David Sedaris Has Very Strong Feelings About Candles

David Sedaris Has Very Strong Feelings About Candles

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Melissa Massello
May 30, 2018
(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

When it comes to taboo life advice that one can actually use in their 20s and 30s, beloved humorist and author David Sedaris dishes out some of the best. (Hello, that cautionary-tale tip from Me Talk Pretty One Day that keeps us all from trying on thrift store jeans before they've been washed, amiright?) On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week, Sedaris shared a peek of the commencement address he gave at Oberlin College—and his strong feelings about candles.

Among the "major" pieces of life advice that he had for Oberlin graduates at the commencement ceremony this past Monday, Sedaris shared with Colbert that he believes there are truly only two brands of candles worth buying at all. Both are French brands, which also make sense if you already know that Sedaris famously lived in France (adventures that are thoroughly chronicled in some of his now ten best-selling books.)

Sedaris told Colbert:

"I started keeping a list of my wisdom. Part of it is, you have to be really careful about scented candles. There's really only two kinds worth having. And if you don't get those two kinds of scented candles, you have to go without. It's a hard lesson to learn. Diptyque or Trudon."

Also part of his "eight-part message" to the graduates, the humorist told Colbert on The Late Show a few days prior that parents shouldn't encourage artists and creative types to have a fall-back plan, and that twentysomethings should revel in how beautiful they are now, not compare themselves to their classmates—advice that was all delivered in his signature, slightly squeamish for the straight-laced, style.

But more importantly, back to those candles. Sedaris has had a long-standing love affair with mood lighting and its transformative effects—something he shared in detail in this 2014 essay Sedaris penned for Harper's Bazaar:

"Everyone looked better in the soft glow of a candle, and everything as well: the battery-powered grandfather clock, the ceiling with its smoke-stained cottage-cheese finish, the gravy-spattered family portraits displayed atop the buffet; until the overhead light was snapped back on, all of these things were forgiven."

In addition to receiving an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Oberlin for his "sardonic wit and incisive social critiques", Sedaris's latest book—Calypso—was just published with Little Brown & Co. this week.

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