My Book World
Much like Sedaris’s first journal, this one contains a mixture of “Dear Diary” items along with jokes people tell him, along with long anecdotes about people he knows, along with a certain political polemic (which I love), and more, like overheard conversations in public places. If I were teaching creative writing, I would lift portions of both of Sedaris’s diaries to demonstrate how writers can mine their own diaries for topics or scenarios for other works.
In the early part of his first diary, Sedaris is a poor writer. In this one, he is somewhat more solvent and becoming more so all the time. Now, the man is so busy with readings and lectures, he’s always on a plane, and the airport world alone must offer up some of his richest observations. His dated entries from all around the world show a man who is interested in people, what makes them tick, what makes them say the things they do. Not that he always understands, but he is curious enough to record some of the ridiculous, confounding, or even wise things they say to him. Overheard conversations. How his day has gone, if he’s at home in one of two or three dwellings he owns in England or France. How the day has gone for his husband, Hugh. Jokes. Yes, plenty of jokes people take pride in telling him at one of his readings as he is signing books.
“A guy finds a genie who grants him three wishes, adding that everything the man gets, his wife will get double. ‘Great,’ the guy says, and he wishes for a big house. Then he wishes for a car. Finally, he says, ‘Okay, now I want you to beat me half to death” (211).
“It’s night, and a cop stops a car a couple of priests are riding in. ‘I’m looking for two child molesters,’ he says.
The priests think for a moment. ‘We’ll do it!’ they say” (445).
TUES: A Writer's Wit | Myrtle Reed
WEDS: A Writer's Wit | Elmer Rice
THURS: A Writer's Wit | Elizabeth Gaskell
FRI: My Book World | Jennifer Egan's The Candy House