Once, when I was about 19 or 20, I darted past Bloomingdale’s in New York, running late to something—I forget—and literally ran into a large, imposing figure walking out of the shop as I sprinted by. I felt as if I had ran into a brick wall. As I stood there in a daze, rubbing my nose, I heard this majestic voice say every-so-slowly, “Child, slow down. Where on earth could be more important than being with your self right now?” My knees started to wobble when I realized this person was Maya Angelou. She glided off, in that regal way of hers, before I could fix my lips to apologize. And that’s why there’s a nod to her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which I had just read around that time in the title of my book Bird of Paradise… I wish I could have told her that in person, but alas, I never ran into her again.