Raleigh Now Spotlight: An Evening with David Sedaris

Sedaris created covers for each of the 156 volumes of his diary. The sketchbooks pictured here span from Feb. 1980 – Jan. 1981, a time he was living in a house near the IHOP on Hillsborough St. and working part time at Irregardless Cafe.

Scenes From a Crime

An evening with David Sedaris

by Katherine Poole
Excerpted from DAVID SEDARIS DIARIES: A Visual Compendium. Copyright © 2017 by Jeffrey Jenkins and David Sedaris. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company. All rights reserved. Photo of David Sedaris by Ingrid Christie

December 28, 1983 Raleigh This was my last night at the IHOP. I’ve been going steadily since 1979, just drinking coffee and reading. On my way out tonight I said good-bye to my waitress and left a $2 tip. I didn’t cry, though I worried I might.

David Sedaris made this entry in his diary just days before leaving Raleigh – his boyhood home – to become a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The move upended the life of the floundering 27 year-old would-be artist, and set him on a course to become the acclaimed writer and humorist he is today. Perhaps it is true that you can’t go home again (especially if your beloved downtown IHOP on Hillsborough Street is no more), but you can stop over on an international reading tour and pay a visit to your dad and kid brother. Family, friends, and fans will welcome Sedaris home (again) Oct. 23 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Known for a performance style as candid and riotously funny as his writing, Sedaris will read in part from Theft By Finding, a collection of his diaries from 1977 – 2002. The book’s title is inspired by a paradoxical British law. Sedaris, who resides in Great Britain, once found a five-pound note on the side of the road and upon sharing his good fortune with a friend learned that not attempting to find the rightful owner was considered theft by finding. Sedaris is a connoisseur of the human condition and his diaries are a record of the countless acts of thievery that have become the essays and stories in his best-selling books including: Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.

February 16, 1988
Chicago Reasons to live:
1. Christmas
2. The family beach trip
3. Writing a published book
4. Seeing my name in a magazine
5. Watching C. grow bald
6. Ronnie Ruedrich
7. Seeing Amy on TV
8. Other people’s books
9. Outliving my enemies
10. Being interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air

C.’s receding hairline and the viability of his enemies notwithstanding, 2017 David has ticked each item off this list, including seeing sister Amy Sedaris on screen. (The actress has her own series debuting this fall on truTV.) His reasons to live in 1988 continue to inspire and inform the prolific writer and this hometown audience eagerly awaits stealing a moment of his time.

8 p.m.; $45 – $61; 2 E. South St.; dukeenergycenterraleigh.com

Diary passages excerpted from Theft By Finding by David Sedaris. Copyright © 2017 by David Sedaris. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company. All rights reserved.