An (failed) Evening with David Sedaris

12 11 2013

Finally. After years of reading his wonderful books, I finally got to see David Sedaris in person. It was beyond hilarious to hear his stories as well as his diary entries. It was such a great night.

I was surprised the reading itself wasn’t very long; it was about two hours in total. When he announced that he would be signing and answering questions outside, I ran in line. I thought I was near the back, but when I looked back about 15 minutes later, the line stretched all the way down the hall to the back. I was more in the middle of the line. Guess I can’t really complain.

I brought my copy of When You Are Engulfed in Flames, my favourite Sedaris book, for him to sign. I had rehearsed, in the hour and fifteen minutes while waiting in line, how I was going to mention that I am a writer and to get him to give me some writing advice. One of the young women in front of me was talking to her friend about how she was so nervous when she accidentally spoke to her favourite musician that she hung up. I figured I couldn’t be as bad as that.

When I stepped up to the desk to David smiling at me, we exchanged a normal kind of banter about the spelling of my name (I had written on the little now how “Aaron” is the only truly correct spelling) when he opened up the book and started writing my name. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: oh, I was wondering if you could give me some writerly advice.

David: Ah. What are you writing?

Me: Yeah, I’m in the Creative Writing program here at UBC. I mostly write creative non-fiction, but I kinda write a lot of different things.

David: What are you writing?

I realize I didn’t answer his question. I take a moment.

Me: Well, I’m in the process of writing a memoir about my life growing up in Vancouver as Chinese and gay, and my difficulties dating in a racist and divided community.

David: Wow. That sounds really tough. I’d like to read that when it comes out. Hell, do you have a publisher? Let me introduce me to your agent.

That was how the conversation should have went. Instead, this is what happened:

David: What are you writing?

I realize I didn’t answer his question. I think about the assignments I’m writing in class and how I’m not really working on anything big. But…

Me: I’m writing about my life. And how horrible it is.

David: Is it horrible?

Me: No, not really. But people are horrible.

David looks highly unimpressed, as if here’s this wannabe kid who doesn’t even know what the hell he’s writing. I silently agree.

I felt like such a dumbass after. My life and how horrible it is? Really? Fuck.

Part of it is me talking to bloody David Sedaris but the other part of me just saying unintelligent shit when I’m put on the spot like that. I can’t think quickly. And then I look like a buffoon. Case in point.

Ugh. I feel like I could’ve really gotten him interested/impressed if I told him about my book but I was a blubbering fool. Goddammit.

At least David took my idiocy in stride. “To Aaron, You should write a book about a [horse sticker] named Brian. -David Sedaris”

Thanks, David, for the advice. Hopefully I can impress younext time around.

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2 responses

12 11 2013
Jayde-Ashe

Don’t worry, I would be exactly the same! Ahhh hindsight.

13 11 2013
weirdduck88

Haha, I’m worrying! It was the first time I ever saw David Sedaris and I was a blubbering idiot! Alas. Maybe it’s a good thing he probably won’t remember me.

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