Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou died on 28th May 2014. It came as a surprise to me that I didn’t know who she was, but once I looked into it, it became clear she was someone I’d be writing about…

As someone who has written about goal achievement for years, how did I not know of Maya Angelou? Of course, that question is impossible to answer because knowing how I didn’t know about someone would involve knowing about them(!)

It was Facebook that did it for me. Whenever anyone dies, Facebook is awash with people posting RIP messages. I’ll be honest; I find that all a bit odd, and it can look a bit like people are either posting to fit in with everyone doing it, or trying to look clever by being the first to post it on their network of friends.

I admit doing it myself doing it myself about British tennis player Elena Baltacha when I found myself genuinely moved when she died.

With Maya it was a flourish of quote pictures – you know the ones, a few lines quoting someone over a background of sunsets or clouds, or that person’s picture. I see these all the time on Facebook and probably have seen them with Maya’s quotes on before, but the name obviously didn’t register.

When she passed away, the quote pictures had a lot of ‘quote compilations,’ so I did find myself stopping and taking a look. Two, in particular, hit home with me, and it’s these …

– “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

So, what do those quotes have to do with The Bee Gees? Well, Maya probably never did sing The Bee Gees, but in one of their songs, ‘Words’, there’s a lyric that says ‘It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away.’

OK, that’s a love song, and Maya said that people would forget what you said, so am I going down the wrong thread with this article?

I don’t think so, no, because that impression we leave with people, the way we made them feel that Maya said they would remember, that can be made by smiles and body language of course, but the real tool to do it, is words.

A simple ‘hello, how are you,’ said genuinely, can make someone’s day. A simple compliment can make someone’s day. Making the smallest of efforts to be nice to people.

People often develop low self-esteem, which can grow to influence their whole life, but the power of words to turn that around cannot be overestimated. If you’re the one that brings the brightness and positivity into their life, it might only take a few seconds, but the impact can be long lasting, and that’s how you leave an impression with people.

When they think of you, it may not be the actual words they remember, as Maya said, but it will be the connection you made, the fact that you took an interest in them for who they were.

It’s powerful stuff, and it can make you be the rainbow in someone’s cloud, something they can refer back to in their minds for a boost, and what’s more, it’s free and easy to do!

Also, it has an extra benefit – it makes *you* feel good too! Others will come to know this is the way you behave, and they, in turn, will behave that way towards you. There are no downsides to this, which is why I’m amazed more people don’t act that way.

I do it, and some people have genuinely said to me they have been annoyed by my ‘rampant positivity’. That made me giggle, and while my life has not been all sequins and fairy tales, I make no apology for seeing the positives, in myself, in my surroundings, and in others.

So, Maya Angelou may have never sung The Bee Gees, and although I didn’t know about her until she had died, just two of her quotes have left an impression, so think about the way you talk to others – how will your words make them remember the way you made them feel?

Just as importantly, how about the way you talk to yourself! Do you make yourself feel good or bad? Are you the rainbow in your *own* cloud? If so then great, but if not, then now is as good a time as any to change things!


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William Blake

William Blake, a noted artist, print maker, and poet who was born in 1757 in London, England, has never seen the tarot cards inspired by his life, thoughts and work. The William Blake Tarot of the Creative Imagination deck was inspired by and reproduces William Blake’s paintings and relief etchings, painted in the Classical style. Each tarot card depicts a collage work based on William Blake’s art.

When William Blake was 27 years old in 1784, he left the Royal Academy to pursue his style of art. Before entering the Royal Academy, William Blake had been an apprentice to an engraver and was already a professional engraver when he entered the school. At the Royal Academy, William Blake was not enthusiastic about the popular oil paintings of the day because of their lack of realism.

The artist’s work caught the notice of a founding member of the National Gallery. From there, the artist published a book of political poetry. With his brother, William started a print shop in 1784. William Blake was associated with other important intellectual minds of the era, including Thomas Paine, William Wordsworth, and Mary Wollstonecraft. William Blake believed that women should be allowed to reach self-fulfillment in their lives, not a greatly popular view at the time.

