David Sedaris talked pretty and signed my book

I’ve confirmed what I’ve long feared – I’m no where near cool enough to be friends with David Sedaris in real life.

You’d think I would be.

We’re both writers. People think both of us are funny. And we both date boys.

But when he asked if I knew that breast milk could cure eye infections, as I approached him Thursday night – I stumbled without ever finding a clever response. Likely because I’d never had the good fortunate to need breast milk for an eye infection.

My friend Beth and I had just been to his show, and then waited in a two-hour line set up roller-coaster-wait style in the hottest conference room this side of the Mississippi.

“Oh. Um. infections?”

“EYE infections.”

“Oh. Um. No. Um. Oh. Oh. Um. Thanks so much for coming to the quad-cities and signing everyone’s book. I think that’s really awesome,” I said faster than a speeding bullet. “I have a question for you. How do you think your career would be different if you were just starting out now? What with all the digital media and blogs?”

“Well, I think it would be worse. Everyone expects everything to be free now,” he told the newspaper reporter still chugging through her company’s pay cuts. Sedaris went on to explain how he’d negotiated his book contract for a three-book deal, and then started talking about how much he makes in advance.

At that point, he asked the two girls who still look for coupons before going to a sit-down restaurant,  how much we think he gets for an advance.

“I don’t know.”

“Just guess. Take a guess.”

“Ten thousand dollars?” I said.

For real.

That’s what I said.

I honest to God, at that moment, thought $10,000 was a lot of money.

“$100,000?” Beth chimed in, trying to save me.

He gave us a blank stare that said, quite clearly “you are in no way cool enough to be my friend in real life.”

“You think I get $100,000 as an advance? Really?”

To quote Sedaris himself, “It seems open and shut now, but at the time I was truly conflicted.”

Was $100,000 too much? No. It couldn’t be too much. Too little? By how much?


This isn’t going well.

I swear to ink, if this man doesn’t tell me how much his book advances are, I’m googleing the crap out of it the second we get home.

“Well, let’s say I make $2 per book. The way an advance works, is that if they give me $3 million before hand,  I then have to sell 1.5 million copies before I start getting royalties,” he explained.


The man makes a $3 million advance, and I guessed $10,000.

“Oh. Wow. Ok. I understand. Umm, my friend beth has a quick question I think.” ask him!” I whisper-yelled to her.

“Oh. Um. What’s your favorite word?”


“Oh.” “I don’t know what that means”


“It’s Ethiopian for hello”

Phew. I wasn’t supposed to know what it means. It’s not even my language. Thank dictionary.

Then beth told him about the Web site Etiquette Hell because he’d told a few stories about rude people during the show and had requested more from readers during the signing. He then took out his notepad, wrote it down, and said he’d check it out.

Maybe we redeemed ourselves.

Probably not.

But maybe.

Oh. and Don’t worry. I gave him my blog card.

Sedaris doesn’t allow photos. At all. (Ask him about that time at Costco, if you ever get a chance), so I don’t have photographic proof this all happened. However, I will post the super-duper awesome picture I have of my signed copy of “When you are engulfed in flames.” You can be jealous if you want. I’m cool with it.


– yes. he drew that picture of the lincoln-turtle. no, I’m not sure why.

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The story of how I met Hugh MacLeod and he SIGNED MY BOOK!

A few months ago I got this book called Ignore everybody. and 39 other keys to creativity.” and I read it in one sitting. and then I read it again. and then I showed it to everyone I know. And then I read it again. I loved it as much as nearly as much as I love johnny depp.

The author Hugh MacLeod became my hero. The man made me want to be a better person, with his awesome advice such as “Never try to sell a meteor to a dinosaur. it wastes your time and annoys the dinosaur.” AND  “Quality isn’t job number one. Being totally f*cking amazing is job number one.” (except he didn’t use a star in the F-word, like I did – he’s a little bit cooler than me).

because I love him so much, I facebook-stalked him. and then I twitter-stalked him. and one time I tweeted about how he was my hero, and he @ replied!

author sigh.

yesterday I was doing my daily facebook stalk of his profile, when I saw this magical, amazing, wonderful post:

#Chicago #Tweetup tonight with @gapingvoid and @vinnywarren: Felix Hotel (at the bar). 111 W. Huron (@ Clark) 7pm.

holy crap. I LIVE by chicago! I could totally go to that!!

for about three seconds, I worried about imposing on some sort of close-door meeting meant only for his real-life friends, so I Facebook-ed him to be sure it was an open invitation.

He said:

Sure, come along! See you there 🙂

Can I get an “OMG!”

I pulled out the dangling silver earrings, a lovely purple top and greet heels.

All I needed was my voice. Not like, my “writer’s voice.” My actual real voice.

Laryngitis had left me sounding like a bar whore who’d been living on a pack a day for 43 years while also regularly attending rock concerts. I was scratchy and squeaky and awful. I drank hot tea, refused to talk to anyone all afternoon and hoped for the best.

The best didn’t happen.

When I arrived, I squeaked out a “heeeloo.”

Everyone assured me that I sounded like a jazz singer, which helped (ish) but even still, I kept pretty quiet and mostly just looked around in wonder and amazement, while everyone told WAY cooler stories than anything I could come up with.

And anyway, my secret plan really was just to get  Hugh to sign my book. I didn’t want to look crazy though, so when I came in, I hid it in my coat. (I’m sure the large square-shaped thing in my pocket was TOTALLY sly).

After about an hour,  I worked up the nerve to ask his business manager if I’d be weird to ask for an autograph. He gave me the “you’re such a silly little girl. yes you are. oh yes you are”  look, and said “It’d be fine.”

Not only did Hugh sign it though, he also drew a picture! (this is exciting because he’s a cartoonist).

Best night eva.

le sigh.

I’m pretty sure he just got a new fan for life.

Just in case you think I’m making the whole thing up, here’s proof that I really am cool. It’s a picture of Hugh holding the book he signed for me (you can see how it would be hard to fit in a coat pocket):


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