Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dinner Party - September

Okay, so the last dinner party I threw was a big success. I still can’t explain this; maybe it was the food but I didn’t really go all out, and theme-wise it wasn’t half as cool as the murder mystery dinner party that I threw in college, which had a Clue theme. Mr. Plaid showed up in a kilt, and Mr. Orange, whose character was a drug addict, showed up with a whole baggie full of Pixy Stick powder, which Ms. Peach promptly flushed down the toilet. Mr. Orange was really upset; he was planning to eat his drugs after the party was over.

Oh, and Ms. Peach smacked Mr. Black right across the face, which really astounded me, because Ms. Peach is my best friend, and Mr. Black is Slayer. Yeouch!

Anyway, if I could stop digressing for more than two seconds, I thought I’d throw a dinner party once a month, until I run out of ideas or you all quit reading The Wonder That Is My Blog. Because you’re enabling me; I hope you realize that.

So this month’s dinner party is the other obvious one: authors. Forget the characters; whose mind do you want to pick over canapés? Who do you want to gush over while consuming a mountain of pate or a hillock of potato salad?

Frankly, I just like the word “hillock.”

Who would you invite and why? You can choose any published author, alive or dead, and you only have enough plates for five. Yes, I’m sure you could give the famous authors paper plates, but then they would think you were a loser. That would be bad.

My choices are unsurprisingly weighted toward funny people, because I hope their skill at humor will rub off on me. Although maybe this is a bad idea because they’ll all think I’m a frottager (person who gets off on jostling people—my high school history teacher did one heck of a memorable impression). I don’t mean rub off on me literally. Pervs.

1. Oscar Wilde – If you’ve never read or seen The Importance of Being Earnest, you are missing out on a snarf fest. True, Dorian Grey isn’t exactly chucklicious; in fact it frightened the bejeezus out of me. And then there are Mr. Wilde’s famous last words: looking at a wall full of ugly wallpaper from his sickbed, he said: “Either the wallpaper goes, or I go.” He kept his word. Anyone who would die just to avoid ugly wallpaper is too funny to pass up. Although he’s not allowed to go into our bathroom because we haven’t been able to renovate it since moving in this summer. He’d probably die all over again.

2. Dorothy Sayers – Ms. Sayers is going to fill my literate humor category, because you honestly need a classical dictionary to understand all the lit references in her books. She will probably make me feel stupid, but that’s okay. If worst comes to worst, I’ll sic Oscar on her.

3. Terry Pratchett – And Mr. Pratchett will sit in the silly humor chair, complete with whoopee cushion. I hope he brings a contingent of the Nac Mac Feegle with him. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing out. The Nac Mac Feegle made me snarf, quite literally. Spewed Dr. Pepper all over my sheets.

4. Maureen Johnson – I know, I’m all about the MJ. It’s all MJ fangirlishness, all the time. But when it comes to YA, she rocks the casbah. She’s made of awesome. And she would probably bring her ABBA CDs and a disco ball to the party. I’d be getting my swerve on with MJ, which would be rocking cool.

5. This last spot was tough, because I love Tom Robbins but I’ve been there and done that dinner party wise. And I was tempted to give it to Robert Jordan because I find his books unintentionally funny. Please don’t come after me with stinky cheese if you’re a Jordan fan; it’s just that he repeats himself so much that it’s funny: “Rand wished, and not for the first time, that Mat and Perrin were here. They understood girls… And Mat wished, not for the first time, that Rand and Perrin were here, because they would know what to do. They understood women… Perrin wished, and not for the first time, that Robert Jordan would quit repeating himself, because he knew that readers weren’t dumb and had the picture already!”

But ultimately, I think I’m going to go for Carl Hiaasen. He does both adult and YA, and Skinny Dip is so fabulous that I think he’d fit the wacky humor seat quite nicely. Of course, maybe I should be in that seat. Or maybe I should be in the drooly fangirl seat. Or the chatters-in-a-panic seat, because that’s what I do when I get nervous. Ask my agent. I have no idea what I told her during that first phone call. I have this vague recollection of telling her all about my stalkers. I’ve had four; one thought he was Antonio Banderas. I’m sure that really made the difference when it came to taking me on as a client.

I've got connections. I know Antonio, or I did until Slayer scared him off for me. Maybe he'll blurb my book for me.


K.C. Shaw said...

I like your choices, except you almost picked Tom Robbins. Ick. I can't stand Tom Robbins. He's not allowed to come to my dinner party. In fact, if he was invited to a dinner party down the street, I'd move.

Hmm, who would I invite? Dorothy Sayers, definitely. Diana Wynne Jones because she's my favorite writer and I bet she's a lot of fun to talk to. I'd invite Terry Pratchett, but he probably gets so many invitations he couldn't come anyway, so instead I'd invite Dorothy Parker, because she and Dorothy Sayers would either love each other or hate each other--either way it'd be fun to observe. And I'll go with your idea for Oscar Wilde too, who hopefully would keep Dorothy Parker in line (or just encourage her). And lastly, I guess I'd invite Flannery O'Connor, even though there's a good chance she'd turn out to be a little bit of a wet blanket; either that or she'd keep us all entertained with her gallows humor.

