03 January, 2012

Proust Questionnaire



The best place to read back issues of Vanity Fair is in the bathroom. They just lay there in the heap inside a basket, staring at you with those beautiful cover faces, and you pick one up just to turn it over so it will stop looking at you. And that’s how you find yourself reading the back page questionnaire. And sometimes you wonder how would you answer questions like that. The other day I noticed that the back page was titled Proust Questionnaire. Wasn’t there a line from Frasier, something about snobs and Proust? Well, Marcel Proust was asked to fill out questionnaires as a form of a party game during two social gatherings: one when he was 13, another when he was 20. He happened to be the most extraordinary person to respond to that game, thus making it famous. I’m not an extraordinary person, but I decided to play as well and answer the questions. Below are the original questions, for Vanity Fair version you can check out their site.


Questionnaire #1

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? To lose my child

Where would you like to live? St. Augustine, Florida

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Holding my child in my arms

To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Procrastination

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? Bond, James Bond 
          
Who are your favorite characters in history? Catherine the Great

Who are your favorite heroines in real life? A certain family friend

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? The one I created

Your favorite painter? At this moment it will be Tamara de Lempica

Your favorite musician? Julio Eglesias

The quality you most admire in a man? Drive

The quality you most admire in a woman? Backbone

Your favorite virtue? Patience

Your favorite occupation? Chef

Who would you have liked to be? Julia Child

Questionnaire #2 
(the one Proust answered seven years after first. I'm not waiting seven years)

Your most marked characteristic? My brain

The quality you most like in a man? Charm

The quality you most like in a woman? Style

What do you most value in your friends? My true friends do not talk behind my back

What is your principle defect? Impatience

What is your favorite occupation? Chef

What is your dream of happiness? It’s the same every night: being on a beach

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? To lose my child (every mother's worst nightmare)

What would you like to be? A salami

In what country would you like to live? Spain

What is your favorite color? Pantone® Reflex Blue

What is your favorite flower? Tulip

What is your favorite bird? A great horned owl

Who are your favorite prose writers? Tolstoy, Dumas, Hugo… Fleming

Who are your favorite poets? I only have one: Pushkin

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? James Bond

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? The one I created, Catalina Bennett

Who are your favorite composers? Rachmaninoff and Gilmore

Who are your favorite painters? I have a BFA, my list is long

Who are your heroes in real life? My father

Who are your favorite heroines of history? Catherine the Great (have not changed my mind in the last 2 minutes)

What are your favorite names? Danny and Daniel

What is it you most dislike? Nagging

What historical figures do you most despise? Hitler, Lenin, Stalin...

What event in military history do you most admire? I don't admire anything that has to do with war

What reform do you most admire? None

What natural gift would you most like to possess? Would love to be a wiz with numbers

How would you like to die? Fast, so I’m not burden to my family

What is your present state of mind? Busy

To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Eating

What is your motto? Good things come to those who wait

Beach art


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