SAIC Writing alum David Sedaris (BFA 1987) may be a household name now, but that wasn't always the case.
As John Warner at the Chicago Tribune points out, the acclaimed essayist arrived in Chicago from Raleigh, NC pie-eyed and aimless. Prior to his admittance to the School, Sedaris was working various labor jobs. He was also pursuing visual arts work with some success. A series of seemingly random circumstances helped form the Sedaris we know and love today.
Sedaris' time in Chicago is discussed at length in Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977–2002, a selection of the author's diaries whittled down to 500 pages from a total of 156 volumes. Chock full of stories that trace the arc of his career (a chance meeting with Ira Glass led to The Santaland Diaries airing on National Public Radio), the book also reads as a snapshot of the artist's life in the Windy City. Warner himself recognized Sedaris' apartment address because he moved into an apartment in the same neighborhood 13 years later. Like the essays themselves, it's interesting to note how much of your life has intersected with his.