cheers

Just up from underground and off a fresh spate of dining entertainment, I’ve been cloudgathering about who I’d ask to dinner, given that fantasy scenario of “anyone alive or dead”– just, you know, in case.

The prime directive, naturally, would be managing the blend of personalities. Necessarily I’d need known folks in the mix, as the prospect of a tableful of strangers raises dread of utterly strained conversation. Probably I’m limited in this regard, “pure” discussion topics being only very slightly engrossing– for me the best sort of talk is at once bright and personal, courteous if spicy and occasionally riotous–a degree of engagement usually context-driven, based on shared experience or relatable reference points– problematic given a stagey scenario of wildly diverse personages. And yet the prospect still somehow appeals.

So how to achieve a lively alchemy? Likely by involving participants adept at both talk and listening, responsive to one another, inclined to engage generously and imaginatively with other folks alike or dissimilar, willing to dip into and out of the spotlight, inviting partners either graceful or awkward to step in and whirl away, no one dominating overmuch. Dynamic balance.

Impolitic as it would be to pick and choose friends publicly (of course you‘re on the guest list), I’ll restrict myself here to idiosyncratic selection of delightful strangers:

  • Neil Gaiman
  • Laurie Anderson
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Edward Norton
  • Roald Dahl
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Katherine Hepburn
  • Jane Austen
  • Phillip Pullman
  • Joseph Cornell

Next up: the fictional characters cocktail party list.

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