Classism and literature: when it takes great means to make great art

Writer Ann Bauer is the author of ‘A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards’ and ‘The Forever Marriage.’

Local author Ann Bauer has a confession to make. She says behind her writing is a financial support system that many aspiring writers don’t have, but most successful writers do. And yet, they don’t seem to want to talk about it. She has a theory why:

I think it’s the Marie Antoinette syndrome: those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. After all, if ‘those people” understood the differences in our lives, they might revolt. Or, God forbid, not see us as somehow more special, talented and/or deserving than them.

Bauer cites two recent author talks when, asked how they managed to support their writing careers, purposefully evaded mentioning the fact that they were heirs to significant fortunes, or had high-class business connections.

In my opinion, we do an enormous “let them eat cake” disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed.

I can’t claim the wealth of the first author (not even close); nor do I have the connections of the second. I don’t have their fame either… But I do have a huge advantage over the writer who is living paycheck to paycheck, or lonely and isolated, or dealing with a medical condition, or working a full-time job.

Bauer goes on to detail those privileges she does have, and invites others to do the same.

You can read the rest of Bauer’s essay on Between the Margins.