The Proust Questionnaire
I like these types of exercises, especially when I'm foggy and panicked generally unclear (as this Monday morning finds me). The Proust questionnaire is named for the French writer Marcel Proust, serving as the inspiration for more introspective interviews, an exercise in self exploration and a peak into the true motivations of the people providing the answers.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Emotional health and physical health, the ability to cover my expenses without any great anxiety, knowing without hesitation that I am loved, supported and valued by the people I love, support and value...and the freedom to create things with my own two hands.
2. What is your greatest fear?
That the things currently causing me grief, will never pass. That this, right now, is all there is to life.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My fear of inadequacy.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5. Which living person do you most admire?
My aunt Elizabeth. She finds the growth in every challenge. She does amazing things but remains incredibly humble. She can hug you and reduce you to tears just from the love coming from her pores. She sees the best in you and never lets you deny that it is there. She finds joy and beauty in the things many take for granted. She's faced incredible adversity with the courage of a lion and never reduces herself to bitterness. She loves hard, thinks unselfishly, fights for what she believes in and...she's just a wonder.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
7. What is your current state of mind?
Afraid. Confused. Scattered. Isolated.
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Chastity. But only because of the other recognized virtues, it is the one least inclined to impede your ability to be a healthy, happy, productive individual. I know lots of people that ain't "chaste" but live life with fulfillment and purpose.
9. On what occasion do you lie?
When I'm afraid that the truth is going to really hurt someone with no positive consequence, self included.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
11. Which living person do you most despise?
Well, there are a lot of people I don't like. The world is chock full of regrettable people. Though I find it more often to be a curse more than a blessing, I can sympathy or empathy for most. The living person I most despise right now might be Rush Limbaugh. He's dangerous and stirs unscrupulous passions for his own amusement. That sort of small minded deviance works on my ability to think kind thoughts.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Integrity. Not just one's ability to speak truthfully, but to do so at the cost of your own comfort and ease. Someone that is willing to be seen for who they are. To stand in their truth and not the shadow of what they want others to believe they are.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Grace. The ability to consider feelings and actions with wisdom and well being and to act gracefully even when it might be difficult to do so.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My dog. I can always count on her to love me, tend to my wounded feelings and remind me that there's a being out here that will always give as much as or more than she takes. My childhood best friend, Jameel. Over thirty years and going strong. He's been the only one to always be there, to protect me on those occasions I couldn't protect myself and to keep all of my truest thoughts, fears and feelings safe and secure. He's probably the only person I've known that closely or long who has never snatched the rug out from under me.
16. When and where were you happiest?
The day I graduated from college and saw absolute blissful joy and delight on my father's face, knowing I had everything to do with it. A time long ago when I thought I was in love with someone just as in love with me. While everything else is in that story is but a work of fiction, that feeling I had was truer than most anything I've ever experienced. And I try to remain grateful for it.
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to read minds.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My tendency toward self-preoccupation.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I think that's yet to be discovered.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
An eagle. (feathers, not helmets)
21. Where would you most like to live?
Sometimes I think New Mexico. Loads of pottery there, lots of ceramic inspiration, still away from the hustle and bustle of life in a city. Places I would spend a year or two? London. Toronto. New Zealand. Portugal.
22. What is your most treasured possession?
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A life with no other passion but material gain or personal recognition.
24. What is your favorite occupation?
Potter. Followed by writer.
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
I honestly don't know. I don't trust that I've ever had a clear lens for how others see/observe me.
26. What do you most value in your friends?
27. Who are your favorite writers?
Neil Gaiman, Octavia Butler, Pearl Cleage, Paulo Coehlo, C.S. Lewis, Anchee Min, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Maya Angelou
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Ellen Ripley from the Alien series.
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I don't think I know enough about the inner workings of any historical figure to say who that person would be.
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
The people who are driven each and every day to the commitment of human services, community service and charitable efforts. My friends.