who’s on your list?

I just read this book called The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle.
On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Sabrina is late to meet her closest friend for dinner. When she arrives at the restaurant, she finds not only her friend Jessica, but, her deceased father, favorite college professor, estranged boyfriend, and Audrey Hepburn.
These guests from the list she wrote at the insistence of her friend when they were nineteen and in their first year of college.
Let’s just say that while wackiness ensues, there is a great deal of love at that dinner table.

Haven’t we all considered the question:
What five people, living or dead, real or imagined, would you invite to dinner?

But how do you really answer it if you know it’s never going to be an actual thing?
Do you just choose randomly?
Does your curiosity drive your list?
Do you create your list based upon unfinished business?
Do you consider things such as, desire to interact with these particular people, but not how they might interact with one another?

I’ve been thinking about how I would create this top five guests list, and I’m noticing it changes with my mood.
For instance, I’ve always wanted Grandaddy to know Thing 1 and Thing 2. I’ve also wanted him to know YBW. But that’s four out of my five guests.
And honestly, I know and love these people so much, it doesn’t really matter if they know each other. Three of them know each other and all of them know/knew me. Perhaps that’s enough.

As I consider this dinner list, I have to ask myself, what’s my motivation?

Perhaps I choose a straight literary guest dinner?
Or film industry folks?
Or musicians?
I mean, picking Billy Wilder’s brain at dinner sounds absolutely wonderful…but do I plan an entire dinner party around that?

What if I choose at random?
Just five humans I’m curious about, you know?
What kind of dinner party does that actually create? That goes back to how my guests would interact with one another. And let’s get real for a moment, that’s an important part of planning a successful dinner party.

So, what if I create a guest list at random? I invite people that fascinate me.
That list could look like this:
Ben Bradlee
Mark Twain
Erin Van Vuren
Rick Bragg’s mama
Grace Kelly

I mean, WTF kind of dinner party is this?
Would these guests get on together?
What would I actually serve these people?
I’d be fangirling about three of them to the point I might actually pee my pants!
Or would I?
Perhaps I’d be lovely and gracious and we could all learn wonderful things from and with each other.

Ha! Let’s get real!
I’d be worried I’m not smart enough to be in the same room with Mark Twain.
Not informed enough to be in the same room with Ben Bradlee.
Not clever enough to be in the same room Erin Van Vuren. Though honestly, I feel like she’s the safest bet.
Not graceful enough to be in the same room with Grace Kelly!
And while I suspect I’m down to earth enough for Rick Bragg’s mama, I feel like she’d judge the food, and that would break my heart.

No, I don’t think I’d enjoy myself at that dinner.
I don’t feel like it would meet my expectations of ‘The List’.
A dinner party should be enjoyable for the hostess as well as the guests.

That’s why I considered it from a different perspective.
Who would I like to talk with and enjoy spending the evening with in a way that suits who I am as a person?
Who might actually enjoy spending time with me, and each other?
Who do I want to connect with on a deeper level than fascination or fangirling?
With whom do I want to drink cocktails and/or wine?

After some serious thought, I present my dinner list:
Alan Cumming
Carol Burnett
Dominique Browning
Nick Drake
Richard Burton

For me, this dinner is an ideal combination of playful, serious, humor, kindness, and darkness.
A dinner party to really sink my teeth into.
I mean, sure, there are people I ‘like’ more, or am a bigger ‘fan’ of, and whatnot, but, this group of people feels at once comfortable and challenging. And I love that!

I’m curious what y’all think of my list.
I’d love to know who’s on your list, and how did you decide?
Is it harder than you expected it to be?

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