By 1788, William Blake was using relief etching for illustrations. These relief etchings were an excellent medium for the realism that William Blake sought to express in his art. The relief etching process involves making cuts into a metal plate that is then used to create prints. William Blake taught his wife Catherine to be an engraver so that she could help him to print his work. William Blake received much support from his wife throughout out his life.

William Blake was an active artist and writer. He produced illuminated books, books, poetry, and prints. Some of his work was thought of as too outrageous after his death and subsequently, destroyed by fire on purpose. This happened because William Blake had the courage to approach subjects considered too controversial for other artists, such as politics, sex, and religion. His work is now revered for its exquisite beauty and adherence to truth as he understood it.

His last works were based on Dante’s Inferno. William Blake continued working on the project on the day of his death with his faithful wife by his side. Only seven engravings were ready for print at his death. Some watercolors were done as well.

Ed Buryn, the talent behind The William Blake Tarot Of The Creative Imagination, uses entirely new suits in his tarot deck. Instead of the traditional minor arcana suits of wands, swords, pentacles and cups, Ed Buryn has designated these suits as science, painting, poetry and music. For the major arcana, Ed Buryn created collages based on Blake’s Book of Job illustrations. The court cards of the William Blake Tarot deck are designated as the angel, child, woman and man instead of the traditional king, queen, knight, and page. Ed Buryn has managed to instill both the artwork and the accompanying text with William Blake’s philosophy on spirituality.

The tarot cards, based on William Blake’s work, are in color, with 78 cards in the deck. The William Blake deck has an interpretive guide that is well suited for creative minds because the cards give in-depth original advice. The William Blake card interpretations are greatly valued for their tremendous insight into encouraging the creative process.


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Shel Silverstein

“Furthermore, now. .an anecdote about an absorbing lion—indeed, the greatest lion I should ever meet. It’s entertaining and dismal and has made perusers giggle and think as far back as it was distributed in 1963.

It was taken after the following year by four new books. The principal, The Tipping Tree, is a moving tale about the adoration for a tree for a kid. In a meeting distributed in the Chicago Tribune in 1964, Shel discussed the troublesome time he had attempting to get the book distributed. “Everyone cherished it, they were touched by it, they would read it and cry and say it was wonderful. Be that as it may, . . . One distributor said it was too short. . . .” Some idea it was excessively miserable. Others felt that the book fell amongst grown-up and kids’ writing and wouldn’t be well known.She also let him keep the miserable closure, Shel recalled, “because of life, you know, has quite tragic endings. You don’t need to chuckle it up regardless of the possibility that a significant portion of my stuff is silly.”

Shel came back to cleverness that year with Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? What’s more, A Giraffes and a Half

On the off chance that you had a giraffe . . .
What’s more, he extended another half . . .
You would have giraffes and a half . . .

is the means by which it begins, and the chuckling works to the craziest completion conceivable.

The fourth book in 1964 was Uncle Shelby’s Zoo: Don’t Bump the Glump! Furthermore, Other Fantasies, Shel’s just text delineated in full shading. Shel consolidated his one of a kind creative ability and intense brand of amusingness in this accumulation of senseless and unnerving animals.

Shel’s second gathering of lyrics and drawing, Where the Sidewalk Ends, was distributed in 1974. It opens with this Invitation:

If you remain a visionary, come in,
If you remain a visionary, wishers, a liar,
An expectation er, a supplicate er, an enchantment bean purchase.
In case you’re an actor, sit by my fire
For we have some flax-brilliant stories to turn.
Come in!
Come in!

Shel welcomed kids to dream and set out to envision the inconceivable, from a hippopotamus sandwich to the longest nose on the planet to eighteen kinds of dessert to Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who might not take the waste out.

This was trailed by The Missing Piece, distributed in 1976, and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, distributed in 1981—two partner tales that investigate the idea of satisfaction.

