Friday, July 25, 2014

Proust's Questionnaire: at 40

I just turned 40, a good age to assess where you stand on things.  I also just saw a mention of the recent Vanity Fair article that posed Proust's questionnaire to the gods of our culture. So here goes...

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? 78 degrees, a cup of coffee, a quiet patio with a view, a cat on my lap, and a book in my hand.
  2. What is your greatest fear? Death by fire. Or plane crash.
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My lack of sustained focus on anything professionally.
  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Self-righteousness
  5. Which living person do you most admire? Hmmm...Let's go with Tina Turner.
  6. What is your greatest extravagance? Food
  7. What is your current state of mind? Anxious but Determined
  8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Ambition - it's the start of perpetual disappointment and dissatisfaction.
  9. On what occasion do you lie? When someone has created something or performed something and I don't find it that great.
  10. What do you most dislike about your appearance? My newly acquired uneven skin tone.  Fuck you 40!
  11. Which living person do you most despise? All living people who attempt to manipulate me to say yes after I've said no.
  12. What is the quality you most like in a man? Sincerity
  13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Sincerity
  14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? "Furthermore"
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?  My husband and our cats.
  16. When and where were you happiest? California, 2006
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? Self-Salesmanship
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would focus on a few things rather than allow the immensity of my curiosities to carry me in all directions.
  19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Creating, music, words, businesses.
  20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I would come back as a beloved family cat.  
  21. Where would you most like to live? On a tour bus - or Copenhagen, Denmark.
  22. What is your most treasured possession? My car. It means I'm never trapped.
  23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Indecision
  24. What is your favorite occupation? Ice Road Trucker!
  25. What is your most marked characteristic? Social Awkwardness
  26. What do you most value in your friends? Humor and Straightforwardness
  27. Who are your favorite writers? Crazy women from the 20th Century. Anne Sexton. Sylvia Plath. Joan Didion. Edna St. Vincent Millay. And John Steinbeck. And Sherman Alexie.  And Dostoevsky. I could go on.  
  28. Who is your hero of fiction? Rhoda Morgenstern.
  29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Right now, all I can think is Frances Perkins.
  30. Who are your heroes in real life? Hero is a strong word.  But I like Cate Blanchett for her dignified reserve which belies the depth of her work. I like Shirley Manson for her badassery. I like Tina Turner for kicking all our asses. 
  31. What are your favorite names? What's in a name?
  32. What is it that you most dislike? Manipulation and greed.
  33. What is your greatest regret? Allowing self-doubt to matter.
  34. How would you like to die? Old and after falling asleep in my favorite chair while listening to good music.
  35. What is your motto? Not sure this is a motto...but I'm a longtime fan of Edna St. Vincent Millay's Second Fig: "Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand: / Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!"

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