We saw David Sedaris last night. He's the reason I'm a writer, so I was pretty excited to see him for the first time.
I was not disappointed.
We sat in the balcony of a sold-out Royce Hall at UCLA, and listened to him read for about 90 minutes. A few things struck me during the performance:
He does the same thing with his feet that I do when I perform from my books. I know it's best to keep both of them planted firmly on the ground and stay relatively still, but I always find myself lifting one foot up, and pointing it toe-down to the floor behind me. It's kind of a ballet-looking move, and I always feel a little silly when I catch myself doing it. After seeing him do it, though . . . ah, who am I kidding? I'll still feel silly.
At one point, I looked at the audience, and saw people leaning forward in their chairs, doubled over with laughter. He'll never see that, because they're hidden by the footlights and he's focused on his material. He doesn't need to see the audience to know that they're enjoying themselves, but I wonder if he knows just how much they are.
He signs books before and after his performance. I always sign after mine, but I'm always such a ball of nerves before, I can't imagine sitting in the lobby of the theater, meeting the audience -- and expending the energy that is necessary for a good signing -- before I go on stage.
Anne has his new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. I won't get to read it until she's finished, but she loves it. She read it on the plane next to me the whole way to Hawaii. She shook our seats because she was laughing so much. He read a story from it called Crybaby, and I understood why.
My favorite piece of the night, though, was one said just wouldn't work unless he read it. I don't even know how to describe it, but if you get a chance to hear him tell the story about Nicaragua, drop everything and get to the theater.
He seems like a kind, intelligent, sensitive guy who appreciates his success. I wanted to meet him and tell him that he's the reason I'm a writer, but the line was three hours long just moments after the show ended. I know he doesn't use computers or read reviews, but I wonder . . . if someone reading this sees him, and has the opportunity, would you tell him I said thank you?