Meeting David Sedaris. A story of lines and chairs.

24 Jun

I’ve never gone to meet someone before and known what their voice sounds like but not what they look like. It was a little strange. But ultimately awesome. Here’s my saga.

The signing was 11 June in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is about 40 minutes from home. Fortunately, I was visiting the Sunday before and stopped in the bookstore to ask what time general signing started. I knew the reading was at 5PM and I didn’t have tickets for that. They said it should start around 7, but to get there at 5. “Bring a chair and book,” one of the employees advised. Don’t mind if I do.

So I went straight from work and got there just after five. I was fourth in line! Win. I settled in, thinking I’d sit there till seven and then get my book signed and be on with life. And by settled in, I want to specify that I bought and brought a folding lawn chair to sit in on the sidewalk. And I was the only one. So yeah, that was fun.

About 6:30, people with ‘Waiting List’ tickets showed up. They’d gone to the story the day reading tickets were sold and didn’t get one so they got a ‘middle ground’ option of cutting in the signing line. My 4th in line was reduced to 20th. Dang. About the same time, it started raining so we were moved to the bottom floor of the bookstore to wait. David was still signing books from the people who attended the reading.

He is so generous with his time that it created a Catch-22. He spent about five minutes with each person. So if you think about it, that would mean I should get to meet him about 8. However, there were the people from the reading as well and they pushed that out another hour, so I finally met David around 9PM after being in line for four hours. Yep. And remember, I’m toting a folding chair this whole time.

He’s everything you’d think he would be: friendly, quirky, sarcastic, and random as hell. He had a box of chocolates that he was offering to everyone. I choose a coconut flavored one.

I had two books for him to sign. The first was a copy of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim that I found at a used book store. It’s a little beat up but the biggest problem was that it was already signed! It was bought at B&N that way by the original owner. So, David personalized it for me.

"To Sam, I see you picnicing on chocolate with multiracial friends with birthdays falling on weekends"

“To Sam,
I see you picnicking on chocolate with multiracial friends with birthdays falling on weekends”

The other one was an (again) used copy of ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day,’ the only Sedaris book I’ve read so far. I wasn’t going to buy it, but it was in pristine condition so I’ll have a nice one to hang on to. He drew me a pretty picture.

photo 2Because, of course, he carries a bag of multi-colored sharpies so he can draw bloody scissors in books. Why would you think anything differently?

Of course, I asked David the same question I ask all writers. “I want to be you. What advice can you give me?”

He said with a smile, “Write every day. Write on Christmas, write on your birthday, but write every day. And, of course, read.” I’ve heard this advice before but it was still great to have it reaffirmed. Writing every day is the reason I started this blog. Even if I’m not working on fiction, I’m working on my voice: my familiarity with words and commitment to style. It’s been a great practice. David said, “You might be okay now, but you’ll never be good unless you write every day.” And if you follow me here, you know I read every chance I can get. I love to take reading as a chance to develop myself as a writer.

Unfortunately David doesn’t do pictures so I don’t have one to share. It was awesome to meet him and I want to publicly thank Katherine for waiting an hour and a half for me to get through the line so we could have dinner together. That was too kind of you.

As I’m shaking David’s hand and walking out the door, he asked me, “What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Writing.”

Until next time, write on.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: