“Myth, Reality & The Underground Railroad” is a usefully humbling piece in the New York Times for Friends about the Underground Railroad: scholarly work shows that most runaways did it largely on their own, a great many whites exaggerated or invented their URR support after the Civil War, and that actual white URR activists were often valiant, but relatively few in number and were marginalized & vilified by both respectable folk & dangerous mobs.
<< Here’s my life. My husband and I get up each morning at 7 o’clock and he showers while I make coffee. By the time he’s dressed I’m already sitting at my desk writing. He kisses me goodbye then leaves for the job where he makes good money, draws excellent benefits and gets many perks, such as travel, catered lunches and full reimbursement for the gym where I attend yoga midday. His career has allowed me to work only sporadically, as a consultant, in a field I enjoy. >>
Yeah, okay. Here’s my life as a published writer:
I’m now retired. I get up when I need to. I live pretty cheap, within the Social Security checks that come in monthly. As a result, I can write full-time and FTW.
The output? In two years – plus, five book titles. More to come, until something gives out, probably me.
Ann Bauer continues:
<< All that disclosure is crass, I know. I’m sorry. Because in this world where women will sit around discussing the various topiary shapes of their bikini waxes, the conversation about money (or privilege) is the one we never have. Why? I think it’s the Marie Antoinette syndrome: Those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. >>
Well, crass or not, you, dear readers ain’t riffraff, and I don’t mind you knowing a few more details.
First point: I am NOT Marie Antoinette.
My current “simple luxury” way of life is, as mentioned, only a couple years old. And before that, I had to work. Help raise four kids. Cope with various ups and downs — getting laid off, divorce, publications folding under me,presidents named Bush, wars, rumors of wars, yada yada.
And even so, I wrote and published a bunch of books. (I mean, who needs to sleep?)
On February 1, 1965, I was arrested in Selma, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King and 250 others. Here’s what happened that day, and how I ended up eating Dr. King’s dinner.
I – Blocking the View, Blocking the Road
That morning, I was too tense to eat. Keyed up and ready, my thoughts were full of armies marching to battle.
It was February 1, 1965. I was part of a nonviolent “army” – or at least a battalion – set to march in Selma, Alabama that day. Our objective, the territory we hoped to occupy, was downtown, the Dallas County jail; we planned to capture it by getting arrested.
My first book was published in 1967, and I haven’t really stopped since. Most of them have been either self-published or issued by small presses. That reflects both my stubbornness in the face of publisher bad judgment (i.e., rejection), and a preoccupation with niche subjects (e.g., Quakers) plus hopeless causes (peace, civil rights, ending torture). It hasn’t been all “vanity” — some titles have sold several thousand copies, and overall, I haven’t lost money on the efforts. Nowadays — hallelujah! — self-publishing is a mass phenomenon, and (almost) respectable.