The Proust Questionnaire: The 19th Century Version of a BuzzFeed Quiz
I've been hooked on quizzes since I picked up my first Seventeen Magazine in the 90s. I've been abstaining from the data-mining-but-oh-so-fun quizzes that have been going around social media these days (even though Cambridge Analytica et al probably have a very robust profile of me already). So when I came across this questionnaire filled out by one of my heros on Brain Pickings, I wanted to do it too; if it's good enough for Jane Goodall, Joan Didion, and David Bowie, it's good enough for me!
It was a lovely, introspective experience. Reminding me mostly of what I love and shining a gentle light on things I need a little more of in my life. Here are my answers. I'd love to read yours too (if you write a post, link it in the comments so I can see it).
__1.__What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sunshine filtering through leaves or sparkling on snow.
__2.__What is your greatest fear?
Failing the people who believe in me and depend on me.
__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?
__6.__What is your greatest extravagance?
__7.__What is your current state of mind?
__8.__What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
__9.__On what occasion do you lie?
To myself, every morning, when I overestimate what I can do in a day/week/hour.
__10.__What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Society's judgments of it.
__11.__Which living person do you most despise?
__12.__What is the quality you most like in a man?
__13.__What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Update for the 21st century: Self-awareness is the quality I like most in non-binary people.
__14.__Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Vitality, qi, genius, amazing.
__15.__What or who is the greatest love of your life?
__16.__When and where were you happiest?
At St. Leon with family- many times through my life.
__17.__Which talent would you most like to have?
__18.__If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd like to be a better steward of my energy.
__19.__What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have a hard time considering any of my achievements great (working on it).
__20.__If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A willow tree.
__21.__Where would you most like to live?
I'm happy where I am, but perhaps I'd like to spend a season or two in Cinque Terra, or Key West, or off the grid in the Kootenays.
__22.__What is your most treasured possession?
My mom's ring.
__23.__What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
So far: undiagnosed PTSD.
__24.__What is your favorite occupation?
Making Flower Essences.
__25.__What is your most marked characteristic?
Warmth & imagination.
__26.__What do you most value in your friends?
Their beautiful strangeness.
__27.__Who are your favorite writers?
Anais Nin, Ernest Hemingway, Alan Bradley, Jaqueline Carey, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Louisa May Alcott, Mo Willems.
__28.__Who is your hero of fiction?
__29.__Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Maria Sibylla Merian.
__30.__Who are your heroes in real life?
Jane Goodall, Buffy Saint-Marie, Dolly Parton, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Aviva Romm, Lorie Dechar, MingHui Shen, all my grandmothers.
__31.__What are your favorite names?
I really like flower names. My little girl's middle name was almost "Buttercup" and I'm still sad that it isn't.
__32.__What is it that you most dislike?
Our disconnection from the natural world.
__33.__What is your greatest regret?
Not taking more nudes in my twenties.
__34.__How would you like to die?
Like my Grandma Elinor. Peacefully, in a hospital, after loving goodbyes.
__35.__What is your motto?