Work defines us. Especially in a recession, jobs and the workplace are an integral part of American identity, even as they disappear. DW Gibson’s Not Working (OR Books) is both travelogue and intense human dialog, traversing the United States to collect the stories of Americans who have lost their jobs. Inspired by the great oral historian Studs Terkel’s Working, Gibson’s tome is a touching and all-too-necessary text for 2012. From the East Coast through the middle of our country, and on out West, Gibson, armed with a recorder, van, and tremendous pathos, recorded people whose stories contain both tragedy and humor, a stubborn will to survive despite their desperate circumstances. From sharing food with their dogs to taking long walks to starting new careers they never thought they would fall into, Gibson draws candid stories from these Americans. Interviewer on interviewer, we spoke with Gibson about why work defines us, water coolers, aspiring, what we do when we lose work, and how we can change this loss into something transformative and beautiful.

Read the full interview in Interview magazine

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