This is a bit belated, but I had to write about the wonderful “Evening with David Sedaris” that I attended on November 27. To begin with, I am a huge David Sedaris fan. I own all of his books, and listen to him on NPR every time he’s on; it’s not the holidays unless I giggle over “The Santaland Diaries” with a cup of cocoa.
I had the great pleasure of seeing him read several years ago, and afterward had him sign my copies of Naked and Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules. I was dead last in the signing line, and waited for nearly an hour. When it was at long last my turn, Sedaris was gracious and charming, asking me about my life and encouraging me in my literary and authorial pursuits. He gave me a packet of lettuce seeds as a gift. When I got home, I looked in my books and was delighted to see that in one, he had written, “Betsy, it’s so wonderful to finally meet you in person. — David Sedaris” and in the other, “Betsy, I look forward to reading your work someday. — David Sedaris.”
This time, I arrived at the reading early enough to get in line for the limited number of signings he was doing before his show. When I stepped up to him clutching my copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Sedaris surveyed my dress and boots and said, “You look lovely! I like your dress. It’s so nice when people dress up for these things.” I almost floated away, because I had in fact put a considerable amount of planning into my outfit. I thanked him, and told him how excited I was to hear him read again. He asked when I saw him last, and I told him about being last in line and getting the packet of lettuce seeds, which I still have tucked away inside the cover of Naked.
As I spoke, he signed my book, then looked up and said, “Well, we have a relationship! We have a tradition now! Let me see what I have to give you.” He rummaged around in a large bag, then pulled out a what looked like a bound pamphlet. “This,” Sedaris said, “is a copy of a short story I read once in Amsterdam, but never published. It went over well, though, so they asked me to print a limited number of them and publish them alone.” I was delighted to be given another story, and he signed it with a flourish. “Enjoy the show. See you again soon!” he said as I thanked him profusely.
I was positively pink with excitement, and I was completely over the moon when I saw what Sedaris had inscribed in my book: “To Betsy — We meet again, enchantress. — David Sedaris.”
I could have happily ended the night at that point, but there was still his reading. As always, Sedaris was both hilarious and heartfelt, turning such such moments as waiting in a coffee shop, getting a colonoscopy, or seeing a plastic bag full of water hung in a doorway into sidesplittingly funny commentary on not just himself and his loved ones, but society in general. I laughed so hard that I was in tears at several points.
I can’t praise David Sedaris enough as an author or as a person. I can’t wait for his next book, and hopefully, his next live reading!