David Sedaris: “Write every day with a pen that’s shaped like a candy cane.”

From today’s Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of American humorist David Sedaris. At 20, Sedaris was hitchhiking and picking apples, sometimes renting a room in a boardinghouse. He began keeping a diary because he had no fixed address for people to write to him, so he simply began writing to, and for, himself. He finished his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he’d begun making his classmates laugh with funny stories during painfully silent critiques. He thought, “I could make this work.”

He mucked about, painting apartments, squirrel-proofing homes, and working as house cleaner while he read his bits at night in Chicago clubs. Ira Glass, the host of public radio’s This American Life, discovered him (1992) and was so charmed by Sedaris that he invited him to read an essay called “The SantaLand Diaries” on Glass’s show. Sedaris read the piece, which concerned his time working as Crumpet the Elf at Macy’s in New York during Christmas season, in his trademark deadpan voice. His appearance was so popular that Glass made him a regular, and Sedaris was offered a publishing contract soon after.

Sedaris’s books include Naked (1997), Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (2013), and most recently Calypso (2018).  There are over 10 million copies of Sedaris’s books in print.

On writing, he says: “Write every day and read everything you can get your hands on. Write every day with a pen that’s shaped like a candy cane.”

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