13 November 2008

Proust Questionnaire

I've been hearing a lot about the "Proust Questionnaire" lately - apparently the Olsen twins did a version in their new book so Proust it getting some play. I've never seen the questions in this questionnaire because a) I hadn't heard of it before (my experience reading Proust is limited) and b) I am not hip enough to read Vanity Fair (which has a "Proust Questionnaire" on their back page in ever issue). So I looked up the Vanity Fair version.

Pfft. Olsen twins. I am way more interesting than the Olsen twins.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A good dinner, good conversation, a good book, and a good snuggle before bed.
2. What is your greatest fear?
That one day I will wake up and I'll be the crazy, lonely old lady who wears athletic socks with sandals and owns too many cats (considering that I consider the sock/sandal combination one of the seminal fashion faux pas, that would be bad).
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5. Which living person do you most admire?
Perri Klass
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
I buy tons of books - I read fast, but not that fast, so they are starting to pile up. You know that Erasmus quote? Yeah, that's me.
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9. On what occasion do you lie?
If you think your outfit/hairstyle/fill-in-the-blank rocks, I will probably not dissuade you of this notion, even if I think you look like a barrel with appendages.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I will always be zaftig, even when I'm skinny.
11. Which living person do you most despise?
Hmmm, well, I would have to say an ex-boyfriend who thought that being a stalker was an attractive quality.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Dude" and the F-bomb in all its incarnations.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I don't think I've experienced that yet - I'm still waiting.
16. When and where were you happiest?
Walking through the stile to meet my friend Kate at the train station in Cardiff - I travelled by myself, internationally, and got through immigration at Heathrow and onto a train at Paddington Station without losing anything, including myself. I was really proud - and I got to visit Kate!
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
To play the piano beautifully - you know, at the level requiring a nine-foot concert grand. I can play but, to quote Elizabeth Bennet "very ill."
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I need more calm - I'm such a frazzle most days.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have an advanced degree, that I never planned on getting, but I am very respected for what I do with that degree.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A well-loved housecat (that's what my Grandmother Margaret wanted to come back as, too).
21. Where would you most like to live?
Well, I kind of like where I live now....but I wouldn't be opposed to living in the British Isles.
22. What is your most treasured possession?
A tie between my copy of Winnie-the-Pooh (given to my by my Grandmother Margaret), my honeybee quilt (made for me by my Great Aunt Lillie), or my two cats, Chaucer and Dante (who I'm sure think they own me).
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The third rejection letter from the University of Iowa College of Medicine; I cried for days and it still hurts, seven years later.
24. What is your favorite occupation?
Reading. Or dancing. Or knitting. Or reading....
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
I am extremely direct; beating-around-the-bush is not really in my make-up.
26. What do you most value in your friends?
Their humor.
27. Who are your favorite writers?
Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, AA Milne, Judy Blume, Jasper Fforde, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, AS Byatt, Willa Cather, Sandra Gilbert, Susan Gubar, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Thursday Next - she does it all!
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Alice Roosevelt Longworth
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
My Great-Aunt Lillie, a brilliant woman who was never allowed to go to college (boo on that great-grandpa but she kept learning - for proof ask my father, who was amazed that she could help him with his college calculus and physics homework even though she never learned more than trigonometry in school; she could also do the crossword puzzle in ink - no mistakes).
31. What are your favorite names?
Margaret, Ann, Lillie, Christopher Robin
32. What is it that you most dislike?
People who can't seem to behave themselves in public.
33. What is your greatest regret?
Sometimes I feel like I missed out on my dreams, the ones I had when I was graduating high school, even though I'm successful and grateful for my achievements now that I'm thirty.
34. How would you like to die?
In my sleep, in my own bed, after a good long life filled with family and friends.
35. What is your motto?
A combination of “Dance as though no one is watching, Love as though you've never been hurt, Sing as though no one can hear you, Live as though heaven is on earth” (Souza) and "I read banned books - got a problem with that?"

In knitting news, I finished my slouchy beret. It's really cute! Now I have to finish my red variegated scarf.

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