A life in writing: David Sedaris | Essay

David Sedaris is an author, humorist and a commentator, born in 1957. His first short story collection, Barrel Fever, was the best book of the year since it supplemented the voice of the village and thus known as “the village voice literary supplement”. The book targets the soulful ridiculousness and inane of modern life. In essence, most of his stories are true experiences in his life. He is alienated in society; held odd jobs, and his family had a painful history but used humor in his stories. The paragraphs below discuss the writing of David Sedaris, which originate from his life experience.

The writings depict Sedaris as a child with a compulsive obsession, who spends his days licking switches and hitting himself over the head with his shoe. Surprisingly, he admits that he is an obsessive-compulsive child. In today’s culture, Sedaris is regarded as a true outsider because he was gay in a society full of male role models, “a sensitive soul in a dump culture” (Carolyn 99). Besides, he moves to the south from the north and thus called, “a northerner transplanted to the south” (Dulham 100).

Sedaris uses pieces from his difficult family’s history and applies it to his stories. He says, “I take some pieces of junk and create my stories out of them” (Dulham 99). His many essays are as a result of his dysfunctional family. He says that his younger brother was foul-mouthed and emphasizes on the foibles and foils that happened in his family. In one of his collections; for instance, he talks of his father being overbearing and his mother’s fight with cancer. Most of his heartbreaking family stories work in humor and satire. In spite of his humorous stories, he covers an emotional impressive range of how his mother died of cancer, which is quite unsentimental hit to the heart.

Sedaris means of getting by offers lots of substance to his collections. ‘Santa land diaries’; for instance, is about his experience as an elf during Christmas, in New York City, which brought him a lot of recognition (Motlagh 20). During that Christmas, Sedaris’s sister brought home a coworker, who was also a prostitute. “From this time on, the term ‘ho, ho, ho’ would have a totally different meaning” (Dulham 102). The experience made Sedaris write short plays, as well as novels. Before he joined the national public radio, Sedaris did odd jobs such as cleaning apartments. The odd jobs made Sedaris produce comedic stories, which motivated his artistic career. In essence, his satirical and comic monologues originate primarily from the experience he got from the odd jobs. While still in his apartment cleaning job, he told the New York times, through Marchese “I can only do writing while it’s dark, simply, my day is spent waiting for it to get dark since the cleaning of apartments helps me get something to do when I wake up” (Carolyn 85). It means that; cleaning of apartments kept him occupied whilst he was waiting to write.
In conclusion, Sedaris writes about quirks in his family and he also mocks himself as well as exploring absurdities in the different cultures. Humor in his writings contributes a lot to the selling of his books.


Works Cited
Dulham, Carolyn. Modernism and mystery: the curious case of the lost generation. Twentieth-century literature. 49. (1) 2003 82-102
Motlagh, Amy. Towards a theory of American life writing. Iranian American literature. 33 (2)
2008 17-36

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