Saturday, March 14, 2009

A salt with a deadly weapon

Whenever I meet wonderful new people, I try to get a group together of ones who seem as though they might enjoy one another's company. By last autumn I had met several these fascinating folks, all of whom are writers (a playwright, a journalist-playwright, and a poet), and that always calls for a dinner party. Little did I know that something as innocent as mango chutney on pork could have sent one guest to the emergency room. It didn't (thankfully), and she was so cool about it that I never knew there was a problem. Later, however, I learned that she had made art out of her suffering by selling a book on the subject. Sandra Beasley's book Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales From an Allergic Life will be published next year by Crown. Besides writing about such serious stuff (albeit I'm certain with her characteristic flair), Sandra is an editor at The American Scholar, an award-winning, much-published poet, and the Literary Chair of the Arts Club of Washington. Her website is

Meanwhile, here's what she had to say in The Washington Post about my not-so-innocent dinner party, and the near-mayhem caused by those malicious mangoes.

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