Have you ever gone on a literary pilgrimage? Ever visited a childhood home of a beloved author. There’s Faulkner’s home in Mississippi or Laura Ingalls Wilder’s in De Smet. There’s the Bird and Baby for Inklings fans and the whole town of Providence for Lovecraft fans. Big Sur means something different after Kerouac along with every major highway and mountain. Even Hopkins thought this way when he marveled at the fact that he was breathing the same air as Duns Scotus when living in Oxford:
Yet ah! this air I gather and I releaseHe lived on; these weeds and waters, these walls are whatHe haunted who of all men most sways my spirits to peace
What if, instead of just breathing the same air, seeing the same weeds, or haunting the same walls, what if we could meet these authors? Part Time Monster just reminded me of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) with their post on books they’ll never read, and I couldn’t resist this week’s meme: Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet.
1. Gerard Manley Hopkins
I know. No one’s surprised. Except Fr. Hopkins in his frumpy frock as he tries in bewilderment to figure out who this overly excited, fast-talking American is who just barged into Manresa House.
2. Flannery O’Connor
Because anyone who inspires a birthday parade like this has got to be amazing.
3. C. P. Cavafy
I don’t know what we would do or what we would talk about. Maybe we would just smoke cigarettes. I don’t know, but I do know that we could talk because he spoke English.
4. Jack Gilbert
I have this impression that we wouldn’t get along — I really don’t know why — but that doesn’t stop me from really wishing it was still possible to go to one of his readings.
5. J. R. R. Tolkien
I would probably get on this one’s nerves more than Gilbert’s… but, hey, we could smoke pipes together!
6. Edith Stein
I would put out my pipe right away so I could learn at her feet about the glories of philosophy. Is it offensive or respectful that I assume she would want me to put out my pipe? (Wow, I never thought I would be searching: “Did Edith Stein smoke?” It’s apparently a matter of some interest.)
7. Haruki Murakami
To get some quality advice about life.
8. Jane Austen
For the parties!
But I might be disappointed when he doesn’t lead me through hell and purgatory.
10. Stanley Kunitz
He would help me calm down Hopkins, and besides I can’t think of anyone better to go “roaming through the stacks” of a library with:
Wow, is everyone on this list dead? Well you know what that means it’s time for: