Got me them old Proustian blues


The Proust Questionnaire is a kind of classic of its sort. It has been running in Vanity Fair Magazine for a number of years in which assorted notables and also-rans are asked to respond to a set of rather unique questions.

I did it in a blog a couple of years ago and I thought I would give it another shot just to see if my responses had changed; if I had grown; if I had deteriorated; if I was stagnating. And no, regarding the Proust name, I have never read Remembrance of Things Past and have absolutely no intention of so doing since life is very sort and there still are beautiful women in the world of the sort that definitely supplant rather ponderous and outrageously overlong bits of writing.

So, Here goes.

 Part I

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Isolation

Where would you like to live? Either where I am living now, or on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. Possibly the South of France or southwestern England.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Being deeply in love with my life’s partner.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Sexual overtness and flirtatiousness in females.

Who are your favorite characters in history? Sir Thomas More, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Benjamin Disraeli, Harry S. Truman.



Who are your favorite heroines in real life? Lady Jane Grey, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, the late Queen Mother (for her heroism during the Blitz if nothing else.)


Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Scout Finch, Dolores Price of Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone.


Your favorite painter? J.M.W.Turner, Edward Hopper.


Your favorite musician? Count Basie, Keith Richards, James Brown.

The quality you most admire in a man? Courage of conviction.

The quality you most admire in a woman?

Affection and honesty.


Your favorite virtue?



Your favorite occupation?



Who would you have liked to be? Pretty much who I am with more money, hence more freedom.


Part II


Your most marked characteristic? Sense of humor, smile, great tush (I have been told, so I’ll go with it)

The quality you most like in a man? Intelligence and sense of humor.

The quality you most like in a woman? Intelligence and sex appeal.


What do you most value in your friends?



What is your principle defect?

Suggestible, at times.


What is your favorite occupation? Writing.

What is your dream of happiness?

The freedom to write what I want, and the wherewithall to travel whenever I want to wherever I want.


What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? Dire poverty.


What would you like to be? Pretty much what I am.

In what country would you like to live?

Where I live now in the spring and summer, and in the Southwest or Hawaii in the winter.


What is your favorite color?

Blue, I guess.


What is your favorite flower? Roses, plumaria (frangipani) blossoms.


What is your favorite bird?

The plain old garden variety North American Robin.


Who are your favorite prose writers?

Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, Ann Rule, Mordecai Richler.


Who are your favorite poets?

WH Auden, Shakespeare, Steven Spender, WB Yeats, TS Eliot, Dylan Thomas, ee cummings, Ogden Nash (I like a laugh).


Who are your favorite composers? Bach, Khatchaturian, Elgar, Mozart, Chopin.


Who are your favorite painters? Turner, Degas, Monet, Manet, Dali, Hopper.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Those who give of themselves and seek little in return; war zone journalists.


Who are your favorite heroines of history? Boudicca, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Margaret Thatcher (for sheer guts), Cellist Jacqueline du Pre. 


What are your favorite names? Don’t really have any.


What is it you most dislike?

Filth, stupidity, irresponsibility, vulgarity, cruelty.


What historical figures do you most despise?

Hitler, Stalin, Dick Cheney, Pierre Trudeau.


What event in military history do you most admire?

The defeat of the Axis in World War Two.


What reform do you most admire?

Abolition of slavery.


What natural gift would you most like to possess?



How would you like to die?

In my sleep at a very advanced age that has not been disrupted by illness.


What is your present state of mind?



What is your motto? If nothing changes, nothing changes.


If you haven’t ever tried this, I advise you to give it a shot. It’s fun and you’ll find it an amazing little bit of self-analysis as you work your way through it. If you do it, I’d love you to post it.





4 responses to “Got me them old Proustian blues

  1. I love me a guy with a great tush…

    And I might just try this if I can force myself to copy and post it…

  2. Oh dear this is a difficult one and would require lots of thought.

    Turner? Same for my husband but for me, not so much. I think our first date was at the Tate Gallery which had sooo many Turners. I married him anyway.

  3. Very interesting. I have recently done a much lighter version.

  4. Great post. Intriguing answers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s