I want to be a better storyteller. It’s hard. Storytelling in general is hard, but ending a story, that seems almost impossible to do well. And it’s not only me; I do a good bit of reading and most people seem unable to end a story with any kind of conclusion or punch line. Most just stop, like the author ran-out of words or couldn’t be bothered to continue. I’m not sure if this is an editing problem or perhaps a psychological problem and ending a story is really that difficult and those who do it well are just better writers than the rest of us. I decided to read some books on the craft and see if I could learn a few tricks, a better way to think about storytelling in general.
The first book I picked up was Long Story Short by Margot Leitman. In the opening chapter Leitman is describing how she got into storytelling and how she was having a discussion with her agent: “What about David Sedaris? He sells books, and does live tours where he just reads his true stories, and he’s a household name. I’d like to be the next David Sedaris.”
David Sedaris isn’t a good storyteller. Wikipedia says he’s “an American humorist,” but he’s not funny. And he can’t end a story better than anyone else. I’ve read pieces of many of his books; pieces because I can’t get through them, they’re uninteresting. How is David Sedaris famous? This is not a rhetorical question. If you like him, please email me and explain yourself.