Ten living people I’d like to have dinner with

  1. Malcolm Gladwell. There are times when he can seem a little glib and clever clever but nonetheless I have always loved his mind and read all his books and articles hungrily.  I am really enjoying his new podcast, Revisionist History. I think it would be really interesting to have conversation with him , and to get his take on things I am also thinking about.
  2. David Hockney. He’s getting old, he’s pretty deaf, and probably curmudgeonly but I would love to talk to him about painting, technology, and what he thinks about about the new discovery of Rembrandt’s use of optics. And I would just love to watch him draw.
  3. The African dancing woman in the park. Every single morning a youngish woman sets up a table and some buckets and spend about an hour dancing and twirling, playing bongos, tambourines and doing , elaborate graceful African tribal looking dances. Most passersby ignore her but occasionally people stop shout with joy and hug her. I don’t know what that’s about.  She doesn’t seem to be crazy or homeless and but it seems she’s engaged in some long-standing creative ritual and I’m curious about why she does it and what she gets out of it
  4. Hope Jahren. I just read her book, Lab Girl. Slowly, savoring every word of it. She is the Stephen Jay Gould of geobiology, the Oliver Sacks of botany, and makes science  into a wild creative adventure.  I have learned so much about the trees and plants around me through her lucid and compelling words. She leads an eccentric and self possessed life, and writes so beautiful it would be illuminating and fascinating to have dinner with her.  Maybe in a  forest.
  5. Karl Ove Knaussgard. I am obsessed by everything he writes  his memoirs are so ordinary and extraordinary at the same. He both understands and is perplexed by himself and everything around him.
  6. Don Knies. He was my English teacher in 11th and 12th grade. I don’t know if he would remember me but he had a strong and formative effect on me.  I would love to revisit the time we had together to get some clarity on what those years were like from his perspective and learn about what it’s like to inspire writers for decades.
  7. Keri Smith.  I love her books that inspire people to explore and have a creative adventures. We used to be Email penpals but then she became super successful and sort of dropped off the map. She has a new book. Maybe that’s an excuse to try to renew our connection
  8. Mick Jagger. Because he is my spirit animal.
  9. Steven Soderburgh. He is creative and in so many interesting directions. Filmmaking, television, writing, even liquor marketing. He is honest about when he’s bored with something and moves on   And he seems to have integrity and a willingness to tell the monied interests to fuck off. . And his website is hilarious.
  10. Zefrank.  He is funny, insightful, creative, and mysterious. His daily videos were incredibly inspiring. He went off on i all sorts of tangents that I could relate to. He developed a unique ways to talk to a camera. He had a fantastic and supportive community. And then he basically walked away from it. He went into corporate America, working for Buzz Feed, and disappeared off the radar.  I wonder what he’s up to now. And how he continues to  nourish his creative soul.
  11. Banksy. Not just because he’s anonymous. But because he’s brilliant. And relentless. And principled.  And no doubt hilarious.
  12. Mike Pesca.  I listen to his podcast, The Gistm every day. As he explores culture, politics, bullshit, bad jokes, hits of the. 80s.   He makes me think every day.   Even when I think he’s an idiot.
  13. Barack Obama.  Because I already miss him so much.