And this makes her…exactly like the vast majority of working writers. Most authors, some of them very good writers, never make a living off their books. In fact, arguably, writing books makes no economic sense whatsoever.

Before novels like Bel Canto and State Of Wonder began paying her bills, Patchett not only worked as a waitress at TGI Fridays, but she wrote for the likes of Seventeen andBridal Guide. Just like Dickens at the blacking factory and Wallace Stevens at the insurance office, Patchett punched her timecard for a while outside the confines of the ivy tower and the high art hothouse.

NPR review of Ann Patchett’s new essay collection

 

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