Writing from the Darkness – Bell Hooks

Bell Hooks
Gloria Jean Watkins (born September 25, 1952), better known by her pen name Bell Hooks is an American author, feminist, and social activist. The name “bell hooks” is derived from that of her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.

The focus of hooks’s writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She has published over 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures. Primarily through a postmodern perspective, she has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.

Family Life
Bell Hooks family was used to being open and decided that writing was more of an open activity. Literary was not valued and for her to engage in writing and it was considered bad.

Safe Writing
Bell doesn’t believe that safe writing is for the public. Bell believes that you can write without giving much away.

Destroy the Diaries
Bell wanted to destroy her diaries because they documented personal things.

Autonomous Voice
“Diaries provided a space for me to develop an autonomous voice and that meant such writing, once sanctioned, because suspect (Hooks 73).

Family Read Diaries
“This was reinforced when my sisters would find and read my diaries, then deliver them to our mother as evidence that I was truly a mad person, an alien, a stranger in their household” (Hooks 73).

Shadow Self
Bell wanted to allow her shadowed-self to be able to be expressed.

Hold onto Life
Bell wanted to “hold on her life” as well as grow into a healed person.

Shadows
“I was not trying to be rid of the shadows, I wanted instead to enter them. That encounter enabled me to learn the self anew in ways that allowed transformation in consciousness and being. Resurrecting the shadow-self, I could finally embrace it, and by so doing coming back to myself” (Bell 77).

Controlling Images
Controlling images and having her own voice and reclaiming her voice was important to Hooks. Referencing the old and moving on. She saw her diary as a suppressed feeling.

Personal reflection
“Perhaps there was for her no safe place, nowhere that the unnamed could be voiced, remembered, held” (Hooks 76).

Empowered and healed
Life writing can be healing and empowering.

Psychological Affect
Bell thought she may be going crazy.

Separation of Poetry vs. Diary Writing
Hooks separates poetry from diary writing. She expresses how she “began writing poetry about the same time” that she “began keeping diaries” (Hooks 75). Hooks diary was a form of confrontation and poetry was moving behind it and healing.

Me of Me
The Diaries concealed who she really was.