I mentioned Tobias Wolff in yesterday’s journal entry. As coincidence had it, I happened to hear David Sedaris read from his works just a few weeks after I’d seen Wolff.
Wolff, as I’d noted, appeared at a local college, where admission was free, the event open to the public. Sedaris, on the other hand, performed at the Pikes Peak Center—a large venue, home to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic—with tickets averaging a hefty $45.
Wolff’s performance had attracted a tidy crowd of perhaps 150 people—academics, mostly, and literary types—while Sedaris’s reading drew a packed house (an astonishing 2000 listeners) composed not only of book bums like myself, but jewelry-rattling socialites from The Broadmoor.
Both performances were remarkable. But what made Sedaris’s performance more remarkable than Wolff’s (bear with me here), was that, near the end of the reading, after thanking the audience for their interest, the young humorist raised Wolff’s name—out of nowhere—proclaiming him the truer master of the short story form, and a writer whose books deserved their attention.
I’ve often wondered if Wolff ever got world of Sedaris’s generosity.