Day 251. Meandering Tales

No, it’s not a typo. Or a spelling mistake. I didn’t mean to write ‘trails’. I meant to write exactly what I wrote: ‘Tales”. “Meandering Tales”. David Sedaris was in meanderingtown last night. And I went with a friend. It was her idea. I didn’t even know he was coming.

I’m a fan, so I agreed immediately. And his ‘show’ was every bit as good as I’d hoped. Maybe even better.

The place was packed; and it’s a very large venue. Sometimes I think I really do walk around in a fog. That I’m oblivious to what’s going on all around me. I didn’t realize he was so popular. I didn’t expect it to be sold-out.

What planet do I inhabit? Really.

H E L L O.

Earth calling Fransi, I guess.

In case you’re not familiar with him, he’s a writer. A very prolific writer. An author. And humorist. And comedian. And

radio contributor.

Fifty-six years old. Born in the U.S., now living in the U.K. In a long-time relationship. He writes essays and short stories. He’s a published author — New York Times Best Selling, in case you’re wondering. By 2008 his books had sold seven million copies. He also does a lot of writing for the New Yorker magazine. He won the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2001 and Time Magazine also named him Humorist of the Year.

How much time have you got, because I could go on listing his accomplishments for quite a while?

Yeah! He’s got quite the pedigree.

So he played to a sold-out crowd of highly-appreciative fans.

Go Toronto!!

Never have I laughed so much. So hard. So loud. For so long. He was on for an hour and a half and I don’t think I stopped laughing. Neither did anyone else. He was just howlingly funny. From beginning to end.

Perfect balm for the lousy, depressing weather we’ve been having. Perfect balm for the trying times we’re still living in. Perfect balm for all the bullshit we all put up with in our every day lives.

His latest book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” is being released this month. That’s why he was here. He read from the book. He read some other essays he’s written. He read a couple of his pieces from the New Yorker. He read a selection of poetry he’s written. And several entries from his diary.

Hysterical. Each and every one.

Not stupid, juvenile, slap-stick comedy. His humour is witty. Sophisticated. Intelligent. Strategic. It comes from his oh-so-astute, oh-so-insightful, always-so-entertaining observations. Observations about himself, his partner, his family. His life. Life in general. Politics. The state of the world. You name it, he has something clever and funny to say about it.

Honestly, I think he could write a cheque and it would be guffaw-worthy.

But what had me absolutely mesmerized was how his stories ‘meander’. He starts here, wanders over there, does an about-face, turns around again, back-tracks a bit, heads off in a completely different direction, makes an abrupt left turn, skips around for a minute or two and then, somehow, he brings it right back to where he started. And the whole literary journey you’ve been on, with him, makes perfect sense. You get it. It hasn’t been difficult to follow at all. You’ve been right there, with him, every step of the way. No one has missed a beat. Not you. Not him. No one.

Do you have any idea how hard that is to do? What skill it takes? What discipline. What talent?

For most of us, when our stories wander off, it’s because we can’t keep track of our own ideas and thoughts. We’re rambling. We can’t prioritize. Can’t put anything in order. So we just spew. But not David Sedaris.

Oh, no. His GPS is working perfectly. His ‘journey’ is very well planned. Each and every stop along the way is there for a reason. Each and every twist and turn. The further he ventures from where he was in the beginning, the more engaged you are. The more closely you follow. The more enjoyment you get from the story. The more you can’t wait to see where he takes you next. The sweeter the ending eventually is. The funnier. And the more lasting the impression.

Now you know my new goal. To hone my craft enough to be able to do that. Even half as well as he does it. To learn how to tell a story, taking the circuitous route. But still managing to make it make sense. A journey that doesn’t have readers screaming “Stop!! I want to get off!”

Here’s hoping.

Before you rush off, I have just one more thing to say. In case you’re of the opinion my evening last night couldn’t have been any better, think again. I got home just in time to watch Bill Maher.

Friday, April 12, 2013. I went to bed laughing. And woke up Saturday morning, still smiling. Life is good. I’d love to know what David Sedaris would make of my day.

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12 thoughts on “Day 251. Meandering Tales

  1. ” I went to bed laughing. And woke up Saturday morning, still smiling.” Lucky you! There’s nothing better and Sedaris + Maher are perfect ingredients for a recipe with that outcome. The Sedaris book titles are enough to get the laughter started, aren’t they?

    • Are they ever! I just love his writing. And I love Bill Maher. Great observers, both of them. And very, very bright.

  2. Sounds like a fun evening! I enjoy David Sedaris’s writing very much, and I like your point about being able to take readers on a long, winding journey without ever being lost (or sounding like you’re rambling). To me, it’s frequently a matter of being able to hold an image of the “big picture” in your head while simultaneously describing the “little picture.” As long as you know how the two relate to each other, you’ll always find your way!

    • It was fabulous. And you’re right, of course about the key to meandering. He makes it look so effortless, but really, a lot of work goes into it. Like everything worth doing.

    • I love great storytellers as well. Will have to watch out for Mike Birbiglia.. I am not familiar with him. Thanks.

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