Anne Breaks Her Leg and David Sedaris’s collect of essays HAPPY GO LUCKY

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Ok Anne, set the scene for us. Where were you? What day of the trip? How was the snow? Give us as much as you can before the minutes before the broken leg.

Anne, what did you know about Sedaris before reading this book?

A few details from me related to Sedaris:

  • I was given Sedaris’ book Me Talk Pretty One Day by Matt and Allison Smith in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was around 2000 and I think I was given it pretty shortly after its publication.
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day was the 4th of 14th books
  • story goes Ira Glass (second time he has come up in this podcast) heard him reading from his diary in a club in Chicago

Two other things that come to mind for me about Sedaris:

  • Interesting writing process that appeals to me: He’s changed his writing process to where he works on drafts of the essays as he reads them to audiences. And then after the “tour” is over, then the work is ready to be published. I remember in my doing readings experiences of how much I could see new to change after I’d read a part of one of my books several times.
  • Prodigious walker: At least at times, he is a prodigious walker, something we identify with. Here’s a link to an article in the New York Times about Sedaris’s walking called “Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go.” Sedaris was walking up to 20 miles a day and conducted the interview while pacing (getting steps recorded on his Fitbit) in his NYC apartment.

Observations and Questions for Discussion:

  • Sedaris is even more candid: the essay about the little French boy who keeps grabbing him inappropriately. Writing even though he’ll be judged: take the BLM protest down to 23rd. The way he writes about his father, the pandemic, or elections.
  • He can take anything, and make it a funny story for publication. Far less than we’d think we need for our own story to be published.
  • His mind has obsessively accepted the assignment to look for stories. Nick Hornby saying, “A song for Ben Folds.”
  • Sparked my own idea for a story: Jennifer chases down a woman in Charlotte to tell her to get her dog off the hot pavement.
  • The story of Megan’s mom’s funeral.
  • We all experience our parents getting older, and getting older ourselves. He’s visiting his dad in the nursing home.
  • I liked his advice to the graduates. + his father’s comment, “You should have invited Amy.” (the way that parents talk about their kids) Write Thank You Notes. Our mom, transactional.
  • My story of arriving to LA. What we’re doing here now…

The 18 Essays in Sedaris book Happy Go Lucky:

Active Shooter

  • David and his sister go shoot guns Winston Salem.
  • Pet owners. Lady with a monkey. His sister thinks everyone abuses their pets. (Jennifer story)

Father Time

  • Dad fell and moved into assisted living.


  • Partner Hugh bought a home in France. Sedaris learned the French word for “bruised” first.

A Speech to Graduates

  • He received a bachelor of arts when he was 30.
  • One. When it comes to scented candles, you really need to watch it.

Hurricane Season

  • beach house destroyed by hurricane. Emerald Isle.


  • About his sister Amy and her as a performer.
  • One. When it comes to scented candles, you really need to watch it.


  • His dad is dying. He’s pretty hard on his dad and unloads a lot of his frustrations in this essay.

Themes and Variations

  • Actually seeing people. The themes on his book tours. Taking your bra off. Giving money to strangers.
  • “And there’s no point in me doing anything if I can’t write about it,” I continued. “It would be like…walking ten miles without my Fitbit on—a complete waste. I mean, I do do things I don’t commit to paper: I use the bathroom, I have sex. But I try to be quick about it.”

To Serbia With Love

  • Traveling with the wrong person.

The Vacuum

  • the arrival of the pandemic to everyone’s life. First went the toilet paper.


  • his relationship with Hugh. That they bought the apartment upstairs so Hugh could play the piano with no one watching.

Fresh-Caught Haddock

  • As he did all his walking, he also joined Black Lives Matter protests. I’ll take the BLM down to 23rd Street.


  • Opens with family visiting their dad at assisted living.
  • When Trump was president I started every morning by reading the New York Times, followed by the Washington Post, and would track both papers’ websites regularly throughout the day.

A Better Place

  • Essay on the passing of his father.
  • What if sixty-four years of constant criticism and belittlement were enough, and I’m actually fine with my father and me going our separate ways, him in a cooler at the funeral home and me here at the kids’ table?

Lady Marmalade

  • His dad had some strange tendencies, such as let me see your butthole if David had a stomach ache. David’s sister claimed abuse.

Smile, Beautiful

  • David gets his teeth fixed. He tried to fix someone else’s teeth but they didn’t accept.


  • His dad’s funeral.
  • They could have easily driven to the service from their homes, but instead we all checked into a hotel, a very expensive one, in the town of Cary, and really pushed the boat out, charging everything to the estate: room service, drinks—the works.


  • Looking ahead to the 72 city tour.

Thanks for checking out the podcast!

4 thoughts on “Anne Breaks Her Leg and David Sedaris’s collect of essays HAPPY GO LUCKY

  1. Thank you for this Sedaris summary. I hastily grab the couch whenever one of his stories pops up in the New Yorker. That way with his sister’s books too.


  2. Ha, that’s awesome that we both enjoy him. Thanks for commenting on the post. Hope you are doing well!


  3. Oh my the ski accident. A friend broke her tibia plateau about 6 weeks ago. The doc said it would be 6 weeks then possibly surgery. So hard for her to maneuver as a solo, with cheap crutches and a passel of feral cats to feed. A fair amount of crawling involved. Then, in 4 weeks he announced her healed, no surgery needed. I wish the same for Anne.


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