From Kathryn, a doozy:
If you could invite 6 guests from any time to a dinner party, who would you ask and why? Let’s presume you can choose which age they are when they come, that they are not freaked out totally by all the new technology surrounding them and that they will actually talk and socialise with the other guests.
See, the thing is, I don’t worry that my guests won’t socialise with each other. Of course they wouldn’t have a problem socialising with each other. They are accomplished, intelligent, well-adjusted, amazing people.
No, I worry that I would be a terrible host! Would I manage to be gracious, hospitable, serve a superb meal (prepared with my own two hands), AND manage to be an eloquent, literate and witty conversationalist? And of course, the worry of not being a good host would mean that I would bluster around and be generally stressed and probably less-than-pleasant to be around – thus causing the dinner party to be a dismal experience and a failure all round…
Angst aside, I found it extremely difficult to narrow the guest list down to six.
I asked one of my sisters who she’d invite – she had no difficulty picking her six guests: Daniel Craig, David Walliams, Francis Bacon (the artist), Amy Winehouse, Freddy Mercury and Kathy Lette. This sounded to me like an extremely interesting dinner party – but was no help in spurring me on to think about who I’d pick, myself.
I kept thinking of who I’d invite and then getting stymied over what I’d talk with them about. Also, there are SO. MANY. AMAZING. PEOPLE. How does one pick a mere six??
So anyway. After much deliberation, here’s who I’d invite:
Aung San Suu Kyi, just because I think she would be an interesting guest. I’d love to have a conversation about how she maintains her belief in her work for Burma, despite all the obstacles thrown at her.
Adrienne Rich, because I love her work too.
Thomas Cromwell because I have been pondering Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and I would love to find out more about the man.
Peter Drucker, because I think his work continues to influence our organisations, and I’d love to ask him how he thinks organisations in the 21st century will develop. I’d also love to listen to him talk with Thomas Cromwell about bureaucracy. I wonder what Aung San Suu Kyi would have to say to Drucker and Cromwell about power, influence and corruption… And what would artists like Ursula Le Guin and Adrienne Rich think about Drucker’s views?
And J.S. Bach because he is my favourite composer. Hopefully he would not be too appalled by my atheism. I’d avoid playing any of his works during dinner, though. I’d be curious to see what he thought of the works of other later composers…
Who would you invite, Kathryn?
And for the next question: When you were 13, what did you want to be when you grew up? (I’ll note that I couldn’t for the life of me think of a question. Is this question too difficult?)