I’ve always been too awkward for those icebreaker games. You know those games you play on the first day of summer camp or at a meeting or retreat. I dread those five little words: “Split into groups of three…” I know what’s coming: awkward trust falls, two truths and a lie, and probably a whole lot of information I never needed to know about my new friend Billy.
There is, however, one type of icebreaker I never mind being asked: iterations ad nauseam of “If you could have dinner with anyone/one actor/one artist…” Those answers are obvious: Oprah, Meryl Streep, and Salvador Dalí. Also Monet, but who’s counting?
Reader that I’ve always been, I wish for these questions with reference to authors or literary characters. Now this is an icebreaker that I can get on board with! Once this relief has been secured, you obviously and instantly worry whether your companions—I’m looking at you, Billy—will share your sentiments about J.K Rowling’s post-Harry Potter attempts or Thomas Hardy’s late poetry. You won’t admit this to anyone, but you kind of want these people to like you. These answers will define you in their minds for, well, forever. Choose wisely.
In honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow, we thought it’d be fun to imagine which authors or literary (myON!) characters you would choose to surround your dinner table. If I had my druthers, these folks would make it to the final round:
- Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet—teach me your ways! Be my best friend!
- Charles Dickens—can you tell I’m a Victorianist at heart?
- David Foster Wallace—America’s lost genius
- J.K Rowling—because how did she come up with Diagon Alley? (Hello! Diagonally—get it?)
- Tris from Veronica Roth’s recent Divergent series—see “Elizabeth Bennet”
- And, of course, Capstone’s own Michael Dahl—can you pass the creativity, please?
Imagining the stories that would float around this table makes me thankful for the reading journey I’ve cultivated throughout my life. I am thankful for the authors who have shaped my mind; I am thankful for the characters that have felt like real friends and family; I am thankful for every good story that motivates me to pick up another book as the final pages come to an end.
Over this Thanksgiving weekend, I ask you to consider what stories you’re thankful for: why do you carry them with you? How have they shaped your life or perhaps even made you a better person? What can you learn from them?
Log into myON.com this weekend and keep reading. You never know what stories will change your life—and there’s always imaginary dinners to be planned.