Measured Extravagance

2001-01-23 - 11:33 p.m.

Today was National Pie Day, and one of the studio goddesses chose to observe it by bringing in a beaut of a lemon meringue, as well as a demure but tasty pan of pumpkin goodness. Happiness is homemade pie for breakfast (and coffee breaks, and dessert, and...).

Which led me to musing on what kind of pie I would want to serve to my dinner party guests. I'm thinking blackbirds. I'm thinking spinach. I'm thinking peaches. I'm thinking chess. I'm thinking glazed berry tarts from my favorite bakery. I'm thinking lobster and seal-flipper. I'm thinking, no, perhaps just the berry tarts for this meal.

I'm limiting tonight's guest list to dead famous people. It's too hard narrowing the field when the living and the fictional are also included, although I will offer that past guest lists have included Yo-Yo Ma, my friend Daniel (because I could count on him to be sufficiently unintimidated to ask the questions I would otherwise kick myself later for not asking), Nigel Havers, Geordie Johnson, Colm Feore, Elizabeth Peters (whom I would tie to her chair and withhold chocolate and cigarettes until she coughed up the link between the Bliss and Peabody series), et al...

Time? Now. (This entry is really an extended hint to my subconscious to lay out the dream silverware instead of trying to picnic in its usual old sad caves...) Cast? Herewith:

1. Whoever really wrote the plays of Shakespeare (just to settle the question for once and for all. And Harold Bloom is not invited, even though some of my academic friends would probably be eager to debate the standards I am using to measure "dead"...)

2. Dorothy L. Sayers. One of my favorite authors, and a bon vivant.

3. John Donne. I should like to see how Sayers interacts with him.

4. Chet Baker. I haven't read through As Though I Had Wings yet, but the excerpts I've come across were haunting and beautiful. I would seat him next to

5. Lynda Hull.

Oh phantoms.
Oh the many lives that have fountained through
my own. Soon, soon, I shall stop upon that platform

& you will meet me there, the world rosegray beyond
the scalloped tops of buildings & we shall seek
that thing which shines & doth so much torment us.

6. Ian Charleson. Across the table from Shakespeare, as he was considered one of the finest Hamlets of his generation, but I admit he's mostly here because I can't resist the temptation to include eye candy.

7. Jim Henson.

8. Victor Borge. Better manners than Beethoven, and he knew Henson.

9. Glenn Gould. Manners questionable, genius assured.

10. Nicolo Amati. I want to hear him tell how he mixed his varnishes and what it was like teaching Stradivari.

* * *

An aside to The Burbler: my other names include "Pixie" and "Pixel"...so I rejoice in your fondness for pixilated.

Cool French word of the day: les aléas - hazards, risks, chanciness. And also exutoire - outlet or release [for anger, etc.].

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