I’m a writer. It’s all I do—all I’ve ever done—because it’s the only thing I’m good at. People assume I’m making a joke when I say that. I’m not. I don’t knit, decorate, garden, draw, run marathons or ski. I have no sense of direction. I can’t even hem my own pants; and I’m 5-foot-3, so they always need hemming. I write because it’s how I think.
I have an MFA from the University of Iowa. Not from the famous writer’s workshop but from the much less famous nonfiction program, which was nice enough to let me in, give me a fellowship and teach me many great things. I love essays. An essay is the story of an idea. Here’s a link to one of my favorites, The Fourth State of Matter, also written by an Iowa nonfiction grad.
Despite my “nonfiction” training, I published a novel, A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards, with Scribner in 2005. Then I hacked away at a bad book for the next several years. I did at least five wholesale revisions before my agent (bless him) told me to give it up. It just didn’t work. I put that manuscript away and about a week later, I started writing The Forever Marriage, my actual second novel. It was done in nine months.
I live in Minneapolis, with my husband and teenage daughter. I have two adult sons nearby. We used to own a big house near a lake, with tons of space that I didn’t decorate. But this year we sold it and moved into a small apartment so we can travel more. Now we own a motorcycle, a coffeemaker and two laptops. I find I really like a small life.
It’s important to mention that I don’t write alone. Writers need very smart people between their random thoughts and the reading public. I have some of the best. My agent, Esmond Harmsworth, doesn’t just sell my work he guides it and helps me puzzle through it. My Iowa colleague, Steve Rosse, reads and shapes nearly everything I write. I’ve also been extremely lucky to work with great editors: Sarah McGrath, Stephanie Gorton, Michael Hanson, Joy Press, Lori Leibovich and Sarah Hepola.
Believe me, Ann Bauer makes a whole lot more sense after these people touch the words.