Reading a beloved story or work alone can be immensely satisfying, but getting afforded the situation to share that feeling with others may be even more fulfilling.
Such was the case with David Sedaris’ reading at CSUN Saturday night, in which the author dove into essays both humorous and melancholy for the Valley Performing Arts Center audience.
Sedaris, a critically acclaimed essayist and long-time New Yorker contributor, entertained the audience at CSUN with stories of his personal life, including the death of his sister and recent developments in marriage with his longtime partner.
“When I was young I wrote about my feelings,” said Sedaris in opening the night’s readings. “But now I don’t have feelings anymore.”
Sedaris, currently on the west coast leg of his tour, revisited some classic essays for his reading as well as recent pieces published in the New Yorker.
Reading from “Now We Are Five,” Sedaris tackled a relatively difficult piece concerning the suicide of his sister a few years ago, but nonetheless had the audience in stitches all throughout the essay.
“I used to think the ideal name for a beach house was the Ship Shape,” read Sedaris from his piece. “Now, though, I had a better idea. We’re going to call it the Sea Section.”
The audience at the VPAC got to experience one of Sedaris’ most personal works regarding his relationship with Hugh, his partner of 25 years.
Sedaris, a longtime advocate of LGBTQ rights often considers himself a nonconformist when it comes to governmental legislation regarding the lives of non-heterosexuals.
“I wanted gay people to get the right to marry, and then I wanted none of us to act on it,” Sedaris said. “I wanted it to be ours to spit on. Instead, much to my disappointment, we seem to be all over it.”
Though Sedaris exposed perhaps more scar tissue than his last jaunt at the VPAC in November of 2013, he nonetheless proved his place on the mantle of one of America’s predominant humorists.
“I feel like he really let me inside his head,” said CSUN alum Cindy Whethers. “I’ve been reading him for years and it always seems like he provides us with a new perspective.”
Sedaris conducted a brief period of book signing before and after the readings, welcoming any of his works to garner a personalization.
“It was great to see someone that I’ve been following since the days of NPR read nearby,” said Northridge resident Tim Miller. “I was so excited to find out he was signing his books that I bought one inside in the VPAC.”
Sedaris signed books with inscriptions such as “In friendly friendliness” and “$incerely” while VPAC patrons gushed over the prolific author.
“I’ll go see him as long as he tours,” Miller said. “He could read the same stories every time and I’d go.”