The Proust Questionnaire

Today, I feel like answering some questions.

Image: blog.freeforums.org

Image: blog.freeforums.org

Not, of course, that anybody has asked me to answer any of these questions – but that’s beside the point. I scoured the internet for a list of suitable questions, and decided eventually that the best list I could find was this one – a questionnaire made famous by the answers given by Marcel Proust. I won’t answer them all (because we’d be here all day), but I think there are a few excellent questions in here. So, here goes!

My favourite virtue: My favourite virtue is kindness. Proust seemed to take this question as referring to a virtue he possessed himself (and in which he excelled); if that’s the way you’re supposed to answer the question, then my answer stays the same. I try to be kind, and I hope I succeed most of the time.

My favourite qualities in a person: The original questionnaire split this one up into ‘favourite qualities in a woman/man’, but I don’t think that’s really appropriate in our modern age. My favourite qualities in a person would include kindness, but also gentleness, generosity of spirit, compassion and the openness to love.

What I appreciate the most in my friends: I appreciate the fact that I’ve got friends at all! Each of them has their own talents and wonderful qualities, but one thing they all possess is a sense of humour. We make each other laugh so much, my friends and I, and hopefully we always will.

My main fault: I have so many faults, I’ll have to limit myself to the main ones. So – my faults are as follows: I have a quick temper, I tend to close myself off when I’m in a bad mood, I find it hard to multi-task (despite the stereotype about women being better at this than men!), I tend to be impatient, I’m nowhere near healthy enough, I don’t like change and find it hard to cope with, and I’m very (very) stubborn. And that’s just for starters.

My favourite occupation: Whether the questionnaire means occupation in the sense of ‘job’ or ‘pastime’, the answer remains the same: writing! Reading, drawing and walking are not far behind it on the list of favourites.

My idea of happiness: It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy, really. At least, I hope not! Happiness, for me, is knowing that all my loved ones are safe and happy, being with my husband – not necessarily doing anything in particular, just being in his company – and spending time with my family, and knowing that I have enough and I am enough. Happiness is a conscious decision, I think, but it’s one you have to make every day.

My idea of misery: Misery to me is being separated from someone I love. If I don’t see my family for a while, I tend to slump down into sadness, and I hate when my husband is away. Misery would be knowing that this separation was going to be permanent.

If not yourself, who would you be?: This is a dangerous question. I’d like to say I’d love to be a published author (take your pick from Laini Taylor, Kristin Cashore, Jeanette Winterson, Catherine Fisher, and so on), but I know that it’s never a good thing to wish to be someone else. Everyone is carrying their own burdens, and most people carry them with grace and dignity, and so well that another person (even a close friend) may never even guess at them. I may not be able to carry another person’s burdens with the same strength they have. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised it’s a huge blessing to be happy just to be yourself. So, if I couldn’t be me as I am now, I’d like to be me in a year’s time. Just to see what’s changed.

My favourite heroes/heroines: My real-life heroes include my family, particularly my (deceased) grandparents, whose lives were unimaginably different from mine and who surmounted difficulties I know I couldn’t cope with. In history, I admire a huge amount of people, including St. Maximilian Kolbe, Anne Frank, Leonhard Seppala and Gunnar Kaasen and their dogs Togo and Balto, Ada Lovelace, Madame Curie, the Brontes and Austen, Harvey Milk, Sophie Scholl, Marie de France, and so many others. In general I admire any person who does what they can to stand up against oppression, to create art even when they’re told they can’t, who defies injustice and fights to protect their rights and the rights of others, and who doesn’t let their gender or social status hold them back. Not a lot to ask, then.

The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with: I’d love to be able to dance. Not just the belly-wobbling flailing that I get up and do at family weddings, but proper ballet-style dancing. I’d love to be graceful. As it is, I fall over when I stand on one foot.

My favourite motto: I have a few mottos that I really like. These are: ‘All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well,’ which is attributed to Julian of Norwich, a medieval nun. I also love ‘Thaes ofereode; thisses swa maeg’ which is the refrain from an Old English poem named ‘Deor’ (it means ‘That was overcome, and so will this be), and I like to think of this one when I’m facing a challenge. It reminds me that I’ve survived up to now, and I can face whatever’s coming. And I also love a line from Beowulf, which is ‘Gaeth a wyrd swa hio scel’, which roughly means ‘Fate will go as it must’ – in other words, if something is going to happen, it’ll happen. It reminds me that I can’t control anything except myself, and my own reactions to what happens in my life.

Well, I hope this has been an illuminating read! I’d just like to let you know that I won’t be blogging on Monday morning because it’s a Bank Holiday in Ireland (and, more importantly, I won’t have access to a computer that day), so I wanted to wish you all a happy St. Patrick’s Day and a good weekend.

Image: bunclody.net

Image: bunclody.net

Thanks for reading!

 

4 thoughts on “The Proust Questionnaire

  1. Pingback: Insanitysuperman’s Proust-Questionnaire/Insanitysuperman’s Proust-Fragebogen | phoenixrisesagain

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