Lunch with Your Favorite Character: A Thought Experiment

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Lunch with Your Favorite Character: A Thought Experiment

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1greytone
Jan 18, 2008, 8:08pm

While surfing the internet I stumbled across this idea for a book discussion. I take no credit for it being an interesting idea. I felt it was such an intriguing idea from our bookclub perspective, I thought I’d post it in our group for discussion.

The scenario for the thread discussion is as follows:

You get to have lunch with any character or real person from of any work of African or African American literature. Please share ….Who would you invite? Where would you dine? What would you talk about?

The character source can be a novel, play, poem, screenplay, short story, opera, novella, or biography (or other work of ‘literary’ nonfiction, so long as the subject of the work is deceased as of today). (Characters from the world of film or stage are based on screenplays and plays, therefore can be included in this exercise. Even though this exercise is mostly focused on works of written fiction, nonfiction can be included as well, so long as the person you wish to have lunch with is deceased.)

The ground rules are as follows:

The venue (restaurant, cafe, bodega, deli, park, sandwich shop, picnic area, or whatever) MUST be located in this universe, in this timeline, and on this planet (no zipping off to Middle Earth or to some alternative timeline). It must take place at a business establishment or location of your choice. The lunch should be at least an hour (but no more than two hours) long and the cost of the meal and all related expenses should not hinder your imagination. You get to set the menu, so feel free to describe your meal, as well.

The description of your event should include…
1) Who would you invite? Please mention the invitees name(s) and the book title(s) associated with your guest or guests. 2)…Where (i.e., at what location or eatery) would the lunch be consumed? 3)…What's on the menu? 4)…What will you talk about?

It will take some time to think of my response to this question, so I understand that many responses will take a moment to create and document. I hope that the thread will lie dormant only because you (too) are mentally putting your own luncheon together. I can be patient because I’m certain each response will be so interesting and unique that many more discussions will come as a result.

I plan to put together more than one response to this question…My first response follows this post, just to share one of the luncheons I’m thinking about….

2greytone
Modifié : Jan 19, 2008, 9:30am

My desire to discuss mothers and motherhood is the source of inspiration for this first lunchtime gathering. Hopefully, my understanding will grow as the characters discuss how they were profoundly affected by their relationship with their mother. These women’s mothers came in different degrees of effectiveness and interest. Their mothers ran the gambit from being downright abusive to brutally absent.

First, I would invite Tangy Mae Quinn from The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips.
Secondly, I would invite Mildred Peacock and her daughter, Freda from Mama by Terry McMillan. Lastly, I would invite Xuela Claudette Richardson, who in The Autobiography of my Mother by Jamaica Kincaid explained the void felt when there is no imprint of your mother’s love.

Early one Saturday or Sunday afternoon, we would meet for lunch at Maroon’s (NYC) http://maroonsnyc.com/page/o4rm/Home_Page.html and spend the afternoon speaking of our mothers and discussing motherhood. I would ask Tangy Mae what benefit she gained by continuing to believe in her mother (Rozelle’s) love. I would ask Mildred how much she sacrificed by her willingness to do anything for her children, no matter the cost in respect or self esteem. I would ask Xuela how to proceed when you learn that you are the reason for your mother’s death.

We could begin with cod fritters and crab cakes appetizers and finish with peach cobbler and sweet potato pie, and I would walk home pondering all that I had heard that afternoon.

3Nzingha
Jan 19, 2008, 12:59am

Hi Greytone,
You've been M.I.A. for a while but when you return
you come in firing on all cylinders.
Great idea.

Nzingha

4greytone
Jan 21, 2008, 6:09pm

Hi Nzingha!...
I'm glad to be back, and glad you like this idea. I'm excited that it has peaked your imagination and hope you are thinking of your own luncheon!

Hey!??? Is anyone else thinking of their gathering? I sure hope so!

5Nzingha
Fév 20, 2008, 5:27pm

The book is "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" assisted by Alex Haley.
I would have lunch at the temple #7 restuarant in Harlem on 116th street. I would invite Alex Haley, Sister Betty Shabazz and a few Muslims that I know in my family.
The menu would be cream of broccoli soup, yellow rice with braised oxtails & short ribs with saute squash & zuccini togethr with onions. For desert bean pie with coffee from Ethiopia.
My guests are all deceased so they can speak freely. My first question was when did Malcolm find out about Mr. Muhammad and how long did he wait to ask about it. Would he have left the nation if Mr. Muhammad had not silenced him for those 90 days? Was he planning on leaving and starting his own organization no matter what. What kind of offers of help did he recieve from those Arab & African nations if he turned to orthodox Islam.?
I would inquire of Sister Betty how is her family doing now without her. Who would Sister Betty want to write her bioography, would it be one of her daughters.
I would ask did Malcolm tell you of his determination to leave the Nation of Islam and how did you feel?
At the end of the luncheon I would go downstairs of the subway to mull over my wonderous luncheon.

6greytone
Fév 23, 2008, 9:41pm

Wow!!!....That's a good one, Nzingha. I would love to be the waitress at your gathering! Or the person sitting next to you on the subway so you could tell me about it anonymously. Especially your interest in how Sister Betty's family is doing without her. I frequently think about the vacuum left in her wake on a number of levels...most acutely, within her immediate family.

Thanks so much for sharing your vision of the gathering....