Even the Stars Look Lonesome
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I have written of the black American experience, which I know intimately. I am always talking about the human condition in general and about society in particular. What it is like to be human, and American, what makes us weep, what makes us fall and stumble and somehow rise and go on.
The compelling wisdom and deeply felt perceptions of Maya Angelou have been cherished by millions of readers. Now, in a continuation of her bestseller Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now, she shares many of her most treasured personal experiences, reflecting on the ideas and inspirations that have touched her heart. Even the Stars Look Lonesome is a profound series of essays that explores aspects of life both big and small, with Maya Angelou serving as the unique, spellbinding guide to a powerful spiritual journey.
even on a much-needed and hard-won holiday, we feel the irresistible need to spin and to toil. On a beach in Mexico I sat near an artisan who had made some objects for sale. There were ash-colored birds, vases and other knickknacks, along with brushes in jars and bottles of paint. I settled down comfortably, expecting to watch him turn the clay-colored objects into gay souvenirs. However, the man did not take up the brushes, nor did he touch the paint. In moments a line formed before his table
visit to Africa she had been given the name Omowale, “child who has returned home.” She came back to the United States with a fierce determination to teach African dance down to the last authentic detail. After I had studied with her for a year, Ms. Primus, who was not given to even meager compliments, told me that I might, just might, become a good dancer and even a decent teacher. Armed with this gracious commendation, I headed to a Midwestern city that boasted of having a progressive American
Negro (the word was acceptable then) cultural center. I was engaged as dance instructor, and lasted two weeks. The black middle-class families whose children were in my class protested in one voice, “Why is she teaching African dance to our children? We haven’t lost anything in Africa.” There is one major explanation for the old negative image of Africa and all things African held by so many. Slavery’s profiteers had to convince themselves and their clients that the persons they enslaved were
one’s once-silken skin, is this: do it. By all means, do it. Godfrey Cambridge was an out-of-work comedian, an occasionally employed taxi driver and my pal-about-town partner. I would have gladly traded the buddy relationship for a romantic affair with him, but, like so many men, Godfrey was interested only in women who were not interested in him. I have not decided whether that attitude stemmed from delight in the chase or a kind of masochism. In the fifties I made a reasonable living for
had startling intellect and an impressive accumulation of information, but was shy a mile from romance. I left the marriage after it became lifeless, and I’m still thankful for the early passion we both brought to the union. I am even more thankful for the lesson learned. Heed the African saying “Be wary when a naked person offers you his shirt.” Before beginning a long and arduous journey the prudent traveler checks her maps, clocks and address-book entries and makes certain that her