Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dinner for 10

Yesterday, there was a unexpected transit strike here in Toronto. I took the opportunity to call in sick, play a little hooky from work and recharge. I slept until noon, recycling a few dreams in the process. When I woke up, I cooked myself a goat cheese, sundried tomato, black olive and mushroom omelette. Yum! Then I headed out to catch a matinee of X-Men 3 (which was actually pretty good!) It was a much-needed peaceful day.

I stole this from Hattigrace, who made her list a few weeks ago. If you were going to invite 10 deceased people to dinner, who would they be??

My grandfather on my dad's side
I never met him. He passed away before my dad was born. And even though he wasn't around, he had a huge impact on the course of my dad's life, and consequently, my life.

My grandfather on my mom's side

I didn't meet him either. I have only seen pictures. My mother has told me many stories about her father. She clearly had great love for him. My grandfather and grandmother (who is still alive at 96!) fell madly in love at first sight.

I want to know how this one small peaceful man, found the strength, courage and conviction to sway an entire nation. Did he understand his destiny before it found him?

Allan Ginsberg
The granddaddy of beat poets. I was completely destroyed the first time I heard Howl, and it remains my absolute favorite.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving, hysterical, naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking
for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking
in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across
the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,

who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating
Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war...
Amadeus Mozart
The insane genius who started writing full symphonies as a small child. A man who was convinced that he was writing his own Requiem (death song) - he passed away before it was completed. During my 15 years of piano playing, he was always my favorite composer to play. There's such lightness and grace in his songs.

The original philosopher, dedicated to the pursuit of truth. He once said, "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others." He died for this cause - sentenced to drink the poison Hemlock in 399 BCE.

A fellow Pisces and dreamer. He said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." His theories of relativity shifted an entire worldview and laid the foundation for quantum physics.

Carl Jung
The founder of pioneering psychological concepts that I hold dear: the archetype, the collective unconscious and synchronicity, he understood the human psyche by exploring art, dreams, mythology, philosophy, alchemy, astrology and religion.

Jim Morrison
Lead singer of The Doors, songwriter, and poet. He died mysteriously at the age of 27, and lived by the Blake quote: "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." The name The Doors came from an Aldous Huxley book, The Doors of Perception, which, in turn, borrowed from more poetry by William Blake: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite."

The Empress I was in a past life
According to a psychic at a restaurant I went to once, I was an Empress in China in a past life. Hmmmm....


May said...

I love this post S. Very interesting to see your list of people. Reinforced what I know of you...incurable romantic, modern-day philosopher, with wit and humour! Love #10!!! LOL.

EM said...

That would definitely be one interesting dinner. Can't even begin to imagine the conversations! Could I be a fly on the wall? :)

You make me want to play hooky too. GRRRR.

David said...

Ok, up until five minutes ago, I had no idea who Allan Ginsberg was, but after reading that poem...OMG! I'm hooked! I'd go to your dinner just to hear him speak...well, that and if you're gonna raise Jim Morrison from the dead, that's good enough reason to be there, right?!

hattigrace said...

Nice compliment to have you carry on my list. Interesting group. What if we combined our guests? Can Handel come, too?

K said...

What a cool list. And lots of food for thought. But do you think they would all get along?

Furtheron said...

I'm with you on your grandparents you never met.

I'm trying to trace back my family tree a bit. So far going up my pateral grandmothers line I'm back to the about 1836 or so with my great great grandfather. According to the records I have they lived in the same town (village then) I still live in now. I'd love to have them to dinner - if only to show them the world now and what we all have compared to them. He was according to the records we can find a brickfield labourer - i.e. he dug the clay out of the ground with a shovel to be taken to the factory to make into bricks. Hard life.

Sally said...

Neat concept ... but I would be so concerned with whether the people I chose would be able to have good conversations with each other that I would have a difficult time deciding whom to invite!