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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because when I’m a fan. gosh darn it, I’m a fan.

I just read this superduper awesome book. The Year of Living Biblically” by A.J. Jacobs per a reccomendation by my super awesome uncle (cousin? family lines are tricky) scott. (hi scott!)

and I LOVE IT!

in fact. YOU should probably go read the book right now and then we can talk about it. it’s about this guy (A.J.) who lives a year of his life following the bible literally. and although he’s an agnostic. the book had a strange affect on me.

maybe it was because the book wasn’t written by someone talking down to me. or maybe it was because there were just SO many verses referenced. or maybe it was because the word “biblically” was in the title. but whatever it was. I feel like praying more.

and, so because I had A.J. Jacobs to thank for my new found stronger faith, I thought I should probably ask him to be my friend on facebook.

and then send him a message on facebook telling him how awesome he is.

and then e-mail him the following e-mail:


I just sent you a message on Facebook too, but I swear I’m not a stalker. My name is Crystal Lindell and I work as a reporter in the Chicago Suburbs. I’m on month 11 of your book ‘Living Biblically’ and I just wanted to drop you a note to say that a. I LOVE the book, B. I’ve oficially decided to reccomend it to EVERYONE I know. C. I’m sad that I’m getting to the end, because I enjoy reading it so much.

Favorite parts so far include (but are not limited to): 1. You and the chicken. 2. Your visit to Uncle Gil 3. The husband who makes his wife go into a different room for seven days every month and then claims it’s a nice break for her from chores. 4. Your many reasons for avoiding handshakes.

And I also wanted to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about the various topics you address. For example, I just went to Wal-Mart to buy some contact solution because I couldn’t see out of my left eye, and I was kinda in a hurry to clean my contact. But the woman in front of me was taking FOREVER, and then she was trying to make me laugh by doing things like pointing to her four apple-cinnomon air fresheners and saying ‘If my house doesn’t smell like apple-cinnomon after this I quit.” But I didn’t laugh, because it wasn’t funny. And then she had about 12 coupons, each of which she had to dig out of her clear, plastic coupon book. And THEN, she explained to the casheir about a time Wal-Mart had accidently charged her twice for the same purchase and the refused to credit her bank account the difference.
And I was thinking ‘Be slow to anger,” which is one of the things you work on in your book. So, I took I deep breath and tried to think happy thoughts. And I was able to complete my transaction without even giving the woman an evil eye.

Anyway, I’m sure you get a TON of e-mail everyday, so if you took the time to read this, I really appreciate it. I am planning to read ‘The Know-it-all” next and I’m very excited about it.

You newest fan,
Crystal Lindell

but he didn’t e-mail me back.

so I was a little sad.

but then. oh snap! he facebooked me:

“I’d love to be your friend.

And it totally made my day.

and so, I’m going to have to go out and by some more of this man’s books. so i can stalk him. and then maybe one day, he’ll film a movie where I live and I can shake his hand.

stranger things have happened.

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