Monday, November 17, 2008

Proust Questionnaire

Recently, my new blogging friend Rita (a lovely and talented artist from Toronto whose blog you should visit!), invited me to do an "Eight Things" list. 

I have been meaning to do one of these lists for a while since I keep getting tagged, but decided to do it in the form of the famous "Proust Questionnaire".  This is a classic questionnaire that was done by Proust several times in his life and is used as the basis of the famous Vanity Fair interview, which I greedily read at the back of each issue.  Instead of trying to be witty like most of the Vanity Fair interviewees, I just tried to be honest.

Your most marked characteristic?
I've very serious inside but upbeat and cheery on the outside - people think I'm a lot lighter-spirited than I am.  I'm an information junkie, rather Type A, have strong opinions sometimes, and find it hard to quiet my brain.  But I am learning to quiet my mind and be silent more - it feels wonderful to be silent and ruminate.

The quality you most like in a man?
A strong moral compass.  Intelligence.  Wit.
    The quality you most like in a woman?
    Intelligence. Wit.  Self-acceptance.

    What is your principle defect?
    Self-doubt.  An indefatigable love of chocolate.

    What is your favorite occupation?
    Reading (especially decor books) and sleeping, in any order.
      What is your dream of happiness?
      To see my mother every day and have more family around.  A supply of good books and time to read them.  Not another headache. More good friends.  A house overlooking the ocean.  To write.  To decorate.  To take photographs.  To sleep all day amidst a pile of books and cats with a cool breeze coming in the window and David nearby.  
        What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
        Unconscious ignorance.

        What would you like to be?
        A writer living by the seaside.

        What is your favorite color?
        Grey shades of blue, ivory, very pale and tranquil colours.

        What is your favorite flower?
        Cherry and apple blossoms, on the tree.  Roses of all shapes and sizes.

        What is your favorite bird?
        Owls, Chickadees, fluffy Downy woodpeckers, birds with nice songs

        Who are your favorite prose writers?
        Too many to list.  I just read "To Kill A Mockingbird" and think Harper Lee is an awfully wise woman who understood and communicated the human experience as well as anyone I've ever read.  She is a witty and profound thinker and writer.

        Who are your favoite poets?
        I am not well read enough in this category.  I am fond of Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickenson, Cavafy, Neruda

        Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
        I have none.

        Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
        Scout.  The women from "The Secret Life of Bees".

        Who are your heroes in real life?
        My mother, for her dignity and grace and wisdom and optimism and endless love.  The women in her family for their love.  My father, for his fortitude and work ethic and his own kind of special.

        What are your favorite names?
        I like "A" names and old Scottish names.  My favorite girl's names are Katherine and Windsor and Imogen and Sarah and pretty feminine names like Bella.  My favorite boy's names are Rhys (from which my family names is derived) and Alexander.

        What is it you most dislike?
        Sexism, among other -isms.

        What natural gift would you most like to possess?
        Eloquence.  Wonderful hair.

        How would you like to die?
        Quietly, in old age, surrounded by family and friends who love me and will read to me and play music for me and take me out to the garden and the seaside.  I would like to die looking at the ocean, I think.

        What is your present state of mind?

        To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
        I try to see the best in people, but I dislike arrogance and vanity.  None of us is God's gift in more than a couple of categories, so get over yourself.  It's also maddening when people don't stop talking and prefer to have a monologue instead of a conversation.

        What is your favorite quote?  
        I have so many.  I have books full of them.  I think my favorite idea is that "cynics are wounded idealists" (Wally Lamb).  I have been a terrible cynic but also a terrific lover of this world.  I am very compassionate, but a lot hurts me.  

        I also like "The world is your oyster" but I don't think it's true.


        1. Terri! I loved to learn more about you! Contrary to what you believe, I think you most eloquent, actually more eloquent than most. I love your values and your beliefs. I think you are fantastic!!! Lovely post.

        2. This is fantastic Terri, you've gone above and beyond the call!! I've only recently met you but I totally agree, we would have a wonderful time spending an afternoon together.

        3. Thats a tough questionaire but thanks for sharing.

        4. Hmmm, very interesting, thoughtful responses. I love Scout, too, for her bravery and authenticity. Sadly, I'm not one bit like her.

        5. It's on its way! :D

          Dare I email?

        6. It was so interesting to learn at bit more about you. And I must say I am overwhelmed by your wisdom, especially since I agree with everything. :)
          Just realized that I have missed several posts, so I have to read on.

        7. beautifully said.

          also i gave you an award at my place.