I suspect it would end up with Flannery, the Dorothys, and Oscar all trying to one-up each other with zingers, while Diana Wynne Jones and I talked about her books in the corner. Because I am such a fangirl I would just have to talk about her books constantly, and when she finally went home she'd probably be exhausted and annoyed with me, because really all she wanted to do was talk to Flannery O'Connor.

Unknown said...

That's a hard one. There's a plethora of writers I'd like to cook for. Just off hand, I'd say:

Ernest Hemingway
Silvia Plath
(I wonder if they would get along at all. I doubt it.)
Herman Melville
Ambrose Bierce
Dante Aligheri

Ach. That would be a quiet solemn dinner.

Carrie Harris said...

KC: I actually WENT to a dinner party with Tom Robbins. It was quite nice, although I do understand that his books aren't for everyone. What am I talking about "quite nice"? It was freaking GREAT! :)

Jeremy: Good choices, but I think Plath would probably disembowel Hemmingway with a salad fork. Oh, and Dante is a FABULOUS choice!

Jamie Eyberg said...

Writers for dinner. hmm. . . let me see. I would like to eat with (I think i will try to keep all of mine alive, nothing like trying to choke down a steak with a dead person next to you and trying remain calm.)
1. Annie Proulx. I really just like her style.
2. Dean Koontz. I want to find out if he really has written all of those books he claims to.
3. A. Mannette Ansay. I met her once before her Oprah thing and she is really a sweet person. Just fun to talk to.
4 & 5. Jon Scieska and Lane Smith. These two collaborated on one of my favorite children's picture books, The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales. How cool would that be.

PJ Hoover said...

Funny of the Robert Jordan (and yes, I am a fan with I'm thinking the same sentiments as you).

Hard question because we should never meet our heroes, right? But let's see:

1) You (cause you're funny);
2) Rick Riordan (cause he's brilliant);
3) Zahi Hawaas (cause he knows Egypt);
4) Orson Scott Card (cause he seems way cool);
5) Tad Williams (once again, brilliant)

Jamie Eyberg said...

Just wanted to say that if any of you writers happen to make it to Iowa and actually want to have a dinner party just email me and I'll see what I can come up with.

Tabitha said...

Five writers? Hmm...

Well, I'd definitely invite Madeline L'Engle because, in A Wrinkle In Time, she made stubborness look like some kind of super power. And, hey, I've got stubborness aplenty, so I'd want to say thanks on behalf of all stubborn people across the world.

I'd also invite Jerry Spinelli, just so I could hear the room chant "Maniac! Maniac!" My neighbors would probably look at me funny for days afterwards. :)

I'm with you all the way on Carl Hiassen. And I'd invite Linda Sue Park and Katharine Patterson because they're brilliant (but anyone who calls me "Terabithia" gets their invite revoked). :)

Jordan McMakin said...

I want to play!! My top 5 authors would have to be:

1. Ellen Raskin (brilliant!)
2. Agatha Christie (for obvious reasons)
1. Philippa Gregory (queen of 'celebrity gossip' back in day, you know)
2. Gregory Maguire (totally brings the WICKED to any party)
3. Dr. Seuss... definitely the Doctor.
4. Sarah Rees Brennan (her book isn't even out yet, but she is pure coolness on so many levels)

This was fun!
p.s. loves the blog, Carrie - you are hysterical!! ;)

Marcia said...

My five:

1. Madeleine L'Engle
2. Louisa May Alcott
3. Jan Karon
4. LM Montgomery
5. The Apostle John.

Oh dear. Poor John at this hen party. I may need more chairs.

Marcia said...

Oh dear! I forgot my bio subject, Anne Bradstreet. She HAS to come. But I can't boot anybody, so I need a bigger table. And how about Wordsworth so John isn't the only guy?

Carrie Harris said...

Jamie: Yeah, maybe I should have said that this party occurs in an alternate reality where the dead can come back to life. Like my dining room. I TOLD you I had a cool new house.

Oh, and that might actually happen, because like I said, a bunch of my relatives live in Iowa. So you may want to retract that offer.

Tabitha: L'Engle is such a good choice, and I completely agree with your reason. Meg Murray is just SOOOO cool. Still is, after a million rereads.

Charmalot: Well, you did some creative numbering, but I shall forgive you because you chose Ellen Raskin (LOVE Turtle in The Westing Game) and because you complimented me. ;) Seriously, tho, thanks for visiting!

