If Only I Were David Sedaris

If only I were David Sedaris. Every book, every article he writes impresses me so. Journey Into the Night is no exception. Published in the New Yorker back in 2007, this essay is riveting. It begins by discussing the annoyances of long-distance flights (in Sedaris’ case, specifically from New York to Paris) and the almost-embarrassingly superior treatment that Business Elite flyers receive. Sedaris then tells the story of a Polish flyer who was moved next to him, in his Business Elite seat, because the man had been crying over the loss of his recently deceased mother and disrupting flyers in the front of the plane. Hilariously, he paints the man as over-reacting and childish—disrupting his $8,000 flight experience and preventing him from watching a low-grade movie that other Business Elites laugh at up front. But in the end, we find both Sedaris and the Polish man crying side-by-side after Sedaris reminisced on teenage memories of his incessantly farting grandmother and the blood-bearing beatings his father would impose in response to his laughter.

I wish I had written this article because it is hilarious. One thing I suck at as a writer is being funny. Actually, in general, I’m not really a funny person. I tell jokes frequently, but people never really laugh. They just give that warm smirk that seems to say, “At least you tried.” In any case, I think that incorporating humor into my project (and into my life) would be extremely beneficial. As Adam mentioned early on in our course, “You can never take yourself too seriously.” I should try to do differently.

I also admire this piece of writing because it is so unpredictable. There is no linear structure to the essay at all—we, as readers, never know what to expect. In fact, he rarely references anything he said earlier in the essay. He is not trying to make a point; rather, he arrives at a point. I may be able to incorporate this tactic into my project, though it will definitely be more difficult than the last. The only way I would be able to do it is by using the personal narrative aspect of my project creatively. A professor once described an essay of mine as “like an Impressionist painting.” That was an accident though. Perhaps I could do it again. But would it be fitting? Regardless, I suggest to myself that I keep it in mind.

2 thoughts to “If Only I Were David Sedaris”

  1. Hi Cameron-
    This article sounds hilarious and I can’t wait to read it after I finish writing this comment… I think it can be very hard conveying humor through writing. Whenever I am trying to make something funny in my writing, I always feel like it doesn’t read that way. Maybe you could try to incorporate a bit of humor in your final project? Not sure exactly how that would fit, but it could be a fun challenge!


  2. Cameron,
    Humor is always a nice addition to any piece of writing. But the key to being funny is not to try! Especially in writing, it is pretty obvious when a joke is forced or thought through too much. Just keep an open mind when you are working on your project and if someone you are talking to says something funny, or if you think of a silly pun, don’t be afraid to use it. I try to incorporate humor into my writing a lot, and it doesn’t always work. But its okay if it doesn’t- we are here to test our limits as writers.

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