INTERVIEW: So, Why Does Anyone Like David Sedaris? [Preview]

When you get on the phone with David Sedaris, naturally you need to have a good icebreaker. You want to ask him about the fatty tumor he fed to a turtle (as described in Calypso, his most recent book, reviewed here). You picture a man standing on a pristine North Carolina shore, resting one hand on his knee, holding out a small pus-colored bubo towards a turtle with the other, his face set in a grimace. Or, you think, you'll jump right in with the question about whether he still gives out condoms to young people who come to his readings.
Of course, naturally, he manages to disarm you, throwing you off by taking note of how you answer the phone, and how formal and polite your tone is. It's a daunting conversation when you're talking to someone you've read for over a decade; you end up talking about everything you've ever wanted to know, from the big-picture details of how he sees his audience, to whether the painter he refers to as "Broderson" in Calypso was actually called "Bradlington" in When You Are Engulfed in Flames. (It is.)

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

I hope everything is going well for you. Are you jet-lagged? How long has it been since you got in? 

I don't really acknowledge jet lag. I think when I lived in Paris… when you live in a foreign country with a different language, whenever you hear your own language, you perk up.

This is true. 

And it seemed when I moved to Paris, whenever I heard English being spoken, it was people saying, "we got here two weeks ago and we're still so jet lagged", so I just never acknowledge it. It's a short distance between here and the UK. When you go to Australia, [jet lag] is a thing. But not from here to there. I don't really notice it. But a couple things I was actively dreading…

You can read the rest of this interview at PopMatters!

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