Saturday, October 30, 2010

Talking With Dead Authors

The blog chain has swung my way once again and this time Michelle H. asked the question.

If you could dine with any author, and I do mean any whether alive or dead (yes, we're going into the realms of time travel - but hey, we have science fiction writers on this chain so we can always ask for them to write up the time machine specs), who would you want to dine with? And if you can ask them for advice on one writing element you feel you might be struggling at, what would it be?

The first thing I knew when I read this question was, of course, I was going with a dead author. There's really no contest here. Call your friends and tell them you had dinner with JK Rowling. They'll be impressed. A little jealous. But tell them you had dinner with Jane Austen... in that case, well in that case they'll probably think you've lost the little bit you have left of your mind. However, if there was some way to prove that you are not insane, then they will be totally and completely amazed. It's not just anyone who can raise the literary dead, and have dinner with them.

As for specifically which dead author I would choose, well, I honestly think several would be more fun. Make it a party, you know? I've already mentioned Austen, so she would definitely be on the invite list. Georgette Heyer, the Bronte sisters, Sylvia Plath, Louisa May Alcott, LM Montgomery, Francis Hodgson Burnett, Betty Smith - and there would be men too. Shakespeare, Salinger, Mark Twain, Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron, and really any other dead author who wants to take break from the grave for a night would be welcome.

Of course, you might have guessed from my picture at the top that I'm defining the term "dine" a little loosely. In fact, my first thought was booze cruise. You know Hemingway would totally be down with that.

And I'm not just thinking liquor because after years in the grave someone would probably prefer a good stiff drink to a fancy french dinner, but also because I want more than writing advice. I want the dirt. I want gossip. And lots of it. It's a weakness, I know, but I just love hearing those behind the scenes stories of feuds, fights, and long-held grudges. And a little author-to-author trash talking would be pretty fun as well.

So, there's my answer. Want to know how the rest of the chain answered? Shannon posted her answer before mine, and Sandra will be next.


  1. "Any other dead author who wants to take a break from the grave for the night ...." That is, by far, the best line in a blog that I have read all week.

    Great post! (What does one have to do to be invited to your dead author party? :)

  2. A dinner cruise with famous authors? Brilliant answer! I'd be careful though. When I think of all that water, I think of the story Moby Dick by Herman Melville. If he stands on the railing waving a harpoon, I'd make sure to lock up the liquor cabinet.

  3. Ha! Fabulous answer. I love the idea of doing a booze cruise with an author. I want to change my answer now :)

  4. A booze cruise sounds like a blast! :D

  5. Very awesome. What's better than a liquor-fueled author party? Nothin!
    Great answer.

  6. Dead author booze cruise? You should write that as a short story!

  7. Liquor 'em up...ha ha! Awesome! My kids' godfather is a distant relative of Hemingway's. I'm sure there are some fabulous family stories there that could give you a gossip fix. :-)