I'm taking a post-grad course in teaching creative writing. Here's one of the texts:
The title is the only exciting thing about it. From what I gather, it's a history of privileged white males teaching privileged white males how to subsist as writers. (Okay, so there are a couple of women in there, but one gives up her Bohemian lifestyle due to breast cancer and the other offs herself with a nasty dose of cyanide).
It's my long standing beef with writing in general that only those with means (or a spouse with means) can pursue it. How different the landscape would look if those who lack the privilege and self-esteem that comes with having a place in the world could speak. I might be going out on a limb here (not really), but I bet more people would read if more people were invited to write.
A writing life requires resources; but more than that, it requires a belief in oneself. I tried to explain once to some people of means what a difference it makes to grow up with the reality of possibility. Seeing people around you succeed makes success a matter of course; seeing the people around you crying over unpaid bills, or fighting and arguing about food and rent, makes success seem more like winning the lottery. The idea of it is just too overwhelming and fickle to risk going after.
I will say this, though: those who don't grow up surrounded by the privilege of possibility, and who succeed in spite of the odds, will blow everyone else out of the water. The strength it takes to overcome the barriers of society and education is unmatched by the limitations of society and education.
My interest in teaching is not to subsist (as the history of teaching creative writing suggests is one motivation), but to open the door just enough for those who are locked out, so that they may blast it off its hinges.
It's possible that could happen.