Thursday, July 17, 2008

David Sedaris

David Sedaris, one of my favourite authors, came to town for a booksigning last weekend.

I decided to go to Montreal on Sunday afternoon, with Youngest in tow (also a fan) but what I hadn't counted on was the torrential rain. No big deal. It was the perfect time to leave a cottage and be inside a bookstore, no?

Youngest and I carefully did our hair and makeup and clothes for our Big City Excursion. I hate the humidity, as my hair does this half-curl thing, and my bangs end up sticking out the sides like musk ox horns. So I spent some time smoothing it out into a straight pageboy a la Katie Holmes.

Using my trusty GPS "Synthia" as my guide (thanks Marsha!) we headed off with little time to spare. Then the skies opened up. I freaked out a bit, as it was like driving in a carwash, only on Montreal highways, cars never ever slow down, not for nothin' or nobody. We took the shortcut recommended by my husband, ignoring Sythia's "recalculating" drone, and actually added another five minutes to our ETA.

We finally reached downtown Montreal to discover a street fair in progress and the main drags closed off. We zigged and zagged and finally pulled into underground parking across the street from Indigo just as the reading was scheduled to begin. Instead of using the underground tunnel, we decided to just run across the street.

Big mistake.

As we left the building with one umbrella between us, the rain came off the entrance to the building like one of those flat waterfalls decorating a resort pool. As we dashed across the street and tried to open the door, we saw a teensy tiny sign that said "Use Main Entrance" which was a good half block down the street. At this point, I was soaked anyway, so I left my daughter with the umbrella and ran for it. Just as I rounded the corner, one of the street vendors - his souvenirs and teeshirts covered with a clear plastic tarp - chose to tap the top of his tent with a pole, thus releasing a flood of water down my back. I stepped into Indigo looking as though someone had dropped me into a lake and pulled me up by the hair. I could tell people hovered by the door were looking at me, but I couldn't really see much as my glasses were also fogged up and wet. My linen shirt was plastered to my body (thank all the gods I chose black and not white) and the water dripped down my back, my legs and pooled at my feet.

Never mind. David was somewhere in the building.

We crept upstairs, my flip flops squelching at every step, and I heard his very distinctive voice reciting one of his stories (I remember it involved a barber, a towel and the smell of poo. Ah yes, vintage Sedaris.)

There were hundreds of people lined up, so we took our place and waited two hours to meet him. He is unfailingly polite, silly, sweet and kind to everyone. He was late for a flight to New York, and when we got to the front of the line, I was afraid we might miss him as the cut-off time was approaching. I told the security guard, a young French guy, that we'd travelled two hours to see David. He looked shocked, asked "vraiment?!" then let us under the rope.

Now, I promised my good friend k.c. dyer a signed book. And when I asked her what she'd like, I meant did she want "k.c." or "karen" or "karen dyer" on her copy.

She said, "k.c. dyer and something about placenta."

You see, k.c. met David in Vancouver and told him about her friend (me) who wrote a humour piece on placentaphagia or the art of eating placenta. This was short-listed for a non-fiction competition but didn't win. In a cruel twist of fate, I sent my story to a judge who had had a tragic placenta accident, one that haunted her still, some thirty years later. (It remains unpublished (shocking!) along with the Tragic Foreskin Accident story. Out of thirty or so essays published, that's not a bad record, but I'm determined to get those two out there. Surely there's a venue for placenta and foreskin stories?)

My daughter and I finally got to David's table, and when he looked at the sticky note afixed to the book, it said, "k.c. dyer placenta". I mentioned my friend in Vancouver and he said, "Oh YES, I remember her." He might have been lying, but something tells me there aren't many women who mention placenta.

How to explain what I meant without sounding like a babbling idiot? Well, it's not possible, I discovered, as he nodded and moved his chair back as I tried to make myself sound reasonable.

My daughter, young and impossibly beautiful, did better. She got a turtle doodle for her efforts.

I invited David to the SIWC, the best writers' conference around, but he said he tours in October. I explained if Diana Gabaldon can fly in from Arizona, and Anne Perry from Scotland, why can't he make it from France? The publicist then said "Oh, Diana Gabaldon is so gracious and good to her fans, and a pleasure to work with." To which David replied, "Who is she?"

The publicist said she writes about men in kilts, which piqued his interest.

And with that, we were off. The rain was no more, and I had my books safely tucked in my bag.

And if you haven't read any of David's books, get thee to a bookstore.


laughingwolf said...

lol ...good'un, pam ;)

have experienced the montreal traffic you mention, it is pretty aggressive/freaky if not used to it

reminds me of: if you don't like how i drive, get off the sidewalk! ;)

glad you were able to get the books you needed

Trudy said...

What an awesome experience! And he will remember you, I'm sure (...drip, drip, drip).

I love David Sedaris too, and can't recomend him enough to people.

NW, you should have talked to his agent. I'm all intrigued now with the foreskin story!

kc dyer said...


kc dyer and placenta


I love you. I mean, really, really. You _and_ David. And the placenta.



BB said...

Hey, you sounded nervous!! And somehow I don't reckon that's a regular thing with you?? (Of course, I've never met you so what would I know!).

Montreal traffic sounds like sydney traffic - dive in, drive like hell and keep heading in the right general direction...

Love the byplay with the rain!!!
PS Can we hear about the placenta??

A Novel Woman said...

Trudy, you must remember the foreskin accident story involving my neighbour's kid. It was one of the first posts in the old Forum, and I remember making Martin choke and spew all over his keyboard. Ah, good times.

kc, you owe me.(g)

bush babe, it's NOT a regular thing with me, but when you put me in a social setting where I have to make small talk with a stranger, I tend to babble. And how does one explain why one wants "placenta" at a book signing in 30 seconds or less without sounding like a loonie? Well, the short answer is you can't.

A Novel Woman said...


I'm not sure people really want to read the placenta story. It's like looking at a car wreck - you can't help but look, but then you wish you hadn't.

Anonymous said...

great story! I also rave about david sedaris at every opportunity- he's so funny- and ridiculously nice. check out my post on his nyc signing:

Anonymous said...

Bush Babe - I can attest to the babbling when Pam's nervous. Last year, while visiting me, she ran a red light and was pulled over by a young female cop. After rambling on about how she was following me and didn't want to get lost and blah, blah, blah the cop let her go with a warning. Pam said "Oh, that's so nice of you! You're about the same age as my niece! Can I hug you". The cop said no. She did it anyway. That's our Pam.

A Novel Woman said...

Ex-squeeze me, Yutha, but that light was YELLOW when I went through it, and only turned red halfway through as I hurried to keep up with you so I wouldn't get lost. When I noticed the cop waiting on the other side of the intersection, I probably would have been okay had I not:

1. Panicked
2. Slammed on the brakes
3. Squealed the tires louder than teenage girls at a Miley Cyrus concert thus alerting everyone within a ten mile radius
4. Come to a body-lurching dead stop mid-way through the intersection
5. Made the decision to keep going while holding my head and muttering "oh crap oh crap"

What a maroon.

And that cop was so cute, trying to be a Big Girl in her uniform, looking all tough, when you know she has a mom somewhere worrying about her every day. She needed that hug, despite her protests and her ironing board, arms to the sides response. A mom can tell.

Anonymous said...

Whatever.....we did get some good deals at the antique mall, didn't we??