After months of waiting (and missing his last local reading due to childbirth), we attended a David Sedaris reading last night. It was beyond terrific. He read two long stories, neither of which have been published yet, and one that he was reading for the first time. (Actually, both might have been debut readings -- I can't be sure based on his comments.) There were some amazing moments when the laughter caused him to pause then begin a sentence again, and at one point the repetitions (2) sparked more laughter each time, and you could just see the joy on his face -- it was like the entire audience became a play thing and all he had to do was say those 5 little words over and over until we all collapsed from laughing so hard. The first will eventually appear in The New Yorker, which he told us has a special rule just for him that allows him only one scatalogical reference per story.
After reading these two stories, he told us he'd done a summer tour and then a European tour supporting Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and, holding the book up, said, "If I ever read from this book again, it will be too soon." So instead he read from Holidays on Ice. It was only 9:00 or so when he said he would end the evening by reading from his diary, but he read quite a bit -- entries from as long ago as 1999 and as recent as last week. Then he said that he likes to promote different books on his tours, and told us about a book he said he read in about 4 hours and found immensely funny, even though he doesn't seek out funny books. It's called The Columnist by Jeffrey Frank, a novel about a conservative political columnist who is writing his memoir. He made sly reference to our current president that drew thunderous applause, and then finished by promoting not a book, but a thing -- Germany. He'd just returned and is becoming more and more enamored of the country, and encouraged everyone to visit, despite the sit-down campaign.
When the show ended, we went right out to the book line where I got a paperback copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day for my sister (she has the audiobook), a copy of Dress Your Family..., and a copy of The Columnist, and then waited in line for over an hour to meet DS and have him sign the books. In person, he is surprisingly warm and very friendly and we had a nice little conversation with him as he signed the books. We talked about people he'd written about, like Penny Midland and Mr. Mancini, or the couple from "Picka Pocketoni". He said he never felt badly about writing about that particular couple, but he recently wrote something about a neighbor in Normandy who is American but began speaking English with a horrid French accent ("we aaah going to zee moo-vee"). But now he's feeling badly about it and doesn't want to hurt her feelings, so he thinks he'll delete that part of the story.
Wonderful, wonderful evening. :sigh:
Now that I've thought about it a little more, I remember the details a little bit better. The story that will appear in the anthology is also going to appear in TNY and is titled "Old Faithful." The story that he did the debut reading of is for "This American Life."