Volunteer Karolina examines her writer crush on David Sedaris.
Okay, it’s official. I think I have developed a full blown writer-crush. After seeing David Sedaris read at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, I was completely star struck. And after he signed two of my books, I could barely speak, I was so excited.
Before you start thinking I’m some kind of crazed fan, let me explain. David Sedaris has written books of hilarity such as Holidays on Iceand Me Talk Pretty One Day—books that have literally made me laugh out loud. He’s also contributed to NPR’s This American Life—also funny. In fact, he’s even funny on stage when he’s not even reading something he’s written.
Sedaris is a talented comedian who has a gift for writing dark and difficult pieces in a humorous light…not an easy thing to do. This talent is something I particularly admire, especially because I myself am not very good at “writing funny.” He makes it look so easy that you have to wonder if he puts any effort into it at all.
But he’s more than just a writer and comedian; Sedaris is a true performer. On stage, he has a warm and genuine presence, easing his audience into a conversation, carefully building them up to the punch line.
Attending one of his readings was a real treat, especially because he divides his time between Paris and London and doesn’t make it to this side of the pond very often. Sedaris read excerpts from his diary and unpublished essays. It was interesting to watch him. As he read, he made markings on his pages, perhaps judging peoples’ reactions to his jokes.
In between essays and diary excerpts, he told jokes and anecdotes from his personal life, seamlessly weaving each piece together into one connected narrative especially prepared for this particular audience. Though I’m sure he must have used similar stories and essays throughout his tour, his connection with the audience felt real.
At the end of his reading, he told the audience he likes to ask weird questions during his book signings. I snuck out early to get a good spot in line for the signing (I was fourth), but didn’t miss anything because Strathmore had speakers outside of the theatre so you could hear the performance.
When I went up to get my book signed, he was eating a very delicious-looking salad from P.F. Chang’s and made conversation with me between bites. He did not ask me any strange questions. I told him I write, so on one of my books, he doodled a book and labeled it “Your Book.” Sweet. The second book, though, he signed with “I’m so happy you can walk.”
Though I’m not really sure what he meant—my friend speculated that my awkward communication (I was nervous) might have spurred him to joke about my capabilities—I am still delighted to have two of his books personally signed. Maybe he got to the weird questions later on down the line. In any case, the David Sedaris reading was more than just witnessing a successful author read sections from a published piece, it was a whole experience—one I will definitely not forget and certainly won’t miss the next time he comes around.