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Not exactly a household name, Wallace Shawn has penned a dozen essays on a mélange of subjects.

Book CoverNot exactly a household name (except in certain effete and cultivated households) thespian (his credits include over a hundred movie and TV appearances--My Dinner With Andre, Shadows and Fog, Toy Story, The Princess Bride, Life on Mars among them) playwright (The Designated Mourner and The Fever) Wallace Shawn, scion of revered New Yorker editor, brother of composer Allan Shawn, has penned Essays (Haymarket Press), a dozen pieces on a mélange of subjects. In the case of Shawn, the question is not about what he has written but why. Here's his explanation:
...I like to take a break from fantasyland, and go off to the place called Reality for a brief vacation. Its happened a dozen or so in the course of my life I've looked at the world from my own point of view and I've written these essays, I've written essays about reality, the world and I've even written a few essays about the dreamworld of "art" in which I normally dwell. In a bold mood I've brooded once or twice on the question, Where do the dreams go, and what do they do, in the world of the real?

...the schizophrenic nature of this a pretty good picture of my own mind. Born by most definitions into the ruling class, I was destined to lead a comfortable life. And to spend one's life as a so-called "creative artist" is probably the most comfortable, cozy and privileged life that one can live on this earth...

To lie in bed and watch words bump together until they become sentences is a form of hedonism...Its very agreeable to live like that...but I am not quite enough of a hedonist to forget it [the world] entirely and other words I've been divided like this book...

Some how poetry and the search for a more just order on earth are not contradictory and rational thought and dreams are not contradictory and there may be something necessary as well as ridiculous in the odd activity of racing back and forth on the bridge between reality and the world of dreams.
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