How lovely it was to drive into my beloved Civic Theatre and see one of my favourite writers there...in my hometown!
Sedaris, for the uninitiated, is an American satirist who writes essay length pieces about his family, life and growing up in middle America. The stories are laugh out loud funny but often melancholy and sadness are found underneath the satire. I have been reading his books and articles and listening to him for years now, and his family is so familiar to me I feel like I know them...intimately.
When Sedaris tours he usually reads new pieces that he wants to publish in a book and thus reads them for reaction. It is quite remarkable. He stands there and reads these lovely pieces, some being already published online or in The New Yorker or similar. He makes little notes as he reads them, subtle changes perhaps, or noting what got laughs and what did not.
He told us his next book will be diary entries, he is a stringent diary writer. So much so, his family get nervous when he pulls his diary or notebook out to jot down something he has observed. He usually used his diary for ideas to build into an essay. This time he is working out what works and stands alone and will make up some kind of dialogue for a book. He was embarking on this 2 years ago when we saw him at the Sydney Opera House and I initially thought it was an easy way to make money! But two years later he is still working on it, so he really is all about getting it right.
He read a couple of pieces that had been published, one about picking up litter on the highway near to where he lives in the UK. I had read this before, but listening to it in his sweet, nasally voice adds to its charm and amusement. He also added little titbits at the end regarding things within, which I love. He often gives insight into his craft, which is one of my favourite thing about any artist. How did they get there and create their art!? The other pieces were set at his family holiday home, and include his family and partner Hugh, all familiar to the fans. They were great.
Finally he moved to random diary entries and they were what had us all in stitches. His view of the world is so incredibly unique and wonderful, but amusing and witty, it is superb.
He was on stage for about 90 minutes and genuinely seemed to love being there.
After L and I lined up to get books signed, ones we didn’t own. He asked L if she was Greek and me what I did for a living. The exact same questions he asked us last time! Bizarre, he seemed taken aback like he remembered that. Especially when A, who is Greek, popped her head in to say she was and hello. He got sidetracked and made a bit of a mess of what he was writing in my book, but I loved that, made it all the more unusual. He apologised in that lovely voice and how could you refuse. We smiled and walked away.
Next time, we must think of something highly bizarre to talk to him about...that’s what he loves, and why he talks at length to each fan, it gives him material...maybe we might make the next book!!!