David Sedaris Suddenly Appears in My Erotic Story
That deadpan voice is really messing it up
A while back I was working on a new erotica story. It’s one that’s been rolling around in my head for some time, and at last, it came together enough in my imagination to be able to write it out. It’s called I’m All Yours and is a fantasy tale about a young woman having a steamy encounter with a houseguest in her parent’s home while they are away. The houseguest, Michael, catches her in a series of lies and tells her that she deserves to be punished. He asks her if she thinks he ought to give her a good spanking and she agrees. The story heats up from there.
As I always do when I’ve written something new, I read it to James aloud. He particularly enjoys the erotica, but he loves to hear anything I’ve written and never reads it for himself; I always read it to him. As I started in on this hot story, I began to hear a voice in my head, even as I was speaking aloud in my own voice. It’s me reading this erotic tale, one that I’ve been wanting to share with my partner for some time, in the voice of humorist and frequent NPR contributor, David Sedaris. Sedaris has been a favorite of ours for years with compilations of essays like, Me Talk Pretty One Day about moving to France without speaking the language and Holidays on Ice, about how Christmas with your relatives will drive you to drink. He voices the audio versions of all of his works and tours internationally doing readings of them. When he came to our city a few years ago, we went and heard him and came away with sides that hurt from laughing so much.
David Sedaris has a very particular style of delivery. It’s calm and understated even as he describes preposterous behavior or outlandish scenarios. We recently listened to his latest, Calypso, on audiobooks while on a long drive. In one particularly hilarious but uncomfortable essay, Sedaris describes being on an airplane in the seat behind an old man who loses control of his bowels at 30,000 feet where there isn’t much he can really do about it. Sedaris postulates about how that will likely be him one day, all the while using a rather deadpan voice and a signature measured cadence.
This cadence is what I began to notice first as I was reading aloud about the main character’s description of her pseudo-boyfriend who lived next door.
We liked each other well enough but it was mostly a relationship of proximity and hormones. His parents had a strict “doors-open-with-female-guests” policy and so all of our kissing and groping took place standing up behind his door, out of sight of their prying eyes. We hadn’t gotten too far.
And then the voice itself came through in my head and I had to stop and laugh and tell James. “I keep hearing David Sedaris as I’m reading you this. I’m on the verge of slipping fully into a complete impression of his delivery. And given what I’m saying, I’m having a really hard time not just cracking up.” And then I did do a couple of lines the way Sedaris might deliver them, just for effect and we both had a really good laugh.