Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Kitchen Sink Stories: Live in Cleveland

David Sedaris

Lesson time 6:27 min

Get a behind-the-scenes look at David’s workshop process while he’s touring and watch as he tries a piece for the first time at a public reading in Cleveland.

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Topics include: Kitchen Sink Stories: Live in Cleveland


[MUSIC PLAYING] DAVID SEDARIS: I consider myself very fortunate that I can rewrite a story and edit a story in front of an audience. Rose, we know each other. When did we last see each other? You know, you can't count on your friends to be honest. You can pretty much count on an audience to be honest. They're not going to laugh if they don't think something's funny. You're 58? I absolutely don't believe that. It's an honor to meet you. Now have you ever eaten horse? - I have no interest, thank you very much. - What if I snuck it by you? You're sitting in a dark room. They know you can't see them. They're under no obligation to have that of pleasure on their face the way that they would if you were in a brightly lit room. ANNOUNCER: Please welcome to the stage, David Sedaris. - I was in Baton Rouge in late May 2013 when a woman approached saying before I had a chance to throw her off balance you got me to put my bra back on. I set down my pen. I beg your pardon? I take it off the second I get home from work, and that usually means it's off for the night she told me. Means I'm not going anywhere for any reason. Then a friend called and told me you were here, so I put it back on and dashed over to see you. Well, thank you I said. I repeated the woman's story the following evening in Atlanta, thinking it might get a nice response. It did, but the laughs were ones of recognition rather than surprise. Do you take your bra off the moment you return from work I asked the first person in line. That particular diary entry, I read it on stage a number of times, and I really liked the way that it worked. And then I mentioned it the next night. And women came up and said I take my bra first thing I-- when I come off work, and it means I'm not going anywhere for any reason. And all these women came forward with these stories. And I met women who said I take my bra off on my way home from work. And I said you pull over. And they say, no, I do it while driving. And they explained how that happens. And I just thought it was funny because I grew up with four sisters and a mother, and I never knew this was going on. So that was kind of a theme for the tour. And then on another tour, the theme was people defecating in stores. People do it all the time. They go to the dressing room at the Gap, and they defecate on the floor. And it happens every store. You talk to anyone who works in a clothing store, and it has happened there. So that was a theme. Sometimes you can take incidents and stitch them together and make a story, make an essay that way. And I guess I just think of them as kitchen sink essays. I mean, you've got all these things lying around, and you just find a way to assemble them and connect them so that they have meaning. On my next book tour, the theme was monkeys, and on the latest one, it was items m...

About the Instructor

With essays in The New Yorker, bestselling books like Calypso, tours, and readings on NPR, David Sedaris is one of the most recognizable essayists alive. Now he teaches you the art of personal storytelling. Learn how David crafts attention-grabbing openings, satisfying endings, and meaning from the mundane—and how he uses humor to connect with others and process the difficult and sometimes dark aspects of everyday life.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

David Sedaris

NYT–bestselling author David Sedaris teaches you how to turn everyday moments into seriously funny stories that connect with audiences.

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