A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me for ‘a good read’ which was more on the lines of ‘not very serious, more of a funny stuff’. So I rushed to my bookshelf, pulled out ‘Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim’ by David Sedaris, and offered it to her. She gladly accepted it. So good so far, but I see her a few weeks later and ask, “How is the Sedaris going?”
She replies blatantly, “I did not like it, so I did not even finish it.”
Okay, so I am now looking for a word for my feelings at that time, lets see, hmm -offended might be it. Really, to me David Sedaris is one of the funniest writers, and has special place in my quartet of favorite writers along with R. K. Narayan, Dave Eggers and Kurt Vonnegut. Although I am still intrigued as to how could somebody not like Sedaris, it is like somebody not liking Santa, idea of a tooth fairy, or a chance to paint Pyramids in their favorite colors. But, as of now, in what we consider as space-time coordinates of ‘present’, my friend does not like David Sedaris. So I start weighing my options; 1) I can walk into her house, paint all her walls with quotes of David Sedaris, 2) Burn all other books, laptops, any connection to outside world in her house, and not let her come out until she has finished reading all the Sedaris books, 3) Not do anything 4) Add her on my ‘revenge list’ and not appreciate her favorite author.
But what I did instead is just ask her, “Why? I mean, I love that guy, I think he is really really funny.”
“I think he is deliberately trying to be funny at each line.”
“But what if, let’s say, the guy is actually that funny. I have seen a few interviews of him and seems like the guy is actually that funny in real life.”
“Oh in that case, I would give it another try”, she says.
Next day, a common friend of us, returns the book on her behalf. I put the book back in my shelf and pull out my copy of another Sedaris book ‘Naked’ and find this quote somewhere in there, “I haven’t the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.”
Later that evening, I mulled over the whole issue under a summery star lit sky, and came to a conclusion that, I learned an important lesson today -You can never become a writer that everyone adores. I wrote this bit of conclusion on paper, read it aloud to me, and then added something at the end, “You can never become a writer that everyone adores, and isn’t this thing true in general, you can never become a person that everyone adores.”
(Photo courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald)