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.

my bookclub does it right

regardless of how much I may or may not get into the book (this time was calvino’s _the baron in the trees_– I find calvino intriguing, playful, and impossible to invest in emotionally), there is without fail a feast for the senses: food, drink, and frequently an array of other nifty stuff to look at.

the mysticism of friendship

I don’t know how they do it, but they do. I will be scraping along in the sediment of whatever mundane moods seep up of a given day, given week, and a glowing little missive will come fluttering into my inbox to spark alight all the damp and dreary ends back into something warm and pulsing. stillness along the threads that comprise my extended friendship network is completely understandable and natural in the way of ebbing and flowing busy lives, if mournful to the one who’s blue– and I do know that my own fingers should tap out a morse to call forth a reassuring echo when in need– but sometimes these true friends just, somehow, know, and do it, all on their own, just like that– and the whole thing comes awake, alive, and I am nestled, nested, cocooned once more by the knowing of those who value and love me in this world, and all is right again.

of summer and friends and babies

golly. it’s the first time in what feels like a Very Long Time that I have lain in bed in the morning and tippity-tappety meandered around catching up with people in the virtual realm– especially my mom- and mom-to-be friends jen and laurel and hanh. I expect the evident common denominator here is more than a little attributable to being a woman of a certain age, entering a domesticating stage and considering issues of, well, just what many of the women I know are doing around this time of life: having babies, writing, juggling various identities.

also, likely, due to the fact that I’m on the cusp of my first real roadtrip vacation in a very long time, all based around a dear friend’s wedding– next week we’ll be hopping in the car and meandering out to new york for my gorgeous friend thisbe’s backyard wedding hoo-ha! I’m totally totally excited for the free time and excursion with my darlin’ and the chance to see good old friends who live too far away to visit more frequently. we’ll be going into manhattan for a couple of days of art museums and staying at the home of one of my very oldest and dearest friends masha, with whom I went to boarding school. right now both chris and I are busy trying to tie up loose ends and arrange for backup on work projects while we’re gone– it’s a bit of a scramble. and for some reason or other I bought a gallon of milk the other day right before vacating. silly sarah.

we have a new tent and a new air mattress to put in it, and we will be kamping at the KOA kampground right near the wedding site along with a slew of other revelers. I’m having gleeful visions of firepits and smores and jumping in the swimming hole out back of thisbe & jay’s place. proper summer. I’ve been craving it. for all my proximity to a great lake, it’s a doggone shame that I haven’t thrown on my suit and jumped in it since last year. swimming and sloshing around in great fresh bodies of water is without a doubt my A #1 favorite all-time activity. the unfortunate thing is that the lifeguards on the chicago beaches won’t let you go out above where the water hits your knees– very aggravating, though I do get that they have a job to do and a swarming populace with iffy water skills to manage. but sometimes you just really want to get in over your head, yknow?