Marcia: I have the funniest mental picture of John sitting between Alcott and L'Engle, eating little cucumber sandwiches. :)

PJ: Wow. Wowie wow wow wow. Um... thanks? Can I bring some potato salad or something? I'm seriously flattered, and Card was on my list of maybes for slot 5 but I decided he wasn't going to be thrilled with sitting with all the silly people.

Cate Gardner said...

I'm going to cheat...

I would invite:

1) Natalie L Sin because she would be wacky and fun and everyone could finally meet Ying.

2) JC Tabler who could bring his wee babies along - they are sooo cute.

3) Felicity Dowker so that I could snip off a lock of her hair, make some sort of witches brew from it and hopefully replicate her awesome short story success for myself.

4) Thomas Kingsley Troupe so that I could thank him for reading my Poisoned Apple and critiquing it.

5) Your good self.

Adrienne said...

I haven't come up with my list yet. I'm too busy thinking that my dinner parties aren't nearly interesting enough!

Anonymous said...

I used to give monthly dinner parties, based on themes from different countries -- I'd cook a meal from the country, the guests would bring the wine. I'd invite about 20 people -- it was a blast.

Once I move and meet people in my new neighborhood, I'm going to start that again.

Only 5 authors, living or dead? Hmm. Okay: Terry Pratchett, William Shakespare, Harriet Beecher Stowe, JK Rowling, and Tim Powers.

Of course, I have every intention of actually inviting the living authors to dinner someday! ;)

sruble said...

I would obviously have to have at least 5 dinner parties, because I wouldn't want to leave anyone out. You might get a sense from my list that I don't follow the rules. You would be right. The parties would only be for the living, except for the last one.

Party #1 - authors and illustrators that I know from online. No need to be published, and as many as can fit in the restaurant are welcome.

Party #2 - illustrators party! Kazu Kibuishi, David Shannon, Brian Selznick, Stephen Pastis, and Lane Smith. It was hard to just pick 5, and 5 guys no less! They all inspire me, it would be an interesting mix, and I'm guessing Stephen would have us all cracking up all night long.

Party #3 - writers party! Since the illustrators were all guys, this clearly needs to be a girls night. Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Michele Jaffe, Angie Sage, and Suzanne Collins, because they are all amazing writers and many of them are funny too. I just wish I could invite more than 5.

Party #4 - nerdfest (as DH would call it) would be reserved for creators (authors and/or illustrators) of graphic novels and comics, in costume, or not. You can't put a limit on nerds, so there would be more than 5.

Party #5 - all fun and interesting dead authors that want to come are invited (they like eating on paper plates, since there's usually no food once you're dead, plus then I can invite more than 5).

There are a ton more I want to invite - I guess I'll just have to have a few more dinner parties!

Carrie Harris said...

Cate and sruble are cheaters! Although one of my favorite phrases is "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying" and the follow up "if you get caught, you ain't trying hard enough!"


Adrienne: I know. I'm an overachiever, even when it comes to parties. It's really ridiculous.

Devon: You sound like my kind of girl. (No offense meant; I call everyone "girl." Or "chica." "My little chickadee." You get the picture.) Seriously, parties like that are great, but I'm allergic to wine so I hope you'd accept other calming but potent drinkables.

sruble said...

Technically, 2 of my dinner parties fit your rules, unless I'm not allowed to have an illustrators dinner party, then only one fits. But actually, all of the illustrators are also authors, so that one fits too. If you want to discount the other ones, that's fine, just pretend like I didn't mention those. Or are you just jealous that I found people that didn't mind eating off of paper plates? ;)

Carrie Harris said...

sruble: Oh, I'm totally jealous, of course. My authors are all swank. They won't even eat hot dogs. ;)

Jim Danielson said...

Okay, dinner party:

1) Kate Di Camillo. I've heard her talk and she's a hoot.
2) Gary Paulsen. Same thing -- heard him speak and could listen to the tall tales all night. I can only imagine how they would be without kids in the audience!
3) Rick Riordan. Just finished THE LIGHTNING THIEF and I agree with PJ that he's a great writer.
4) PJ Hoover. I've had the honor to read her ARC and she belongs on the list!
5) JK Rowlings. She lives in a castle -- she's the reigning queen.

But can I cheat and invite you too Carrie???

Jim D

Carrie Harris said...

Y'know, Jim, I think I've decided that I'm a free pick. Add me to any dinner party for free. I'll eat off paper plates, after all, and I'm making the rules. My turn to cheat! :)

Scillius Maximus said...

1. J.R.R. Tolkein
2. C.S. Lewis
3. Terry Pratchett
4. J. Michael Straczynski
5. William Shakespeare

1&2 because The Hobbit and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe changed my life in 8th grade. And to get my own little meeting of the Inklings going for the evening.

5. My beaten up edition (that was brand new in mint condition when I bought it) of his complete works should answer this question.

3&4. For hilarity and perspective. Besides I think 3&4 would geek out just as much as I would for 1,2,&5.