Essays Written By David Sedaris

In nine books spanning 20 years, David Sedaris has riffed on matters both cosmic and mundane, from growing up with his tight-knit Greek-American family in the suburbs of Raleigh, N.C., to his account of working as an elf at Macy’s in his well-known essay "Santa Land Diaries."Appearances on NPR and in (Little, Brown, 259 pp., ★★★½ out of four), his first collection in five years, takes a more melancholy, self-reflective turn, as Sedaris, 61, confronts aging and mortality.

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But for the first time, he also addresses, poignantly, the 2013 suicide of his estranged sister Tiffany, the youngest of his five siblings.

And while his mother, Sharon, who died of cancer in 1991, has been a frequent subject in his books, Sedaris now reckons with her alcoholism, which his family barely acknowledged in her final years.

I worry about that sometimes, because 30 years ago I would have stayed up all night.

Now I’m like, How do you prepare to read for a show like this, with thousands of people waiting for you? I think part of it is…you have to trust your instincts.

Did you really think…” But it does sound like something I would say – that we did the reading last night, and I was really the best. I’m grown up now, so you don’t really write a brand-new story in one day.

You can do a draft, but it’s not like you’re going to get up and read that in front of 2,000 people.A guy wrote me and said that he got a Kindle, and could I send him a list of books to read.I sent him a list, and then he said that, “I got all of them free online.” And I said, “What?While working on your diaries, did you go through a period when you were reading diaries or memoirs? I love it when they’re a kid and they don’t know they’re going to be famous, and you’re saying to the book, “Don’t worry about it, you’re going to be famous.” They don’t know. Then there are people who you didn’t even think about.They’re just chopping wood, they don’t know what’s in store for them. You’ve forgotten about them, but they remember you.I wouldn’t have sent you that list if I thought you were going to do that.” People have no problem doing that. We went out for lunch, and he said, “I was with Jerry Salinger, and we’re in the Village, and we’d go hear Billie Holiday and then…” The stories.Though I would say it’s a little unusual to tell the author himself. “I’m representing Lillian Hellman because she’s doing this production of in Russia.” You’re a young man, and you’re with this man, and everyone knows his name, and he’s telling you these stories, and you don’t know that he’s going to be telling these stories over and over again. But there was an agent before that, who I let go of because he got me a contract with a small gay press, and it wasn’t what I wanted.I think it was Philip Larkin who said something like, until you have children of your own, you’ll always be your father’s son. I saw my father yesterday, and it can be tricky with him, but it was one of those times when it was just heartbreaking to see him…He was much more frail than the last time I saw him. The culture of all content being available for free is getting pervasive. I think that there are 500 places online where you can get my book for free.I thought, “Why couldn’t I have learned to play the piano? My publisher will close one down and another one pops right up.When I first moved to New York, I did this reading, and there was this guy who read as well. And he came up to me and said, “So I heard you told so-and-so that you were the best one on stage that night.” And I thought, “Yeah, I was.But if you can’t see that, well, I don’t know what I could do for you. When you get your ass kicked, you think, “Wow, I have a lot to [work on].” I was saying to Hugh earlier, that 30 years ago if I had this show tonight, I would have stayed up all night last night.


Comments Essays Written By David Sedaris

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    Beloved for his personal essays and short stories, David Sedaris is the author of Barrel Fever, Holidays on Ice, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, and Theft By Finding Diaries 1977-2002.…

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