If you don’t know who David Sedaris is, go to your nearest bookshop or library and get your hands on a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day. I’m not usually one to bark orders at anyone. But do it now. And after you are done reading Me Talk Pretty One Day, tell me one part of that book that made you laugh so hard that you cried and had to call your best friend so you could read portions of it aloud to her. The part that made me laugh and dial was the essay entitled, “The Learning Curve,” which is about his first experience teaching writing. I had to call Ginger. I recall laughing so hard trying to read it to her that it took me a while to get the words out.
David Sedaris packed the Long Center last night. For about ninety minutes, the audience hung on his every story, essay, and joke. I hung on every last word. I love his language, his humor, his irreverence, and the honesty with which he tells stories. I love that he can make me think, laugh, cringe and ache all at the same time. I love that he has insights on everything ranging from feces — or “turd,” as he liked to call it — to the deepest desires we all have for the approval of our parents. Perhaps most of all, I love that, as part of each show, he recommends a book written by someone else. Last night, in recommending Tobias Wolff’s The Barracks Thief, he said something very close to, “I like the person I am when I finish a Tobias Wolff book.”
Oh, Mr. Sedaris, I love the writer you are. I hope one day to have the chance to sit down with you to get to know the person you are. (Yes, I know it sounds nuts to think that I might have that chance. But these days, I’m into dreaming big.)