He should know, given the viciousness with which he criticizes his own work. Even now his stories require more than twenty drafts to get right, as he mentions in the PBS NewsHour clip at the top of the post , but when he re-read his first diaries, "it was really painful. Really painful." These early entries revealed that "no one was a worse writer than me. No one was more false. No one was more pretentious. It was just absolute garbage." But some of them hint at things to come. "I stayed up all night and worked on my new story," a 28-year-old Sedaris writes in 1985. "Unfortunately, I write like I paint: one corner at a time. I can never step back and see the full picture. Instead, I concentrate on a little square and realize later that it looks nothing like the real live object. Maybe it's my strength, and I'm the only one who can't see it."
Subsequently, in the wake of a controversy involving Mike Daisey 's dramatizing and embellishing his personal experiences at Chinese factories, during an excerpt from his theatrical monologue for This American Life , new attention has been paid to the veracity of Sedaris' nonfiction stories. NPR will label stories from Sedaris, such as " SantaLand Diaries ", as fiction, while This American Life will fact check stories to the extent that memories and long-ago conversations can be checked.  The New Yorker already subjects nonfiction stories written for that magazine to its comprehensive fact-checking policy.