If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s life was anything but normal. At the age of 16, she became the first Black woman to drive a San Francisco cable car. Later, after training as a dancer, actress, and singer, she toured with the musical “Porgy and Bess.” She also recorded an album of calypso music, wrote and acted in plays, composed film soundtracks, and organized protests against racial discrimination. Though she is now known primarily as a poet and autobiographer, she never limited herself to just one identity. Even Angelou’s writing practice might seem a bit eccentric: She would check herself into a hotel room in the morning with a legal pad, deck of cards, Bible, thesaurus, and a bottle of sherry, and write until early afternoon. The goal, as she put it, was to “enchant” herself: to "relive the agony, the anguish,” and to feel at last the ecstatic relief of telling her truth.