A Variation on the Dream Gig

‘If you want to be a writer, it’s dangerous to have a job,’ [Wallace Shawn] says. ‘My own father was an example. He wanted to be writer. He ended up getting a job, and his life followed the direction of the job.’ Back then, Wally was forced to follow his own quirky, unconventional path. He told me he’d ‘sold stock in himself’—his way of rationalizing a twenty-five-hundred-dollar loan he took from a consortium of friends in the sixties, in order to go off and write his plays. (To this day, the investors receive a small yearly check).

—John Lahr, “The Dangling Man,” The New Yorker, 15 April 1996

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