When I first read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I didn’t understand what I was reading, but I knew it was moving me toward liberation. I was reading about a girl who had been trapped by circumstance and freed through poesy. I knew the feeling of hearing a voice, unknown, unnatural and all new to me, gave me the freedom to waken that voice within myself. The voice that takes the pain of mistreatment, misunderstanding and mistake and makes it meaningful.
That voice is not lost, never lost. It lives on in the words I write, as I reread that tale. Memorialized with my own recognition that we generate language to heal,build and bring our inner children to the great wide world.
Thank You Dr. Angelou, I will remember the words and they will hold me up.
We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.
When I was young the movie Coal Miner's Daughter left and indelible mark on my understanding of life for women and my sense of righteousness. Growing up we listened to many kinds of music and as country people, folk and country music were on the list. The song is an autobiographical account of her life in Appalachia (see lyrics below) but the movie moved on from there to show not the fairy tale of a simple country upbringing but the gritty growing up in a world where she was on the bottom rung and climbed her way up with babies in tow. Poor, a child bride, subject to a difficult life, but able to pull herself up, I was inspired as a woman and an artist at age 10. I danced and sang with a twang to that tune and wished I too could be born a cole miner's daughter. To start with love and care and mix in moxie, determination and hard work was all she needed to overcome adversity and become a queen of country.
Coal Miner's Daugther
Well, I was born a coal miner's daughter
In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler
We were poor but we had love
That's the one thing that daddy made sure of
He shoveled coal to make a poor man's dollar
My daddy worked all night in the Van Leer coal mine
And all day long in the field a' hoeing corn
Momma rocked the babies at night and read the Bible by the coal oil light
And everything would start all over come break of morn'
Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a miner's pay
Mommy scrubbed our clothes on a washboard every day
Well, I seen her fingers bleed, to complain there was no need,
She'd smile in mommy's understanding way
In the summertime we didn't have shoes to wear
But in the wintertime we'd all get a brand new pair
From a mail order catalog, money made from selling a hog
Daddy always managed to get the money somewhere
Yeah, I'm proud to be a coal miner's daughter
I remember well the well where I drew water
The work we done was hard, at night we'd sleep 'cause we were tired
I never thought of ever leaving Butcher Holler
Well, a lot of things have changed since way back then
And it's so good to be back home again
Not much left but the floors, nothing lives here anymore
Except the memories of a coal miner's daughter
SURE FIRE MUSIC CO., INC.