I think that anyone who's pushed to do the very best that they can is privileged. It's a luxury.
Proust writes, he remembers, physically. He depends on his body to give him the information that will bring him to the past. His book is called 'In Search of Lost Time,' and he does it through the senses. He does it through smell. He does it through feeling. He does it through texture. It is all physically driven, that language.
I've read probably 25 or 30 books by Balzac, all of Tolstoy - the novels and letters - and all of Dickens. I learned my craft from these guys.
Optimism with some experience behind it is much more energizing than plain old experience with a certain degree of cynicism.