Listen to me read this piece below:
A thing such as a small gathering, or the notion of a dinner party, can be adjusted. Bend the rules, and others will bend with them (and you).
In the past few years, I became less and less social. This can be attributed to a variety of things: recurrences of illness, busyness, a general apathy, and the fact that my friends keep moving to New York (a real phenomenon that can be charted on a line graph, with X being years and Y being # of friends who have moved to New York in said year). And I do like my own company.
But one of my deep intentions at the end of 2013, guided by books such as The Kinfolk Table and The Set Table, was to assemble what I called monthly small gatherings — essentially, less fussy dinner parties, with simple, home-cooked food and the chance to have good conversations — for the purpose of extending my reach. I invited a few friends and acquaintances to a small gathering toward the end of the month. Then I became wildly ill, canceled the small gathering, and put the whole notion of such gatherings in the back of my mind.
As I began to heal, I continued to have difficulty functioning toward the end of the day. 3 or 4pm tends to be my cut-off time before symptoms intensify. I wondered if I was ever going to be able to have a small gathering — if I’d have the energy to cook — if I’d be able to even sit and have a conversation so late in the day.
In early 2014, during my healing work with Grace Quantock, I considered the idea of moving my small gatherings to the morning. Brunch, or even breakfast. Why not?
The photographs in this Chronicle document the first small gathering of 2014. I invited friends from my writing group, an assortment of published writers and magazine editors, to come and have brunch with Chris and me.
From holding this small gathering, I learned the following.
- A thing such as a small gathering, or the notion of a dinner party, can be adjusted. Bend the rules, and others will bend with them (and you).
- I am an eager hostess, and one who refers often to my Pinterest board of Small Gatherings for inspiration and decor ideas.
- Simple is fine. Simple is good.
- 8tracks is a great source of music for a small gathering.
- A member of Oulipo may show up with champagne. Surprise!
- You will be surprised by the fact that one of your guests will ask which of the possible wireless networks is a reference to a Hopkins poem — it’s yours — and will then show you the Hopkins verse tattooed in loopy script on the inside of her right forearm.
- People love to have food prepared for them.
There is often more love floating around than you think there is.
Reminder: This is the final day for two lucky commenters (anyone who commented between March 1 and today) to win 1.) a 30-day Kindness Hustle experience (which I’ve experienced personally, & is awesome) or 2.) a donation to Girls Write Now, a non-profit that benefits at-risk girls by pairing them with writing mentors.