Wednesday, June 18, 2014 |
David Sedaris's latest collection, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller lists in April, 2013. When he was on his book tour in the U.S. the following month, one of his sisters committed suicide.
After a long sojourn in France, the American author now lives in Sussex, England, and he enjoys being seen as an outsider. "I get very excited when people treat me poorly. That's something I can work with," he said, adding being treated well in a fancy hotel doesn't make for a good story. "In rural England, where we live right now, the roadsides are carpeted with rubbish... I'll spend anywhere from four to nine hours a day, cleaning up rubbish on the side of the road," he told Bambury. His current record is walking 25 ½ miles in one day to pick up trash. "People think that I'm mentally ill, the people out where we live, and it's so interesting how they treat me," he said.
Legendary for his lengthy book signings, Sedaris spends many hours talking to people during his tours. Sedaris said his longest signing stretch was 10 1/2 hours, but his tours aren't a trial. They're his reward for all the solitary hours writing and collecting odd looks along with the garbage on his daily walks. "People come up all the time and say, 'Oh, [book signing] must be so exhausting,'" he said. "I'm sitting here listening as people who've been standing in line for hours telling me how much they love me. What do you think is hard about that?... It is my adolescent fantasy come true in an even larger and more grotesque way than I wished for."
Sedaris continued his book tour when he learned that his sister, Tiffany, had committed suicide. He didn't tell his audiences or the bookstore owners, because he felt that people wouldn't know what to say.
He wrote about that holiday in his essay "Now We Are Five" published in The New Yorker last fall.