About a Little Black Country Girl – Part 1 of 5

Delivery – A couple of days ago I got after much longing and expectation two books in the mail: “Teaching to Transgress” by bell hooks, and “Trojan Horse” by Page du Bois. Since I’ve already talked a bit about du Bois, let me tell you about my first impressions about bell hooks.

Against the current – I must confess from the start that, for some reason, I have great resistance against people who have a legion of very admiring fans. For instance, if I had already been around in the 60’s, I’d probably never get to like the Beatles the way I do. It was probably this tendency to go against the current that made me postpone reading Paulo Freire for so long. He seemed to be to have a bewitching influence on his readers, and I simply refused to expose myself to the powers of a guru of this calibre. Until there was finally no other way around it, and then I realised why it was that he was so loved. I got bewitched too.

bell hooks – The same was true of bell hooks. People spoke fondly of her; too many people, too fondly. Ergo, I was suspicious. But then someone told me that for the kind of concern I had in my writing, she was a crucial author to read. The old narcissistic trick worked once again. There went I to check it out, though I was determined to look for every little divergence so as to preserve my own Esterical uniqueness.

Surrender – And then, despite all my prejudice and resistance, I didn’t have to read more than a page to surrender. I joined the legion of the many who think of her fondly. I felt that her words were my own, that I was reading myself, even though her life experience was so different from mine. I loved her style, so colloquial, so passionate, so thoughtful, showing in every line that her brain was as sensitive as her clever heart. I was bewitched. Again.

Check pluses – She too liked Paulo Freire, which was a big check plus. Still, though with a respect and sincere admiration, she criticised and challenged him. Double check plus. She even had the chance to see him and talk to him, to exchange ideas with him over an ice-cream. This made me super jealous. Triple check plus.

Life on paper – I really liked the earnest and simple way she spoke about her life, her passion, her fears, about teaching, her analysis of the academic pressure to write all in one format. I knew what she was talking about. And her life made me think of my own, and of so many people I know.

To be continued…

Tune in tomorrow for the second episode of this esterical minisseries!

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