I’ve been reading Theft By Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris. He is one of my favorite authors, so I am very biased, but you should read this book. It’s not a writing guide like Stephen King’s On Writing, but it’s really inspiring.
To be honest, I was a little bored at first. Reading little blips of Sedaris’s days from so long ago… ok? Then his humor started to pepper the pages, and random moments had me cracking up. Then I started noticing more around me. And I picked up a little notebook and wrote down some observations, and before I knew it, my words were covering page after page. I was writing! It honestly felt like a miracle, because my creative well has been so dry lately. I kept noticing little details that fascinated me. I looked back on other small notebooks I used to carry, and they are filled with the same thing – simple observations. I could picture each moment clearly since I had written them down. I could pinpoint which ones had worked their ways into stories.
I read all the time. When asked what I do in my free time, what I do for fun, what are some of my hobbies, I always answer reading without waiting a beat. Then I stop and think about my days and desperately try to find another hobby. I have them, they’re just not as prominent, or impactful on my days. Reading is my constant, my reward at the end of a long day, my escape, my inspiration.
David Sedaris, I have loved you for a long time. Your writing has always made me laugh and made me think. But your diaries are truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing them.
And I not-so-secretly hope I am mentioned in the next volume, from the times I met you. Or maybe for this:
When I met him the second time, 2.5 years later, I said “I came to see you in 2013, and you gave me a bottle of lotion because I came alone. Now I’m married and have a baby.” He inscribed my book with:
That’s got to make it into a diary entry, right?