1. Short story author: Alice Munro I consider one of the very best writers ever, from anywhere or any period. Read them all, and there is a new collection coming this November. Here is one place to start.
2. Movie, set in: Dead Ringers, by David Cronenberg, one of my favorite films period.
3. Director: After Cronenberg there is James Cameron, hate me if you want but I find his movies splendid. Sarah Polley remains underrated in the United States, start with Away From Her, another of my all-time favorites.
4. Novelist: Margaret Atwood, especially Cat’s Eye. I used to like Robertson Davies, but somehow his novels have not stuck with me.
5. Pianist: I used to think that only half of Glenn Gould’s recordings were tolerable, but in the last five years I have come to see his Haydn and Brahms recordings as masterpieces. Now it’s only the Mozart and Beethoven I can’t stand. Don’t forget the Berg Sonata and of course the Bach and also his writings.
6. Architect: Frank Gehry comes to mind, though I do not like the new rendition of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
7. Alanis Morissette song: “Head Over Feet.”
8. Comedian: I love Mike Myers in “Wayne’s World” and Jim Carrey in “Ace Ventura” and “The Cable Guy.”
9. Favorite Neil Young album: Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.
We haven’t even touched the painters.
What strikes me is not only how strong this list is, but how little thought was required to compile it.