I prefer to call it luck. Or even, when my hubris and self-esteem triumph over reality, hard work and talent.
I rarely stop and reflect on the reality, which is that my ability to work as a writer and a journalist is more due to the demographic group I belong to than to anything about me as an individual.
And if I look back at all the early breaks that I had that helped me along the way – the ones that made it possible for me to get a start and reach a point where my work could start talking for me – there were several layers of privilege at work.
What has brought this to mind is a Salon column by novelist Ann Bauer, calling out two (unidentified) writers for failing to acknowledge the role privilege played in their success.
One, a man who she describes as a “magnificent non-fictionist” (and heir to “a mammoth fortune”), explained that he had written magazine articles to get by (and pay his children’s nannies) in the decade it took to craft his latest work. Anyone familiar with the rate of pay for magazine articles these days would have to chuckle at the idea that they would pay for a single nanny, much less multiples, or any other living costs.