Sunday, November 30, 2008

Proust Questionnaire Revisited

I have been tidying up my blog posts, deleting a few along the way. I found this one and liked it. I've updated a few of my comments from the original three years ago and post them again in hopes some of you will write your own answers.

Marcel Proust was a French novelist, essayist and critic. He is quoted as saying, "All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last," and "Our intonations contain our philosophy of life, what each of us is constantly telling himself about things," and "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." I like the way he thinks.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A comfortable place to rest when I’m tired, something good to eat when I’m hungry, sunshine on my shoulders, good company in small doses.

Which living person do you most admire?
Each one of my children, for different reasons.

What is your greatest fear?
Unbearable pain.

What is your favorite journey?
The one that takes me home.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Of the seven, diligence. I'm a big believer in frequent breaks, naps, and just sitting, staring off into space.

On what occasion do you lie?
When telling the whole truth would do more harm than good.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Well, huh!" "And your point is?" "Knock it off!"

What is your greatest extravagance?
Books. Chocolate. Clothes. More books.

What do you dislike about your appearance?
Depends on when you ask that question. First thing in the morning? Egads, my hair! Middle of the day? Egads, my hair! Just before bedtime? Lordy, the bags under my eyes!

Which living person do you most despise?
That’s a strong word – I’m not fond of many Republicans at the moment.

What is your greatest regret?
Losing my home as a result of some poorly-made decisions.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family, my kids and grandkids. My old blue sweater. My down comforter ☺

When and where were you happiest?
Whenever and wherever I stop and remember that I can be happy anytime. As a specific location? My old homestead on Silver Street.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, to be musical!

What is your current state of mind?
Contentment.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I’d love to have both of my parents still alive and in good health. But if the question means, would I change anyone in my family, the answer is no – we’re a good bunch.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you suppose it would be?
A dust mote so I could dance in a sunbeam and travel the world on the wind.

What is your most treasured possession?
Family photographs. My books. Things my children have chosen as gifts for me over the years.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Hopelessness.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Kindness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Kindness.

What do you most value in your friends?
That they ARE my friends.

Who are your favorite writers?
Richard Bach; Elizabeth Berg; Maeve Binchey; Deepak Chopra; Billy Collins; Annie Dillard; Rumer Godden; James Herriot; Barbara Kingsolver; Garrison Keillor; Anne and daughter Reeve Lindbergh; James Mitchner; Mary Oliver; Cynthia Rylant, Rumi; Anne Rivers Siddons; Amy Tan; Lewis Thomas; Margaret Mitchell; Tolkein; Neil Donald Walsch; Laura Ingalls Wilder; Andrew Weil and a host of others.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Anyone who tries to be a little kinder than necessary.

What are your favorite names?
No favorites, though I’m partial to Annie and Jake.

How would you like to die?
Quietly in my sleep while dreaming about something happy.

What is your motto?
Life is short but wide.

***

What about you?

11 comments:

Barbara said...

This makes me want to reach out and give you an e-hug! Maybe I'll try this sometime soon. It seems like a good way to say what makes a person tick!

My dog Jake is happy that you like his name.

Vincent said...

I don't understand the connection of the questionnaire with Marcel Proust, whose name doesn't appear in your list of favourite writers. Clearly I am missing the point, yes?

Pauline said...

No vincent, not at all. Apparently this "Proust Questionnaire" was a feature of the New Yorker Magazine. A fellow blogger posted the questions and gave her own answers. I borrowed the questionnaire from her. The only point to the whole thing is to think about one's life and learn a bit about one's readers'. I read Marcel Proust in college and he is not one of my favorite writers.

Thanks Barbara - it is an exercise in self-examination if one takes the questions with a grain of seriousness. Otherwise, it can be an exercise in cleverness ;)

Frankie said...

Fabulous answers!! Some made me really stop and think, most made me smile. I think my favorite is

"If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you suppose it would be?
A dust mote so I could dance in a sunbeam and travel the world on the wind."

Perfect poetry.

Thanks for sharing these! It's just more proof of how wonderful and kindred you are xox

Java said...

Ok another e-hug coming your way. What great answers this guy got, phew.

Paul said...

Because I've been in intractable and increasing pain for fifteen years and an agonizing death looks pretty much unavoidable, I take it one day at a time. I figure it's not unbearable until it is, and that there's nothing magic or special about death - that it's just some further moments of life. And all those moments before the death bed scene and what you do with them count for more...

Maithri said...

Beautiful responses,

I came here via pam's blog.

It is always a pleasure to read gracious tender words like these.

"Life is short but wide..."

and deep,

Soft wings of peace,

Maithri

Pauline said...

Thank you Frankie - your turn!

and one back to you, AD!

Even one day at a time can seem too much, Paul. I would so like to be able to ease your agony somehow.

Thank you for the kind comment, Maithri.

herhimnbryn said...

P. I enjoyed reading this and ave stored away the questions to ponder over.

I know what you mean about Proust!

Pauline said...

HHB - would love to read your answers!

meggie said...

I left an answer to this, but it has not appeared. I have found this on several blogs recently, so wonder what I am doing wrong.