Doing Better…

“Tears spilled from her eyes.” 

That was the line I wanted to capture from the book I was reading, as I reached for my writer’s notebook today.

But it wasn’t there.

I rummaged through my school bag and laptop case, but it was nowhere to be found.  Thinking back, I remembered I’d left it with my camping gear from the long weekend spent in Evans Notch.

I panicked. I clicked on the “stickies” application on my MacBook and hurriedly opened up a new note to capture my thoughts about the quote. Then I sat and reflected for a bit about how happy I was that being without my writer’s notebook actually caused me such anxiety. As strange as it sounds, I was experiencing a shift. In years past, I might have simply let the moment pass by and move on to the next item on my ‘to do’ list.  This was good anxiety, I told myself. It meant my writing routines are evolving.  My actions are becoming more intentional and habituated.

I was devastated to hear the news of Maya Angelou’s passing today.  I can say without hesitation that her writing influenced my life in ways that no other writer ever has… or probably ever will.  Half my writer’s notebooks are filled with her words- profound, unforgettable words that, like fireflies that light up the night, I wanted to capture and marvel at just a little longer.  Knowing that her sentiments were protected between the binding of my notebooks and that I could return to them in the darkest of moments brought me great comfort.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”  Her wisdom is simple and true.  This is one of my most favorite quotes.

Today I discovered something about myself as a writer.  And tomorrow, as a result, hopefully I will do better. No words are truly original.  It’s how we say them and the order in which we align them that enable us to call them our ‘own.’  Dr. Angelou certainly knew how to weave ordinary words together so they read like golden tapestries.

Tears spilled from my eyes today.  Thank you, Maya Angelou, for inspiring me to be a better writer and a better human being.


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