A New Way to Chronicle Life

Later this month, I’ll be spending An Evening with David Sedaris. I’ve been a fan of his thanks to his segments and stories on This American Life, and when I heard he was coming to town, I decided this was something I really, really wanted to see in person. But I haven’t read any of his books, and after learning how personable he is and how it’s likely I might get a chance for him to sign something before or after the show, I decided to pick up a few titles and brush up.

I’m almost finished with Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, Etc.. I started with that over Me Talk Pretty One Day because, let’s face it, with a title like Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, how can I not start there? I’ve been wanting to buy this book for the title alone for years. Well, months really. The book only came out last year.

The point of all this babbling was this little gem: in the essay titled, “Day In, Day Out,” Sedaris talks about how he became a frequent diarist: it starts out with a small notebook that’s always with him, where he writes various observations and notes about his day, and then either at the end of the day or the next morning (I wasn’t sure which), he compiles said observations and notes into a diary, one that he keeps electronically, something private. He talks about how a very small percent of his diaries end up as part of his books, or part of his shows, but that despite it all, keeping this diary, which he’s done for years, is something that’s a part of him. He can’t imagine life without it.

What struck me was the comments about the little notebook. I’m bad about having notes and observations of things I’d like to share or write about, scribbling them on sticky notes, and letting those sticky notes pile into stacks of potential confetti. And this little notebook idea… it’s appealing. Not because I want to sit down each and every night and write up my day. That would take a lot of dedicated time, and I’m by and large a fiction writer, not an essayist. That being said, some of my own observations would make for some, in my mind, interesting posts. Short posts, I would hope, and it could be something that could finally get the fuel going into posting regularly on this blog. Something I’ve been wanting to do since I’ve opened it, and I’ve tried to do with little success, but gotten bored with/distracted from/name your excuse.

But short, sweet, random observations about my day? Embracing the way I view the world in all its randomness? May not be a bad way to go.

I’m not going to sit here and say I’ll definitely do it. I will sit here, however, and say, don’t be surprised if I do.

Let’s go find a notebook.

4 thoughts on “A New Way to Chronicle Life

  1. I would rank Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls as my least favorite of Sedaris’ books. Me Talk Pretty One Day is my absolute favorite and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is also good. Holidays on Ice has a great story about him being one of Santa’s elves at a department store. I went to one of his readings and got my book signed. I actually made him laugh at a story about my mother’s childhood pet monkeys, which I want in my obituary and should be credited to Sharon from Hollins because she peer-pressured me into telling him.

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    1. Please tell me you have this monkey story written down somewhere. Inquiring minds what to know!

      Also, how have you not started your own pithy blog yet? Your tone and style and observations are a lovely mix of Sedaris and The Bloggess!

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  2. Hope you will have a great time tonight, Calico!

    I have only read “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk” by Sedaris and, unfortunately, did not like it all 😦 If you get around to reading it, let me know how you felt! (my review is on my LibraryThing)

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    1. My first introduction to him was through THIS AMERICAN LIFE. I’ve got mostly his humorist essays under my belt, and hearing him read them aloud on the podcast is a treat (as was hearing him last night). If you want to try his essays, I recommend ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY. If you want to give him a listen first, however, just visit this page: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/contributors/david-sedaris

      I recommend the one called “Accidental Deception.” It’s also in ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY and it’s hysterical. Most of his nonfiction essays are.

      And I happened to pick up SQUIRREL SEEKS CHIPMUNK last night. It looks cute, but it’ll be different than what I’m used to.

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