A new party game—random readings—was invented the other night at a long-delayed dinner party. The purpose of the dinner was to celebrate my 80th birthday, which actually fell four months ago, pre-lockdown.
Anyway, so simple, so much fun! Each of us opened How To Be Old at random and read aloud the first poem they saw. For most of the readings we were in fits of laughter—so true or untrue, so appropriate or madly inappropriate to the reader did the poems seem. And each one generated lots of talk. Venting. Joking. Remembering.
You can do this too, it’s so easy. But it only worked because most the poems in How To Be Old are very direct and easy to understand and easy easy easy to read aloud. It would not work with any of my previous collections, where the poems are often rather complex and subtle. How To Be Old is not subtle.
Some tips for reading these poems aloud: let the words do the work. Don’t “act” and specially don’t overact. Just read them, not too fast.
There! have fun with this easy party game around the dinner table. All you need is How To Be Old or another similar collection of poems.
Oh, wait. I can’t think of similar collections but they must exist.
I’m feeling better after a week under the weather and I’m off to the gym. Gosh that feels good.