On a recent road trip to Missouri, I listened to the audiobook version of Dress Your Family in Cordurory and Denim, by David Sedaris, the popular essayist. This was my first exposure to his writing—although I’ve been aware of his books for years, and enjoyed his interview in the current issue of Writer’s Digest.
This six-cd audiobook begins with remembrances of his early childhood and moves to adulthood (primarily featuring his, er, wacky family.) The essays are often poignant and heartbreaking. They can also be downright hilarious. The best part is that Sedaris himself reads the essays, which makes them even funnier--or more heartbreaking, as the case may be.
There were a few times I was laughing so hard, that if another car happened to pass from the opposite direction, I imagine the conversation would run something like this:
Driver: “Did you see that woman? She was screaming with laughter.”
Passenger: “Don't some of the Harry Potter characters do that?”
Driver: “Only the mean Slytherin girls.”
Passenger: “Did the woman look mean?”
Driver: “No. Just maniacal, like when that Hogwart’s teacher gets drunk on cooking sherry...”
You get the idea.
The nice thing about listening to an audiobook is that my eight-hour drive flies by. I typically spend time thinking about my current writing project and the scenery and sky, which is enjoyable and lets my creativity sort of go on subliminal auto-pilot. However, on the trip before this one I found that worries about the health of my 90 year-old mother was pushing into my creative space...and the driving time seemed to stretch out. That was the impetus for getting an audiobook for the next trip.
Trust me when I say: Never doubt the healing power of laughter.
I will probably never read one of David Sedaris’s books, because I’m convinced that listening is the best way experience them. That, and he's a darn good traveling companion.