Making a Miracle Come True!

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

-Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gordon-Hays-Artwork/380616048717195

The Good Life with Gordon

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Good-Life-with-Gordon/1463801707210100

 

Advertisements

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.

 

The Luxury of Dreaming

Yesterday, after an insightful phone conversation with my aunt, I was lost in thought about the luxury of dreaming. We were discussing the hardships of the people who came before us in our family, paving the way for our experience in this lifetime. I posed the question to her-Why is it that we come from a line of people who placed importance on order, working hard, and living modestly? And yet, there exists a drive within myself to reach beyond that way of life, exploring the things I am passionate about and daring to dream. My aunt said something very profound to me that I had not pieced together before now. Imagining the hardships of my family’s past, dreaming wasn’t available to them. Striving to survive doesn’t leave room for the luxury of pursuing your dreams. Thinking on my family’s narrative, I am reminded of where I have come from, and where I desire to go.

In my lifetime, I have the luxury of pursuing my dreams, and for that I am grateful. Recently, I shared a piece of poetic narrative with fellow blogger ‘Seeing the Whisper.’ I was so honored to see my own words reflected back to me through that experience, and I wanted to share that piece here. I wrote the words listed below just before leaving my hometown and moving to a place I had never been. I continue to pioneer into the wild unknown, blessed with the luxury of dreaming.

Dear Life

“Dear Reader, do you remember your passion? I’m not writing of desire, although it has its’ place. I’m writing of your passion. At the very core of you, the call you can’t resist, but daily hide under a veil of responsibility. Your passion-what you dream of in spare moments…the ‘if only.’ You only have one shot at this lifetime. One chance, now, to do the thing you are meant to do. Will you let it slip by? Inside of me a fire burns to create. Any way I can find to create from nothing, and bring into being something. For so long, I denied this creating its’ place in my life. I decided during one of the hardest times of my life, as tears leaked down my face-I will sink my teeth into my dream, and I will not let go. I will hold on. I will follow my heart, my dream against every obstacle, against every opinion. I just want the chance to lay my handprint on our timeline. Write my initials in history like wet concrete.” -Gordon Hays, 2009

Image: “Dear Life” by Gordon Hays, 2010

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gordon-Hays-Artwork/380616048717195

The Good Life with Gordon

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Good-Life-with-Gordon/1463801707210100

Word Art

G Word Art

WordPress inspires Word Art. This is how I describe myself in words and color. How would you describe yourself? Imagine and create!

by Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gordon-Hays-Artwork/380616048717195

The Good Life with Gordon

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Good-Life-with-Gordon/1463801707210100

 

How to be a Creative Pioneer.

Why do I rage? Yesterday, there was nothing safe from my scathing eye. In the words of Adele, I could have set fire to the rain. I smoldered with an inward inferno. In the days’ wake, I left behind the ashes of customers who challenged me, classmates who crossed my path, and assignments nearly due. Probably best that when the days’ must do’s were done, I withdrew from the world.

I’ve heard it’s a guy thing, but withdrawing provides perspective. Being far removed, I can take a deep breath and begin to investigate.

So, why do I rage? It’s the aftermath of unexpected vulnerability. Yesterday, an impromptu presentation in my Fine Arts class left me feeling embarrassed and personally exposed. The I should have said this, and should have done that’s began to pile up in my mind. Frustrated, I realized, because I had no armor. This is vulnerability. To put yourself out there, even in circumstances outside of your control and surrender to the outcome.

As creatives, how do we embrace vulnerability when it seems the world is full of critics, ready and willing to tear us down? I’ve been listening to interviews with Brene’ Brown, author of Daring Greatly who relates powerful insights about the importance of vulnerability in our society. It is important despite any potential criticism to share our creative voice with the world. Today, after sitting with my reflections I am choosing to look at my experience as a valuable one. I made a note during class about why it is important to go through uncomfortable experiences like the one I had yesterday. The willingness to go through a vulnerable moment means that you become a leader, not a follower. You forge into the unknown, like a creative pioneer. And although not always easy, I realize now that it is a part of the process.

Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gordon-Hays-Artwork/380616048717195

The Good Life with Gordon

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Good-Life-with-Gordon/1463801707210100

About the Artist

More than an Artist, I hope to be a Wayshower. I am joyful, creative, intuitive and passionate about the beautiful mystery we all experience. My work reflects each of these attributes, and when the opportunity presents itself, I am able to offer support to others without diminishing myself. I don’t have to “be” anything, but present to the moment, and authentically me. As a Wayshower, I guide people to themselves, and what they already know.
People don’t always understand our choices, and in misunderstanding, we don’t receive validation from others that what we are doing is good, or that we are good. But, as I have learned to do, I believe in myself more, and offer myself that validation, looking for it less outside of myself.
Being intuitive is a lesson in patience, because we often find ourselves waiting for people to catch up to what we already know.
Gordon Hays 2013

Discover Marina Abramovic

“The artist has to be a warrior. Has to have this determination, and has to have the stamina to conquer not just new territory but also to conquer himself and his weaknesses.”
–Marina Abramovic, The Artist is Present

I remember the first time I was introduced to Marina Abramovic’s work. A reenactment of her piece, The House with the Ocean View was featured on the popular television series Sex and the City. In that particular episode, Carrie and Charlotte visit a gallery to see the performance. Challenging the message of the performance, Carrie states, “If you put a phone up on that platform, it’s just a typical Friday night, waiting for some guy to call” (Season Six: Episode 12). While presented as a joke, there is a measure of truth in Carrie’s analysis. And, perhaps that was Abramovic’s intent all along. When Abramovic’s work is deconstructed, the message becomes very simple. Abramovic emphasizes the everyday struggle to be present in our lives. Slowing down, taking time to reflect, and looking inward are often themes in the narrative of Abramovic’s work.

Marina Abramovic
This WordPress post today is part of an assignment for my Fine Arts class. Abramovic is featured in our text book, and it was during this class I discovered Abramovic’s documentary film The Artist is Present, which documents her retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 2010. For this installation, Abramovic created a performance piece that allowed museum visitors to come and sit in front of her individually. Abramovic remained in the gallery from the time it opened until it closed every day of the exhibition, seated, as audience members came to sit before her. Performance art is defined by an aspect of audience participation. And in this piece, Abramovic acted as a mirror to those people who sat opposite her. For some, the experience was deeply emotional, for others a brief exchange. But, through it all Abramovic made herself present and available. This was Abramovic’s purpose. To connect the audience with themselves, acting as a symbolic bridge, Abramovic incorporated audience participation in an effort to encourage viewers to slow down, and engage in connection. While not every attendee sat with Abramovic, approximately 850,000 people visited the gallery during Abramovic’s installation. The impact of Abramovic’s work is evident in her mass following that includes pop culture icons like Lady Gaga and Jay Z. I encourage you to discover Marina Abramovic’s work, and experience this powerful artist.

Work Cited

Akers, Matthew. The Artist is Present. Perf. Marina Abramovic. HBO Documentary Films, 2012. DVD.
King, Michael Patrick. Sex and the City Season Six: Episode 12. Perf. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Dixon. HBO Video, 2004. DVD.