Marcel Proust filled out an English language questionnaire given to him by the daughter of the President of France sometime in the 1880’s. It was part of the Victorian version of the personality test of today. You may have seen it on Inside the Actors Studio and in Vanity Fair. I just read about it in reference to Joan Didion in Brain Pickings Weekly.
Sunday I was at home in my chair, suffering with a sinus headache while watching Roman Holiday, and I thought “why not?” Perhaps 20 years or more from now one of my kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews will stumble upon this blog and read my answers and consider what their answers would be.
What is your greatest fear?
Really, what do we have to be afraid of? We live in a country that gives us what we need if we work for it. I have a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator, a job and friends and family. I’m not fond of snakes or rats, but those are not fears. When my mother dies, I will be the oldest in my immediate family and that gives me some moments of fear. There will no longer be the option of ‘going home’, of always having someplace safe to land. Granted, I’ve not used it in my adult life – but the knowing I could was comforting.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I’m a little bossy. I like to argue. I have an insufferable need to be right. I like to be in control. All of those things just mask my fear of not being taken seriously.
What is your favorite journey?
I will always love the island of Antiparos in Greece. But lately, in the shower with warm water beating on my shoulders, I imagine I’m living in a one story beach house on the ocean somewhere. My bedroom view is the ocean, my office view is the ocean and there is a deck where I can do my tai chi in the morning. I find my way there often, if only in my mind.
On what occasion do you lie?
The worst lies I partake in are the ones I tell myself. “You deserve a break, you can workout tomorrow, no one cares what you do, what does it matter?”
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I have big feet and can’t find attractive shoes. Good shoes can make an outfit, and I can’t find them.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Yes. I’m working on saying no more.
When and where were you the happiest?
Doesn’t that change for everyone? I love being in North Carolina with my friend Lisa – no pressure, reading books, doing what we want. I also am very happy with my great nieces and nephews reading books or playing games or just getting a hug. I find myself presenting to groups and realize that I am very happy there. As I get older, I find that I’m happier more.
What talent would you most like to have?
To dream beyond my capabilities – to expand my own believes.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Who can do this? If you choose one thing, you think about another and next thing you know you find yourself a whole different person. So as much as I’d like to be thin, or smarter, or richer – I’d change the things I can, and be happy with what I have.
What is your most treasured possession?
Beautiful things that transport me to a place full of lovely feelings. Paintings of beaches, blue and green things, my beautiful table, pink flowers, signs Lisa made me, pictures Steven drew – I display them around me so I can see them always. I do believe in surrounding myself with beautiful things. Now for my most treasured possession – there is no one thing. I’m not attached to any of these things, for they will always live in my mind as well.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I think I don’t know. I think of Robin Williams – where did he reside in his head that he couldn’t stay here? What was his misery? Surely, he had much of it.
What is your favorite occupation?
I love to write. I’m very very fond of combining writing with travel. I like to tell stories.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I walk the walk of being able to listen to both sides of the story.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
The Velveteen Rabbit.