Proust Questionnaire

Apr 01

30907189_5bd1bfb1c6I’ve been in a funk lately, simultaneously buzzing with ideas and struggling to get them down on paper. A series of nuisance interruptions hasn’t helped: a root canal, a bad back, taxes, taxes, taxes.

So I’ve decided to try to ease myself back into regular writing by following the lead of Lindsey at A Design So Vast and offering my answers to some of the questions from the Proust Questionnaire, a popular 19th century personality survey best known for the responses Marcel Proust provided to his friend Anoinette in her “confession album” – and for responses offered these days by celebrities on the last page of Vanity Fair magazine.

Alrighty, here we go, with thanks to Lindsey for the inspiration and invitation:

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  

Waiting – in line, in traffic, in a doctor’s office, on the runway, for test results or the response to a query. I am decidedly untalented when it comes to waiting. #firstworldproblems

Where would you like to live?  

In New England, my homeland and the place where a chunk of my heart still lives.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?  

Lying in bed with a big, fat novel and a hot cup of tea, with nowhere to be and no one calling my name.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?  

The faults of people who are trying too hard to be somebody else because they don’t have enough confidence in the person they actually are. (I may or may not have personal experience with this phenomenon.)

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?  

Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings, John Ames from Gilead, Thomas Cromwell from the Wolf Hall trilogy (though history may not agree with my classification of him as a hero – and with good reason)

Who are your favorite characters in history?  

Queen Elizabeth I of England, Henrietta Lacks, Julia Child

Who are your favorite heroes in real life?  

Paul Farmer, Rosa Parks, early childhood educators

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?  

Kristin Lavransdatter of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy (has anyone out there read these books besides me?), Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility (ask me tomorrow and I might say Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice or Anne Eliot from Persuasion), Dorothea Brooke of Middlemarch

Your favorite painter?

That’s easy: Vermeer. (Or maybe Rembrandt. Or Edward Hopper.)

Your favorite musician?  

John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Adele

The qualities you most admire in a man?  

Intelligence, wit, sensitivity

The qualities you most admire in a woman?  

Intelligence, sense of humor, self-confidence, the ability to listen

Your favorite virtue?  

Loyalty, dependability, punctuality

Your favorite occupation?  

Writer, teacher, mother

Who would you have liked to be?  

Someone who would have been more grateful for exactly who she is and exactly what she has.

Like Lindsey, I’d love to hear any and all of your answers to these questions!

Image: Town Green by heatkernel via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.