Of course, my top picks for a dinner party with those who have preceded us into the afterlife would consist exclusively of writers. While this list is nowhere near exhaustive, this dinner would be a dream come true.
The first book I read by Ms. Rand was a dystopian called Anthem, and it just blew me away. I’d never read anything like it. Been rather obsessed by her ever since. Besides being a novelist, Ayn was a philosopher, a playwright, and a screenwriter, and she developed her own philosophical vision and movement called Objectivism. I’d invite her to dinner to ask her about her extraordinary life, her migration from Russia to the US in the 1920s, and her many philosophies that made up the strong, independent fiber of her being.
I think Ray Bradbury was the first writer I read where I really took note of the writing itself instead of just the story. I was in high school and I remember being stunned by his prose. The clarity of ingenuity of it. He wrote so eloquently that I sometimes forgot it was fiction and that I wasn’t living in the world he’d created. I wanted to be him for a long time. Wrong gender, but one can dream. If I had the chance, I would pick Mr. Bradbury’s brain about writing in general and ask if he could give me a cover quote for my next release. JK!
This was one amazing lady. Besides being an incredible author, Ms. Angelou was a poet, biographer, journalist, memoirist, essayist, children’s book writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, director, scriptwriter, civil rights activist, and the list goes on and on. She even wrote a cookbook. She worked with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. She recorded albums, toured in plays, directed films, danced on television. Add to that the fact that she was a single mom in the South back when neither was looked upon kindly, and her achievements are even more phenomenal. How many writers do you know who have won three Grammys, were awarded 50 honorary degrees, and were nominated for a Tony and a Pulitzer? At dinner, I think I would be too busy fangirling to talk much.
Mr. Poe was one of the first authors I read as a child, which could explain a lot. Known mostly for his mysterious and macabre short stories, Poe was the first well-known American writer to earn a living through his writing alone. Sadly, he was a gambler, so his life was strife with financial difficulties. But he did it! He quite the day job and wrote full time! I think I’d start there at dinner, or is that considered crass?
And this brings me to the ultimate, the superlative, the epitome of writers I worship: the lovely and talented Jane Austen. Seriously, if I had a chance to meet just one writer, it would be Jane. We’d probably get on famously. She’d laugh at my jokes. I’d pet her hair. And we would be best friends forever and ever and ever. That’s not creepy, right? In my own defense, she did create the bone-dissolving Mr. Darcy. You can understand why I feel this way about her, yes? The fact that I tried to change my name to Darcy in high school says it all. I love her. I love her with every fiber of my being. I would bear her children if that were anatomically and posthumously possible. Would that I could time travel. I wonder if they had restraining orders in early 1800s England.
Giveaway provided by St. Martin’s Press.
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