The Fear Factor

“When I hear people talk about a fear of failing, I get so tired. You think you’re afraid of failing, but in fact you’re doing it now. Let’s talk about your fear of succeeding.”
-Gordon Hays 2016

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Business Cards

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Reaching Toward Pluto

“Nothing will be impossible for you.” -Matthew 17:20 NIV

Dear Reader, have you been following the journey of the New Horizons space probe to Pluto? This may seem like an unlikely subject for my blog, but I am fascinated by the beautiful metaphor on faith and trust that has unfolded in this particular NASA mission.

Before launching in 2006 under the guiding principle of “shedding light on frontier worlds,” New Horizons faced considerable setbacks and opposition. When viewing the images being sent to us here on Earth from the remarkable nine and a half year, thirty billion mile journey to Pluto, it is important to note that the New Horizons project was once cancelled. After being launched, aimed towards a goal, Pluto, New Horizons’ main focus was discounted and demoted to a dwarf planet. Every new object discovered along New Horizons’ path needed to be overcome as a threat to the probe. And, according to an article in the July 15, 2015 USA Today, “it would take only a speck of dust the size of a grain of rice to mortally wound the spacecraft.”

Hidden among the New Horizons project is a beautiful metaphor for our own lives. Despite all the setbacks, obstacles and perceived failures New Horizons reached its’ goal. The team behind the project spent years engineering and calculating, and yet ultimately had to let go, and send out this valuable space probe into the unknown, trusting for nine and a half years and thirty billion miles that a speck of dust would not be the end of the mission. That is the essence of faith. That is the definition of surrendering to the unknown. New Horizons is pioneering into once uncharted territory, revealing a mystery in the far reaches of the unknown.

I look at my life now, as I venture into my own unknown. It is perhaps the most difficult and beautiful time in my life thus far. But, I can have faith too that even in the vastness of the unknown, something wonderful will be discovered. I hope the same for you.

Making a Miracle Come True!

Dandelion“How do we manifest a miracle? It begins with a wish.”

-Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

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Soul Bridge: Maya Angelou’s Legacy of Literature

  Soul Bridge: Maya Angelou’s Legacy of Literature by Gordon Hays

“You said to call on Your name, and I’m calling. I’m stepping out on Your word” -Maya Angelou

    Yesterday marked a very special anniversary. On April 4th, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. On that day in 1968, Maya Angelou was celebrating her 40th birthday. As the celebration of one influential Black woman’s life commenced, another important Black civil rights leader’s life ended. Maya Angelou lived for another forty-six years. And yet, a measurement of time cannot summarize a life. A set of years would not explain the impact and value of Angelou’s living experience and literary legacy. Eighty-six years cannot calculate the impact of Angelou’s written works, beyond the expanse of her life. Maya Angelou carries on. Angelou’s pages of poetry, literary works, films and music continue to educate, entertain and inspire. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe Maya Angelou acted as a soul bridge between generations, promoting peace and equality. With poetic grace, humility and moral strength, Angelou navigated the shifts in consciousness and social change surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and continued struggle for equality. Known for a writing process that included having a deck of cards and a crossword puzzle within arm’s reach, Angelou was an influential voice politically, personally and academically throughout the efforts for civil equality. Maya Angelou acted as a soul bridge, offering wisdom and encouragement through her writings, uniting racial and cultural differences through shared understanding, which demonstrate the positive ideals of an empowered African American woman.

Maya Angelou 1

It was while watching the 1993 film, Poetic Justice that I first encountered the words of Maya Angelou. In the film, Angelou’s powerful poem “Phenomenal Woman” is recited in voice over while Janet Jackson’s character is portrayed at home, immersed in an evening of solace. The sacredness of that moment in the film, combined with Angelou’s affirming poetry has continued to influence my thoughts and actions. Watching that film, and hearing Angelou’s words was a reminder of my own worth. I began to understand that I too have something to offer this world in my beautiful uniqueness. It may seem unlikely that the words of a black woman poet would resonate so deeply with a queer white man. But, that unlikely connection illustrates the manner in which Maya Angelou and her writings act as a soul bridge. Truth traverses the boundaries of race, culture, sexuality and class to unify the common thread of humanity and love. Angelou’s message of tolerance, acceptance and dignity demonstrate the enduring legacy of her literature.

Works Referenced, and Suggested Readings

Angelou, Maya. Maya Angelou Her Phenomenal Life and Poetic Journey. Ed. Vanessa K. Bush. New York: ESSENCE Books, 2014. Print.

Angelou, Maya. And Still I Rise. New York: Random House, 1978. Print.

Angelou, Maya. Letter to My Daughter. New York: Random House, 2009. Print.

 

Just Published in The Salmon Creek Journal 2015!

I am very excited to announce that my artwork and poetic narrative were just published in The Salmon Creek Journal 2015. Below, is the poetic narrative “Rainbow Cup” written in 2014 that I saved for this moment to share with you all. I am so honored to see these words reflected back to me in print!

SCJ

“Rainbow Cup”

Gordon Hays, 2014

Nothing can grow from falsehood. It must begin with the seed of Truth.

Story shapers and deceivers know this alike.

The beginning. It starts with me.

People say I have an attitude, among other things.

I say, I speak my mind.

I say, I claim my voice.

I alone have walked through the fires of my life.

I alone exist with the charred remains of my personal triumphs, and the wasteland of my failures, flaws and missed opportunities.

I draw from the deep well of a varied past. Covert and cruel, beautiful and heartbreaking. The enduring spectrum of the modern queer.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Thick with the spoiled slick of hate and rejection; dredged with tears and brutality.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Spilling over with jubilant celebration; the flood of creative liberation.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Longing for a mulled sweetness, warmed by desire. A never sated want of un-ending thirst.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Poured from a history of silence and enduring strength. Poured from shadows of the past into an illuminated future.

Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

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