Last Wednesday, David Sedaris took the stage at the Frauenthal Theater in Muskegon. I’ve read Me Talk Pretty One Day and half of Naked, so I knew I loved his writing going in, but I didn’t knew he would be such an excellent speaker.
He’s got a distinctive voice—as he’s written about extensively—and delivers wicked lines with visible glee, an infectious anticipation for cutting punch lines. Usually, you put me in a dark room and make me listen to somebody talk and I’ll be struggling to keep my eyes open in minutes, but this felt as much like a stand-up show as it did a reading.
First off he shared a few short stories which I think are works-in-progress, or at least unpublished as of yet. These were long-form hilarious. Then he read entries from his diary, short snippets built from his experiences or weird articles he’d read. The diary entries held some of my favorite lines, and it was very cool to hear stories that might not even ever be in a collection. And then he told jokes, several of which I’ve already latched onto and spread to family and friends. He asked for more at the signing, but the only really good one I know takes a minute to tell, and he had a long line waiting.
I bought a copy of When You Are Engulfed in Flames for him to sign, and was compelled to copy Bill Ryan, genius and creator of Insulted By Authors. I hope he doesn’t mind. Sedaris gave me a blank look when I asked him to write “Dear Seth, Fuck You,” but then I explained the idea and he was more than happy to comply. And offered a more creative alternative:
I like this better than a generic message.
It was an awesome night, and if I see him coming to town again I’ll be the first in line for tickets.
On an unrelated note, tomorrow marks the beginning of November and the hell of guilt and procrastination that is NaNoWriMo. Maybe this is my year.