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New Ways of Seeing: David Sedaris The Best of Me

From Amy Dotson, NWFC Director and PAM Curator, Film & New Media

The Best of Me by David Sedaris is available via the Multnomah County Library.

David Sedaris’s work has never been made into a TV series—though I always thought it would make for a particularly delicious VR experience. The cast of characters real and imagined, the stories true and outrageously concocted, are truly extraordinary in their ordinariness. When I read his stories, essays, and hilarious insights on everything from presidential commentary to his experience working as a department store elf, though, I don’t need them to be translated to another medium. In and of itself, the words he constructs are cinematic to the hilt in my own mind. And damned if it doesn’t make me laugh every single time.

On the eve of our PAM and NWFC partnership with fellow storytellers LiteraryArts, I picked up his newest compilation, ‘The Best of Me.’ As I read, it struck me that reading this anthology was the equivalent of binge-watching my favorite series—while being blissfully screen-free. Over twenty-five years of stories are included, and as I reread the many wild tales of family, love, and loss, it was amazing to watch the storyteller graduate from mining comedy gold with snarky glee to finding joy and humor in the little anomalies life throws our way.

Putting all those moments together, the fresh editing (much like in a great film) made all the difference and allowed me to see Sedaris and his worldview in a whole new light. It was a fine reminder that a creative life, when seen on a continuum, is a rich, wonderful, and bizarre thing indeed.

—Amy Dotson, Director, Northwest Film Center and Curator of Film and New Media

Cover image courtesy Little, Brown and Company