With his next gathering of lyrics and drawings, A Flash in the Attic, distributed in 1981, Shel requested that his perusers put something senseless on the planet, not be debilitated by the Whatifs, and turn on a flashlight in the loft.


There is light on in the upper room.
In spite of the fact that the house is dim and covered,
I can see a flickering shudder,
What’s more, I realize what matters to it.
There is light on in the upper room.
I can discuss it all things considered,
What’s more, I know you’re within . . . Looking out.

Old Dogs: (Clockwise from base left) Shel Silverstein, Bobby Bare, Mel Tillis, Jerry Reed, and Waylon Jennings.

He asked perusers to get the moon or welcome a dinosaur to supper—to have a great time! School Library Journal as anyone might expect called A Flash in the Attic “overflowing, rowdy, romping, delicate and eccentric.” Readers wherever concurred, and A Flash in the Attic was the first kids’ book to break onto the New York Time success list, where it remained for a record-breaking 182 weeks.

However, Shel did not set out to compose and draw for youngsters. As he revealed to Publishers Weekly in 1975, “When I was a child . . . I would very rather have been decent baseball players or a hit with the young ladies. I couldn’t take care of business; I couldn’t move . . . So I began to draw and compose. I was fortunate that I didn’t have anybody to duplicate, be inspired by. I had built up my particular style.”


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William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was a shining star in the skies of English literature who’d developed a background by way of critically examining the difficulties of persons and attempted to solve them effectively. He was the finest dramatist and poet on earth. He led his existence quite purely, cleanly and commanded which were the greatest decorations during those times. From his youth, he was gentle and true minded. He was clever and unusual brilliance. He’d composed numerous publications depending on romantic-comedy and tragic play. He’d had the acknowledgement of the planet as a global-course writer which awakens the thoughts of the viewers for all time in the annals. He died in 1616. Now, I shall attempt to concentrate a few of his novels where the writer has created the intricate difficulties of persons like love, envy, rivalry, over-ambitious and thieving.

The movement of his agitation throughout his breeding, his ambitious lifestyle brings about his downfall. Shakespeare has handled aspiration in this circumstance as envious a delight, and insurrection contrary to the will of God. Macbeth had killed his just king for energy and pelf and finally he inflicted the maltreatments of the folks who were the quiet signs of his evil-doings and also the worlds of defeat.

It’s one of the Shakespeare’s best comedies that has occupied a terrific space of romanticism, joy and also the gist of the comparison involving both groups of those who are the citizens of two strategies of existence. One seeks joy in midst of luxury life along with another is accustomed to reside in the woods of Arden where tranquility and serenity of love beneath the Greenwood tree is extremely according to illuminating conflagration. It retains the viewers joyful and laughing all the time on account of the wealth in it of comedy and wit. As you enjoy it represents a lot of characters which are the center point of the supply of comedy and wit. The Intimate Rosalind, Celia, Touchstone and skeptical Jacques are the figures of the perform who cope with comedy and wit.

It’s a disaster where the result of over ambitious guy is vividly envisaged.

It’s a narrative about two retailers in Venezia who are greatly powerful personalities according of riches and company. Bassanio was the buddy of Antonio. He wanted cash as a way to impress the wonder of Portia who was well-known for her wisdom and prepared wit. On behalf of Bassanio, he borrowed funds from Shylock on the premise of a peculiar bond. The bond envisages that in creating refund inside the stipulated time in situation of failure, one pound flesh would be reduce by Shylock from just about any portion of Antonio’s physique. In the final area of the tale, the lethal effects of Shylock have now been vividly described.

It’s a narrative of disaster where Hamlet was tormented with psychological notions in regards to the clashes seeing his dad’s passing. He found learn from the wonder message by his dad’s phantom spirit. His mom had wed together with his uncle who’d really killed his dad. By dint of hardihood and his indomitable will, he’d revenged up on them.



