with many things, we get exposed to new art, new poetry, new thoughts . . . And that which we knew as children tends to fade a bit. While thinking about some of the people I wanted to feature in the “Words of Wisdom” series, Brooks popped into my mind. I remember being a young girl and seeing the announcement of her passing in a magazine that I was reading. She lived a long and full life, and we are fortunate that she decided to share her talents with us.

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She was the first African American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. She captured life in Chicago during the post-Depression era, and her writing straddled the fine line of writing honestly while preserving the dignity of her subjects. She was also Illinois’s Poet Laureate in 1968 and a Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress.

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Brooks led a particularly quiet life: she was a wife and mother. She lived in Chicago all of her life, and found her inspiration among the neighborhoods where she grew up and raised her own children.

In memory of Gwendolyn Brooks: thank you for your work.

 

(Photos courtesy of majeherself, AZQuotes, wordsonimages, and Rhapsody in Books)

 

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Lorraine Hansberry

“Never be afraid to sit a while and think” – Lorraine Hansberry

Talented, intelligent, and gone too soon: Lorraine Hansberry was an award-winning playwright and activist. She, like many other Black American writers during this time, captured the smoldering inner turmoil and external conflict of ambitious Blacks living in pre-Civil Rights America.

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I recently came across a photo of Lorraine while looking up information on another writer and, as always, I was drawn in by her soulful eyes and sweet smile. Behind her wholesome beauty was a gorgeous brain: her writing talents got her critical acclaim and earned her the spot as the youngest playwright to ever have a play produced on Broadway. She is also the youngest winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.

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I really resonate with her thoughts regarding the path of the creative. Embracing her talent meant encountering feelings of loneliness, over-familiarity with the lows of life, but also an undiminishable hope in a more beautiful and brighter future. Her positive view of life inspires me tremendously.

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“I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful and that which is love” – Lorraine Hansberry

(Photos courtesy of AZQuotes and Pinterest)

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Nikki Giovanni

Happy Friday, friends! Whew, we made it through the week, and it’s almost the end of the fiscal year, so I’m officially DONE with all of my year-end closing tasks. Life is grand!

I figured it was time for another Words of Wisdom post because I’ve been leaning heavily on the wisdom of others as I’ve tried to stay balanced and calm during this stressful period at work. I’ve found myself reading a little poetry to unwind a bit in the evenings.

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[…]I am so hip even my errors are correct[…]

This singular line was one of the things that made me stop and really pay attention when I first read “Ego Tripping (There May Be A Reason Why)” by Nikki Giovanni years ago. And when I came across it again, I remembered just how much I loved her words.

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Giovanni is a poet, activist and educator, and I love her for wearing so many hats with ease. She’s currently a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, and she is still vibrant and witty at 75 years of age. She’s published numerous books of her poetry and I personally enjoyed “Quilting the Black Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems”, one of her books in my personal collection.

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There’s a lot to say about Giovanni, and too many poems and quotes to count. However, I think the best way to get a sense of her is to read the words she wrote about herself. I loved the bio on her website. Here’s an excerpt that I found amusing, sobering, and inspiring, just like Giovanni herself:

I was asked to  do a biography so this is it.  I am 71 years old.  I highly recommend old age;  it’s fun.  I have been awarded an unprecedented  7 NAACP Image Awards which makes me very very proud.  I have been nominated for a Grammy; been a finalist for  the  National Book Award.  I am very proud to have authored 3 New York Times and Los Angeles Times Best Sellers, highly unusual for a poet.  I am a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.  I don’t have a lot of friends but I have good ones.  I have a son and a granddaughter.  My father, mother, sister and middle aunt are all deceased literarily making me go from being the baby in the family to being an elder.  I like to cook, travel and dream.  I’m a writer.  I’m happy.

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I hope you all enjoyed this post! Savor this fantastic Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

(photos courtesy of AZQuotes, ETB Screenwriting and InstaQuote)

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Aretha Franklin

Yesterday, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was laid to rest. I’m huge fan of her music, as I found her voice supernatural: listening to Aretha was akin to touching the divine, even if she wasn’t singing a gospel tune. As a music appreciator, I will always treasure the amazing recordings she left us.

