I attended a performance by author David Sedaris last night. You may think it’s a bit of a stretch to call it a “performance” when he was merely reading his stories, followed by an audience Q&A. But that means you’ve never seen David Sedaris live. And I was in that group prior to last night.
I’ve read most of his books, and love them. I knew he’d be funny, insightful, witty, [insert other adjective for a writer of humorous, satirical essays here]. But I didn’t expect it to be bust-a-gut, rolling in the aisles, laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying funny. Yet it was. I haven’t laughed that much, or that hard, in ages. He’s not just a masterful writer, but also a powerful performer.
The promo blurb for the show was spot-on:
If you love David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think that you know what you’re getting into at his live readings. You’d be wrong. To see him read his own work on stage allows his autobiographical narrative to reveal a uniquely personal narrative that will keep you laughing throughout the evening.
Best of all for a hack like me was the fact that the laughs were powered by David’s written words. No props, no fog machines, no show business shtick. Just short essays read by a 62-year-old man standing at a podium on an otherwise bare stage. Observant. Trenchant. Moving. And Hilarious.
David’s tour continues in the U.S. through early December. If he’s performing anywhere near you, you simply must go.
[David also used a bit of his stage time to promote another writer’s latest book. He raved about Ann Patchett’s new novel The Dutch House. I’ll have to check that one out.]
We are gathered here today to say goodbye to an old and dear friend. Someone you could count on through thick and thin. He was reliable, trustworthy, always there when you needed him, and always up for an adventure. But it was time for old Blue to move on, after so many years of faithful service.
Yes, the 2003 Honda Odyssey is gone, after nearly 17 years, and 152, 322 miles. We’ve been through a lot together. Four kids grew up in that van… and the carpeting on the floor has the juicebox stains to prove it. Thousands of school drop-offs. Hundreds of trips to practices and games: baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse. Dozens of summer vacation trips: Florida, Vermont, Alabama, New Hampshire, New York, New Orleans. While we were visiting all those News, Blue got old. But he was still my boy.
Blue was passed along to our oldest kid, who cleaned it up and made it feel new again. It was a rebirth for Blue. But eventually our son moved on too… when you’re paying for gas and your job is delivering pizzas, you need something that gets a bit better mileage.
So Blue sat in our driveway, taking up space, looking forlorn. It was time to move on. It was for the best.
Now Blue is dearly departed. He’s gone, but not forgotten… especially because I gave him to my brother, who lives two blocks away from me. Blue is still going strong. Blue is still my boy!
We got Chinese food for Father’s Day (a tradition almost as cherished as Chinese Food for Christmas Day).
My daughter’s post-prandial fortune cookie fortune was inscrutable:
I might spend the rest of my life trying to figure that gem out. You try it because you don’t want it enough? So if I really want it, I need to not try it? (The latter has worked for me so far if we’re talking about “writing eloquently.”)
Perhaps I have yet to achieve a level of enlightenment that’s high enough to allow me to understand it. It’s the proverbial pebble in the master’s hand.
Then again, it might be the fortune cookie equivalent of this Magic 8 Ball “answer”:
We stuck the fortune on our fridge, so I’ll keep trying to figure it out… I mean not trying.
Yesterday, I got an email from my good friend Tom Kuhl. (That’s “Mister Cool” to you.) He’s one of the few, the proud… the handful of folks who actually subscribe to my blog. (Poor fella.) And his note let me know there was something amiss:
While I hadn’t made any changes to my WordPress site, something definitely was screwy, and the email notifications weren’t going out each time I published a new post. Ghosts in the machine, I suppose. Tom’s email sent me down a rabbit hole as I tried to figure out what was wrong. The solution involved copious amounts of Googling, multiple emails to WordPress/Jetpack tech support, and getting into the belly of the blog beast via an FTP transfer site… don’t try this at home (unless you have to). But all appears to be well now.
However, if you are one of the lucky few (using the term “lucky” very loosely) who subscribe to this blog, you’ve got some catching up to do. Because what I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity. Brew another pot of coffee and dive straight into my latest posts:
Remembering Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit (5/10)
Paul Westerberg’s sister retires (5/13)
My son Peter sleeping (5/14)
Life imitating comic strip art (5/17)
George “Goober” Lindsey is my nemesis (5/18)
Singer Caroline Spence (5/20)
I won’t kid you – these gems are some of my greatest posts ever. Nah, just kidding, it’s the same old random b.s., as usual.
If, perchance, you’ve somehow stumbled upon this blog by unhappy accident (or maybe it was assigned to you as penance or community service) and you’ve yet to subscribe, you can do so via a form on the righthand side of the home page:
You’ll get an email each time I publish a new post. It’ll be like Christmas 2-3 times a week… the Christmas when you got mittens instead of Hot Wheels cars.