Hello! My name is Jade Matias Bell, and I’m currently an Art History major at the University of Southern California.
I write to make sense of my own life. I think this has always been true, but in the past year or so it’s become more and more essential to my writing. I also think, however, that I write to open myself up to the world around me. To me, writing is like speaking in that its purpose is not just to make noise, but to start a communication with the world. This mode of thinking might make the writer more vulnerable, but it also makes them more open to experiencing the world in a fulfilling and maybe even beautiful way.
The nonfiction writer Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my biggest inspirations. Her writing deftly handles both political and deeply personal themes and is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever read. The language she uses somehow manages to overflow with both introspection and empathy at the same time – I think that any real social change requires a healthy dose of both. It isn’t easy to stay focused both on a grand cause and the people it affects, but she somehow manages it, and that inspires me to do the same in my own life and for the causes that matter to me.
As to recommendations – I recently finished Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, which might be one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for a wonderful piece of fabulism, read it; if you’re looking for a brilliant memoir, read it. Kingston does a stunning job of weaving her heritage together with her personal experience and the truth of her life with the fiction of it; the result is brutal and gorgeous and glorious, and I highly recommend it.
I also really recommend The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley. I’m only about halfway through right now, but it’s so intensely dreamy and weird (it’s SUPER weird) that I can’t resist adding it on.
I’m so excited to be helping out with One Pen One Page, and here’s to much reading and writing to come!