I won’t write much, since there are so many of other writers online that are sharing their heartfelt emotion about Ms. Franklin. However, I will share some of my favorite quotes spoken by the Queen. Have a great Saturday.

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(Photos courtesy of Goalcast, LikeQuote and Saying Images)

 

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Lupita Nyong’o

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One of my favorite movies of this year was Black Panther. For those that recall, I was in Kenya when the movie was released and, while I didn’t get to see it before I left the country, I did see the national pride for Lupita Nyong’o, the stunner that played Nakia, a brilliant spy whose wisdom saved Wakanda from certain implosion.

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I can’t help but think that Lupita and Nakia have a great deal in common. Lupita’s confidence, poise and intelligence are traits that moviegoers easily identified in Nakia. It was difficult to distinguish between the character and the real, life Nyong’o.

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One of the things I love most about Lupita is her pragmatic attitude toward her beauty. Slim, with flawless skin, a button nose, high cheekbones and perfect out: she’s enviably beautiful. However, when her stunning beauty is discussed, she graciously acknowledges it but also brings up how that is only one aspect of who she is. She is an endearing star that not only enchants onscreen but offscreen as well.

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I love her energy and everything that she represents. I hope you all enjoy these quotes as much as I have! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

(photos courtesy HuffPost, Essence & QuotePrism)

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Remembering Jackie: The Power of Words

On what would have been Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s 89th birthday, I want to reflect a bit on her legacy. You all recall that I’ve shared some of her words of wisdom before, but I thought it was time to share a quote that I’d had on my mind for a while now:

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(Photo courtesy of Town & Country magazine)

One of the things that impressed me most about this quote is that Jackie acknowledged the POWER of words. Our words mold our realities, so we have to be careful with them. Are we using our words to “speak into existence” the things that we want, or are we regurgitating the things that depress or discourage us?

Recently, I’ve been especially mindful about the words that I’m using. I’m making a concerted effort to speak positively, using words that reflect the reality that I want to see, even if it doesn’t perfectly match what I’m actually beholding. I’m not living in a “fantasy world”, per se. However, I am focusing my attention on the best aspect of “what is” as well as discussing only the things that I want in my world.

I appreciate Jackie for stating plainly that our words are powerful and can create the world that we want to see. I’m delighted that I can use my words to make a difference, not just in my own world, but in the world of those that I interact with daily.  I’m honored to have such power and to be able to use it wisely is my pleasure.

It’s no coincidence that Jackie’s life eventually led her to a career in publishing: she always had tremendous love for words. As a writer, I can relate, and I’m thankful for her contributions to the literary world. Above all, I’m thankful for her example. She was a woman that lived with integrity, used the power of words expertly, and left a legacy of excellence. On this day, let’s remember Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the mark she left on the world with her words.

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Sophia Loren

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Beautiful. Earthy. Intelligent. Seductive. All of these descriptors paint a perfect picture of the many elements that make the incredible Sophia Loren. I first learned of Sophia Loren many years ago when I came across her movie Houseboat with Cary Grant. Her hourglass proportions and sultry Italian accent dominated the screen every time she was in a scene. I wanted to look like her and even sound like her when I grew up!

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Sophia didn’t have a fairy tale upbringing. Her parents never married and she dealt with the stigma of being born out of wedlock. She also was poor and got teased for being skinny. She was always a beauty but it’s hard to see your own beauty when there are so many naysayers ready to tell you otherwise.

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Sophia took Hollywood by storm. After all, her physical presence fit in well with the Marilyn Monroe/Elizabeth Taylor aesthetic. Unlike Monroe and Taylor, Sophia was tall and statuesque. At 5 foot 9 inches, Loren was actually equal in height, and occasionally taller than, her male counterparts. She owned her powerful presence and used it to her advantage.

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What is most enchanting about Sophia Loren is her perspective on beauty. Her down-to-earth wisdom is a refreshing take on what really matters. Her emphasis on inner beauty is probably why she is still radiant as an octogenarian. Her love for her family and self awareness shine through in every portrait. We may not all be as physically beautiful as La Loren, but we are certainly able to take on her positive attitude.

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So here’s to the incredible Sophia Loren! Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

 

(photos courtesy of AZQuotes, MemesandQuotesInspiration, EliteColumn and DebraSmouse)