The Have and Have Nots?

My response to an article at Literary Hub called, “HOW THE LITERARY CLASS SYSTEM IS IMPOVERISHING LITERATURE-ON THE SYSTEMIC ECONOMIC BARRIERS TO BEING A WRITER.” Writer Lorraine Berry discusses her views on MFA degrees as a (possible) form of elitist class privilege:

Interesting article. It did make we wonder if the discussion has to be so (seemingly) black and white. I know of many writers with MFAs who have worked hard at their craft while working two and three jobs to pay for grad school.

While I agree your colleague’s comment shows a narrow view of what makes a writer worthwhile, not all individuals with MFAs come from that Sontag class of privilege. I envied those individuals in my MFA program who didn’t have to work full-time. And I didn’t have the luxury to finish my book by writing all day like Flannery O’Connor did either.

I had to get up at 4 AM to write before going in to work, write on my lunch breaks, and after getting home from a ten hour day to get my first novel published from a small press. All without an agent.

Nothing in my experience has been easy, and I hope I never feel like I have to apologize for working so hard to get my MFA.

I know many fine writers without one who share similar experiences with the ups and downs of the writing life, but I feel there is more common ground than looking at this as the have and the have nots.

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