Only dead people will be invited to my dinner party. Perhaps “formerly living” is a more polite term for the dead? No, dead is better; upfront is always better. We’ll plan the party for the living another day.

Julia Child must come. I suspect that she wasn’t cooked for often, except at restaurants. It sucks to be the one who always makes the meals, especially for celebrations. I would love the opportunity to pamper Julia with a special meal. I’m certain that she would also be a fantastic guest, full of interesting stories and ready to laugh at anything. I read her book My Life in France, written with Alex Prud’homme, and recommend it to anyone looking for a light read. She and her husband truly had a love affair, something else I admire.

May Swenson, the poet, would be invited. I would love to get to know her. Her poems are accessible even to those who claim to not like poetry; she even wrote a couple of books of poetry for children. The language she uses has a sensual quality that is very compelling. This is an excerpt from Strawberrying:

A crop this thick begs for plunder. Ripeness

wants to be ravished, as udders of cows when hard,

the blue-veined bags distended, ache to be stripped.

Hunkered in mud between the rows, sun burning

the backs of our necks, we grope for, and rip loose

soft nippled heads. If they bleed–too soft–

let them stay. Let them rot in the heat.


I think we need someone with an edge at the party: too many easy-going guests and we may end up napping. Like a novel that lingers too long on the beautiful scenery before exposing the conflict, dinner conversation without a bit of spice is soporific. Angela Carter, the novelist, is just the remedy for too much niceness. Among other erotic, feminist fiction, she wrote the well-known The Bloody Chamber, a grown woman’s version of fairy tales. Her personal life was fascinating, including time spent working in Japan, Australia, the United States and her native United Kingdom.

It strikes me that Frida Kahlo would be a good addition to our guest list. I don’t know much beyond what was depicted in the movie about her life. Her struggle to be an artist was inspiring, and her art is beautifully compelling, suggesting an unflinching view of life that I appreciate.

Frida Kahlo reminds me of a the Lady Smoking a Hookah, by Dip Chand. That lady, sitting outside on her fine chair, smoking that elaborate hookah, fascinates me. I would like to sit next to her and ask about her life. She is so composed and cool, she would definitely bring some much needed tone.

Who would you have at your fantasy dinner party?