Interview: Amy Sedaris

On sausages, short robes, and stealing her new book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  November 16, 2010


These days, money is a bit tight for all of us. Even for Amy Sedaris. Well, not really. But she can empathize! Which is why she wrote (with Paul Dinello) Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People (Grand Central Publishing). The chance to dress up as Jesus also might have played a tiny part in that decision. In her thrifty new tome, Sedaris — of Strangers with Candy fame — teaches us paupers how to whip up such invaluable crafts as a crab-claw roach clip and a doily seat shield for the nudist in your life under chapter headings like "The Joy of Poverty," "Crafting for Jesus," and "Knowing Your Knack for Knickknacks." I caught up with Sedaris — who refuses to mess with hot-glue guns but knows her way around a blowtorch — over the phone from her apartment in New York.

So, your book is about crafting ideas for poor people. But it's a hardcover book and it costs almost $30.
Poor people steal! That's just the bottom line. Let 'em take it, they can steal it, they can go to the free library, they can wait until it comes out in paperback.

So what would be your best suggestion for a poor person who wants to get your book?
Steal it. No question about it.

At the beginning of the book, it says that "ugly people craft and attractive people have sex." Can I take that to mean that crafting is equivalent to sex for some people?
No, no. It's like, attractive people are so busy out having sex and living their lives that they don't have time. But us crafters are always home, homely-looking and ugly. But at least we don't have STDs. We're free of STDs, right?

On that note, I think that some people who bought this book strictly for crafting purposes might be a bit surprised to come across the chapter on lovemaking. Why did you include it?
I included that chapter because I just wanted to take it into the bedroom. And I was thinking, what kind of crafts do you need in the bedroom? Like the Tickler, you know, so it just gave me something to think about. Because the bedroom is supposed to entice. They say you're not supposed to have a lot of clothes in your bedroom, or furniture, it's supposed to do nothing but trap the person you're attracting. So I thought, "Hmmm, what can I make to sort of jazz up a bedroom?" So that's where that came from. And also, I wanted a short robe. I like short robes on men, so that was opportunity to get that costume into the book.

Oh! What do you like about a man in a short robe?
I just think they're funny. What's the point? What's the point?

There's an entire chapter titled just "Sausages." What's that about?
Well, I'll tell you what that's about. I wanted to originally make a wig just using link sausages — I've been wanting to do that for a long time. Like with sausage curls, but with real sausages. And I was like, "I've got to get that into this book." And then, when I was frying up the sausages, I was like, "Well, why don't we make a log cabin instead?" I think that making sausages is a craft. But the only reason it's in the book is so I could make something out of sausages.

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