Monday, June 30, 2008

David Sedaris Reads @ Elliott Bay (June 23)

I heard about the reading at the very last minute and was surprised he was appearing at cozy Elliott Bay. He packs much larger places so this sounded like a treat. Because photography wasn't allowed, I couldn't snap his photo for the blog. He did sign a copy of his new book, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames."Sedaris_book Our play-by-play interaction as follows:

DS: What's your name?

DM: Diana

DS: What do you do for a living, Diana?

DM: I'm a project manager.

DS (perplexed look): I don't understand anyone's jobs anymore. Tell me you're a prostitute and I'd know what you do.

DM: (Should have made something up.) Sometimes, I don't understand either.

DS: Are you here with anyone?

DM: Yes, my friend Corinn, but she was bashful to meet you.

DS: Yeah, I probably would've ripped her head off.

This was the end. By this point, an older Asian man next in line was elbowing me out of the way and starting with his sycophantic conversation as he unloaded a pile of Sedaris' books for signatures.

Following is what he wrote in my book:Sedaris_book_signed

He read "Of Mice and Men" from his new book and a piece he wrote shortly after this book went to press.

He discussed the concept of priority signing. He recounted that when he read in Denver a few nights earlier, he offered this service to men under 5' 6" and women over 5'10". If you fell under either of these categories, you didn't have to wait to get your book signed, you could move to the front of the line. In Denver, however, as the signing line was near the end, a 5'3" stature man approached. DS asked him why he hadn't taken advantage of the priority signing. The man replied, "I don't want to stand next to them [the 5'10" + women]. It just makes me feel shorter." So, in Seattle the priority seating was updated: still for men under 5'6" but to include women with braces, casts and anything else helping hold them together; no more pri signing for the tall ladies.

He fielded questions, including do funny things happen to you or do you see the funny in ordinary things? He thinks odd things happen to him because he's non-threatening at 5'5" and that people approach him often. Are your parents funny? His dad was funny but his humor was generationally misplaced; it would have been funny back in the day, perhaps? That his mom told great, if not embellished stories. What writers inspire you? Tobias Wolff, Lori Moore...and a few others. He mentioned Wolff at length saying he's always excited to read anything new from him.

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