Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women

Overview

Life Notes is the first collection devoted exclusively to writings from the journals, diaries, and personal notebooks of contemporary black women.
These intensely personal testimonies illuminate the complexities of black women's lives, offering unique reflections about self, family, intimacy, work, politics, life transitions, violation, and recovery.

These intensely personal testimonies illuminate the complexities of black women's ...

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Overview

Life Notes is the first collection devoted exclusively to writings from the journals, diaries, and personal notebooks of contemporary black women.
These intensely personal testimonies illuminate the complexities of black women's lives, offering unique reflections about self, family, intimacy, work, politics, life transitions, violation, and recovery.

These intensely personal testimonies illuminate the complexities of black women's lives, offering unique reflections about self, family, intimacy, work, politics, life transitions, violation, and recovery. Contributors include Rita Dove, Jamaica Kincaid, Alice Walker, and many previously unpublished writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Maya Angelou
“Featured here are works by such well-known authors as bell hooks, Jamaica Kincaid, Rita Dove, Audre Lorde, and Alice Walker, as well as by emerging and previously unpublished writers. The contributors are native daughters from three continents and the Caribbean, ranging in age from eight to sixty. Never in all the years have I encountered as intimate work as Life Notes. Each woman spoke secretly to me and only me, and I appreciated every admission.”
Gloria Steinem
“Life Notes is a collection of pieces that are intimate and universal, accessible and profound. Let traditional novelists eat their hearts out—for these women have written their hearts out.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This involving collection gathers more than 50 excerpts (some previously published) from the diaries and journals of black women from North America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean islands. The writings are arranged by loose subjects such as childhood, the search for self, hardships and love. Bell-Scott, who co-edited Double stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers and Daughters , has made her selections with an emphasis on diversity. Included are pieces written by women of varying ages, backgrounds and expectations, women with disabilities and lesbians. Some of the writers are well-known (Alice Walker, Rita Dove, Audre Lorde); others are new voices. In an unusual testimony, Faith Aidele describes the time she lived as a Buddhist nun. These personal writings offer a unique look at the experience of being black and female. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Intimate, intensive, and illuminating are just a few words that describe this emotionally enriched anthology. Forty-nine writers, published and unpublished, from three continents and the Caribbean contribute excerpts from their journals, diaries, and personal notebooks. Editor Bell-Scott ( Doublestitch , Beacon Pr., 1991) has collected the work of these writers, from the famous, like bell hooks, to those unknown to American readers, in order to highlight of the complexities and obstacles faced by black women from a broad spectrum throughout their lives. Highly recommended for readers from all backgrounds interested in literature and for those involved in the fields of mental health and self-therapy.-- Gayle Leach-Bethea , Maryland House of Corrections, Jessup
School Library Journal
YA-This marvelous anthology includes the unedited, uncensored journal entries of 50 black women written in the form of prose, letters, poetry, self-dialogue, or meditations. They are artists, educators, activists, lesbians, students, unemployed, homemakers, divorced, single mothers, and disabled. America, Europe, and Africa are represented. Divided into eight sections and ranging from early childhood to middle years to old age, the selections feature women's reflections on work, love, self-identity, child abuse, racial prejudice, political commentaries, and creating one's own place in this society. The memories are at times funny, raunchy, poignant, and tragic, but always speak to the human condition. Some famous authors, such as Alice Walker, Rita Dove, and Bell Hooks, have made contributions. However, Bell-Scott's goals are to honor the nameless who record their lives in the face of enormous disadvantages; share the richness of experiences lost when diversity is ignored; authenticate women's ability to speak for themselves; and encourage other generations to write for self-knowledge, empowerment, and posterity. They are beautifully met in this enriching and enlightening collection.-Pat Royal, Crossland High School, Camp Springs, MD
Booknews
A collection of personal writings, diaries and journals by black women from three continents and the Caribbean. Selections by well-known authors such as Alice Walker, bell hooks, and Audre Lorde are included, as well as writing by unknown and unpublished writers. The youngest contributor is an eight-year-old from Nigeria; the oldest is a 65-year-old retired African American telephone operator. All offer unique reflections on the complexities of black women's lives. Includes notes on contributors. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393312065
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/17/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 430
  • Sales rank: 1,434,496
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Bell-Scott is co-editor of the best-selling Doublestitch: Black Women Write About Mothers and Daughters, which earned the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Prize. She is also co-founding editor of Sage: A Scholarly Journal of Black Women and teaches at the University of Georgia.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 13
Black Women Writing Lives: An Introduction 17
Acknowledgments 27
Pt. 1 Reflecting Girlhood
In Her Womb 31
Chocolate Tears and Dreams 44
Fire and Snow 54
Myself 63
Weeds 66
Arrival 69
Pt. 2 Searching for Self
At an Artist's Colony 79
A Sistah Outsider 92
The Sins of Our Fathers 110
Oreo Blues 126
A Hair Piece 142
Pt. 3 Meaning and Work
Black Woman Artist Becoming 151
The House That Jill Built 160
Sometimes a Poem is Twenty Years of Memory 175
At Yaddo 183
Pt. 4 Living Love
Not Letting Go of My Anchor 191
Breaking the Ties That Bind Me 214
Setting Relationship Limits 220
Golden Boy 229
Three Daughters 231
Pt. 5 Naming Violation and Betrayal
Reflections of Breaking Glass 241
Love in the Time of AIDS 244
Writing, Screaming, and Healing 249
Holding On and Remembering 266
Flashbacks and Wounded Children 271
Pt. 6 Fighting Back
The Cancer Journals 275
The Years In Between 281
A Small Place 300
And Still Rise 309
The Boston Murders 315
Milwaukee Uncle 321
Pt. 7 Claiming a New Self
Starting Over 327
On Turning Fifty 336
Going Through My Changes 341
Jive Talk and Random Thoughts 345
Looking 348w
On "Going Home" 350
Natural Monuments 355
Pt. 8 Writing from a Different Place
Ubud, Bali 361
Standing Alone with Myself 364
Differences and Blurred Vision 389
Bullet Holes of Resistance 398
Beautifully Ugly 401
Showing Our True Colors 408
Afterword 411
Contributors 415
Credits 427
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