“This will be the last decent day we’re going to have.” David Sedaris reflecting on the day before the Inauguration. Glad Thom and I got to share a fun evening with this smart, diverse, witty guy instead of watching that narcissistic, lying, cheating racist prepare to destroy our democracy. But enough about the rosy future of our nation…
Billed as a chance to help David Sedaris edit his next book, we quickly bought tickets and looked forward to time with this genius writer and keen observer of life. Used to seeing David in a large venue like Benroya Hall, it was nice to get cozy with David and about 200 other hard core fans at The Broadway Performance Hall at Seattle Community College.
“Theft by Finding” will end up being 2 books based on David’s 156 volumes of diaries from 1997-2002. Because “books get ugly when too fat”, David was editing the 630 pages he currently had for volume 1 before sending it off to his publishers next week with an anticipated May release. His next book will be coming out a year after that and will be a collection of short essays, a few of which he shared, giving us all a much needed laugh to the point of tears streaming down our faces. Much to look forward to, at least in books.
David opened his presentation by introducing two locals looking for jobs: Aaron and Julia. Peppering them with questions that HR could never ask like “are you gay?” “how old are you?”, he encouraged the audience to consider helping these fine folks out, including a recommendation that Julia appreciated sexual harassment and would never sue. Oh, David.
He has broken down his diary entries into categories: animal, people, drugs, assholes, travel, hard luck, asking for $, IHOP (a place he goes to observe people), etc. Needing to edit clumsy passages if “There’s no music to it”, the book will be a culmination of the best that the diaries have to offer and thus the enormous size of the books as they stand now. More pages are good for me, David, so don’t edit too much!
Looking back on many dairy entries of his travels including his forced visit to a Johnny Rocket diner where the waitresses put smiley faces on your hamburgers with ketchup but David requested a swastika instead and the reaction that elicited, his tales of his family really stand out as both relatable and hysterical. With a dad who is mostly angry and ridiculing, David related that when he recently fell off a ladder and hurt himself, he was amazed that his dad instantly turned caring after just having an argument prior to the incident. Family is family. Or his dad’s aversion to candlelight at the dinner table that his mom favored and his own aversion to the harshness of overhead lighting. Even a 15-year old David appreciated the softness of afternoon light and favored lamps covered with scarves to reduce the glare. Doesn’t every 15-year old boy?
Hugh is David’s partner and is featured in many of his diary entries. Relating when, after many years together, they finally had THE discussion of how many people they had each slept with, Hugh just kept counting, “moving on to a population of a small town”. David reflected that it was a miracle that they both didn’t get AIDS and when Hugh finally got around to sharing his “total slept with” number, David couldn’t help but state the obvious: “Whore!”
Always a fashion statement, David favors culottes and modelled a smock from Japan that had snaps up the front AND the back, though he couldn’t fathom why the snaps were needed in the back. I always look forward to his unique outfits befitting his personality.
In the Q&A, David was asked about his writing process and if he would ever write a book about it. Writer’s write and the only way to improve is to keep on writing but as far as writing a book about it: “No, it’s boring. Writing seems so dull to me” but David takes his observations of the world and shares them with us so we can laugh even in the darkest of times. Thank you, David.