Last week, I saw David Sedaris live for the third time, and it was just as good as the first two. He is so touching, so humorous, so down to earth, while being so out there, that I couldn't stop laughing and marveling at his wit and thought processes.
Sedaris is an author I've loved for years, and his writing really inspires me. I've clipped articles about his diaries - why he keeps them, what they mean to him - and he inspired me to start doing something similar. He pushes me to think about my seemingly-ordinary days in different ways and mine story ideas from the happenings. He pushes me to edit and revise and see how my writing can be polished.
This time, I noticed him making notes when the audience laughed, or when we didn't laugh. I wonder what he wrote, and how he'll revise his pieces - if at all. Maybe he's just taking notes for the sake of keeping a record, like his diaries.
He said he kept records about all his shows - how many people were there, what pieces he read, what diary sections he read, what book he recommended. He looks over these notes before re-visiting the same city, which he'll do in Memphis in November, since this show sold out. It got me thinking about how much work his job actually is. I think the dream is that authors get to sit around and dream up stories, even though that can be tough with writer's block, revision, promotion, etc. But when Sedaris tours, he goes to a new city every other night, reads, makes notes, visits and signs books until everyone has left. That's a lot of work. Signing alone would make your hand ache, but can you imagine being onstage for an hour or two, then making small talk with people for another two or three hours? It's nice of him, generous of his time and spirit, but it makes me realize I could never be that type of author. It's hard for me to make more than awkward small talk with people I somewhat know, much less with strangers. I can't imagine what my voice would sound like after reading onstage for so long, then talking more. I guess you'd get used to it, but it would definitely feel more like "work" to me than just writing. And I know this is his personality, and he seems to genuinely enjoy meeting people and hearing tidbits about their lives.
But I also know that if I became a successful writer, I'm much more likely to be a Harper Lee than a David Sedaris. What about you?