I used to be thoroughly convinced that I liked science fiction books, adored them really. I loved, and to some extent still do love, sagas. These kinds of stories are still a really large part of who I am, and at least for the next sixty thousand words at least I'm going to be writing science fiction. (Another Round promises to be the shortest saga in the world. Ever. And don't tell me about Gilgamesh, because Gilgamesh wasn't science fiction. And don't argue logic with me either! So there.) Beyond that, I'm not so sure though, because my tastes have really moved away from science fiction, at least in what I'm reading, and also what I'm writing in short fiction.
But that isn't what this entry is about. You see I've spent the last good little while listening to David Sedaris reading his essays and stories, and I'm both really inspired and discouraged at the same time. The kinds of stories he tells are both hilariously funny, and startlingly poignant, all in one breath. That's the kind of thing I live for, the kind of thing I try to write, even if I fail miserably at that goal. So in that respect I'm really inspired by his work.
At the same time, just knowing that his stories are real, and that he's not talking about things he made up, only increases the effect. His are the kind of stories that you just can't make up, sometimes you can't help but laugh, other times you're stricken with an understanding. His styling enhances the feeling of realism, because it's so honest, and sharp; it's also completely transparent, which I find frustrating, but frustrating out of respect. Like any author that I have any shread of respect for, he makes it seem effortless, and frankly that pisses me off. I know, somewhere that it isn't effortless and that he, just like I and everyone else I know slaves over his work endlessly, but when I'm listening to him read (because he's probably the only author who should be absorbed via his own readings of his work, because it looses something on paper), I can't fathom that truth.
The other thing that I know from experience is that this kind of story or essay that he writes is impossible to produce, or virtually so. In order to produce stories about life that have that kind of effect, you need to have a life that grants you first hand exposure to the kind of situations. I suppose we all do, but I guess that a lot of the time we just overlook the things that might work the best for such pieces.
But enough naval gazing, that was a couple of entries ago, and while meta-art discussions are interesting for a little while, they stagnate really quickly, and I'm going to start writing about what I listened to before I start having a meta-meta art discussion and my brain starts to hurt. Or not, but moving forward is, in this situation, preferable to standing still.
So check out his stuff, you could probably find a good deal of it by looking through the archives of NPR's "This American Life" (which is a show I have a lot of respect for, even if I don't really listen to it, and I might talk about it at some later point), but I've also come across a great archive of his stuff, located here, and almost all of the links still work, so check it out. I'd like to know what you all think of it, because I can't think of anything really thoughtful to say, other than "listen to it." Sometimes it's better to just let peoples work to speak for itself.