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Walt Whitman

What more can be said that has not been said about Walt Whitman? A good question.To be honest I do not have any more insight than the average man out there who has read Whitman, but let me give you my point of view anyhow, for what it is worth, and it may not be worth a lot, and then, on the other hand, it may be a treasure, you never know.

He was known as perhaps the Father of Free Verse, old news, and he was known perhaps as the gay, or homosexual, or bisexual poet of the 19th Century, born 1819 and died 1892. He mostly wrote in his book: “Leaves of Grass,” which started out with 12-poems, and ended up with close to 400, over a forty to sixty-year span, he revised the book, like a man would with a weight problem.

In his early editions, or revisions, you can tell when he writes about women, he means men, and in his later editions, he is freer to unwind this secret of his past, it all has to do with-I would guess the times.

Whitman was Allen Ginsberg’s hero, as Whitman’s hero was Emerson. Everyone has a hero, even Elvis’ had a hero, who was James Dean, and Stalin’s hero was Hitler. We pick out those most suitable to us, so it seems.

To be frank, I want to cut the chase to this essay and get down to business. Was Whitman’s lifetime goal to make a perfect book? And this book, of course, would have been “Leaves of Grass”-right? And did he accomplish it?

Ginsberg tried to be like Whitman in a way. Before Ginsberg died, and prior to it, he did what I’m going to tell you he did, in a more frantic way than I can express, and it seems to me an egoistic quark of Whitman’s also; that is, he’d write his poetic prose, and have his assistant put each typed letter, or poem, into his files, like a man with a precious coin, who feels he needs to preserve it for posterity’s sake. On the other hand, Whitman went over and over and over and over his poems in “Leaves of Grass,” like a man on narcotics, who needs his next fix.

In Whitman’s case, again, I see him doing this for the same reason Ginsberg did his little dance, with his typed out poetry: afraid, posterity might overlook, or not forgive him. Thus both tried to enshrine their poems for humankind’s benefit.

Well, as I was saying, Whitman went to his poetry as if a comma might have been out of place 40-years prior, or a period 60-years prior. He died at 72-years old, and at 17, I think his first book was produced; he paid for its publication out of his pocket, about 800-copies were made, so I am assuming he started writing poetry about the age I did, 11 or 12 years old.

I call all this work he did on revision: destructive change, compromise, tampering with something he should not have been. Why? After ten years, I do not know what I was thinking at the very mount I wrote a certain piece of poetry. And I have written a certain amount every decade 50s, 60s 70s, 80s, 90s, and now; same as he did in his lifetime.

We need to ask, what was our motive then back then if indeed we dare rewrite our poetry, and if we can’t come up with an exact reason, then hang it up? I think he, Walt, screwed up a many of his poems in the process of revision, he took and took a good work, and made it into a plain, ordinary work.

Recently I had a review of one of my books, “Death on Demand,” it was done five years ago. A year after that book, I did another called, “Dracula’s Ghost,” both with several short stories. But one story was in both books, and I changed only the name of the story, and the person who did the review of the book said in so many words: why in heaven’s name did he change the name, it was a good name, it followed the story well, because the story was great, he did it damage. And when I look back at it, he is right.

There are several additions to “Leaves of Grass,” the first 1855, the second 1860, and one in 1881, and another in 1926, and the one in 1926 seems to have most of the 1855 stuff in it. And there is an edition I thought in 1876. My recommendation is to find one that takes the best of the best out of the first, and if you can add some of his later poems, all the better. Another noteworthy comment might be, is that it is not for children, but open minded, mature individuals.

I could tell you my best poems I like of his if it does not get in your way in reading him, but it will, so if you have not tried Whitman, why not, put your biases aside, and enjoy a good reading, and read between the lines carefully.


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Neil Hilborn

Neil Hilborn is a poet that I have only recently discovered.  He has some great work that addresses mental illness in a way that is sometimes humorous and always something we can relate to.  Check it out: