The Proust Questionnaire; at Fifty
My friend Matthew posted The Proust Questionnaire on his Facebook page and, reading the answers, I googled it because some of the questions are not in Vanity Fair or on Inside The Actor’s Studio. It turns out there are a few versions of this questionnaire. Since Matthew chose THESE questions, I answered them:
1. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? That my husband will not have a happy and fulfilled life.
2. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND? Alienation and determination.
3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND LEISURE TIME? There is little leisure time and, what there is, I prefer to spend with loved ones, especially my husband. Or sleeping. Everything else, from household activity to paid employment, from my training to the observation of the world around me, I consider to be my job.
4. WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? Wolfgang Mozart
5. WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? My mother.
1. WHO IS YOUR FICTIONAL HERO? Brian Kinney, Jason Bourne, Bobby Morrow
2. WHO ARE YOUR REAL-LIFE HEROES? The family members (read: family and friends) who have never hurt me, never made me feel “less than”. I know all of their names, for they are engraved on a wounded and scarred heart and psyche. The actor Gale Harold. My teachers, Ray Scalvino and Matthew Jenkins. My husband.
3. WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? Spiritually: my survival instinct. Materially: a pink plush doll named Rachel.
4. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST? During the filming of MARRIED AND COUNTING, when I married the love of my life every month.
5. WHAT IS YOUR MOST OBVIOUS CHARACTERISTIC? That I am lead, entirely, by my emotions, be they happy or otherwise; that I am controlled by my defiant insistence on loving, serving and protecting my family.
6. WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN YOURSELF? That I am human and, therefore, fallible.
7. WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS? Any inconsideration of others, ranging from cruelty to animals to dismissal of human persons.
8. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE? The amount of time and energy I have spent, in fifty years, not liking myself.
In my research, I found a website where people can answer the EXACT questions that Proust answered at two different times in his life; and though I have done this exercise before, I found that (the day after my fiftieth birthday) I answered with more honesty and authenticity than ever before.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To be alone, feeling invisible and drunk.
Where would you like to live?
In my home town of New York in any dwelling that is clean, paid for and that I share with my husband.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
To live with my husband and family, in New York, in good health, with financial stability provided by a job I enjoy and respect.
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Sadly, I indulge, too often, in the fault of self-destruction.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Brian Kinney, Jason Bourne, Bobby Morrow, Robert Kincaid.
Who are your favorite characters in history?
Coco Chanel, Wolfgang Mozart, Marilyn Monroe
Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Margaret Schlegel, Dolly Talbo, Tracy Whitney, Madeline White, Evelyn Salt, Francesca Johnson.
Your favorite painter?
My mother. My grandmother. Georges Seurat. Claude Monet. Edward Hopper, Florence Klotz.
Your favorite musician?
Jennifer Houston. Dan Tracy. Ricky Pope.
The quality you most admire in a man?
Integrity. Self-awareness. Compassion.
The quality you most admire in a woman?
Strength. Fortitude. Self-confidence.
Your favorite virtue?
Your favorite occupation?
The holding of my husband’s hand.
Who would you have liked to be?
Stephen Mosher; only happier with more self esteem.
Your most marked characteristic?
That I am lead, entirely, by my emotions, be they happy or otherwise; that I am controlled by my defiant insistence on loving and protecting my family.
What do you most value in your friends?
That they be honest with me, that they show up for our relationship, that they be kind to others, that they respect themselves.
What is your principle defect?
That I am human and, therefore, fallible.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Not to have met my husband.
What would you like to be?
What is your favorite color?
There is no colour that is unworthy of our attention. My favourite is the colour of possibility: white.
What is your favorite flower?
Stargazer Lillies remind me of my mother; Sunflowers remind me of Diane Lane.
What is your favorite bird?
Those that are in flight.
Who are your favorite prose writers?
The playwrights David Johnston, Brady Schwind and Stephen Kaplan; the novelists Truman Capote, Sidney Sheldon and Michael Cunningham. The commentator Ricky Pope.
Who are your favorite poets?
Stephen Sondheim, Carole King, Dan Tracy, Jennifer Houston.
Who are your heroes in real life?
The family members (read: family and friends) who have never hurt me, never made me feel “less than”. I know all of their names, for the are engraved on a wounded and scarred heart and psyche. The actor Gale Harold. My teachers, Ray Scalvino and Matthew Jenkins.
Who are your favorite heroines of history?
Coco Chanel, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn.
What are your favorite names?
My favourite name is OB1
What is it you most dislike?
Any inconsideration of others, ranging from cruelty to animals to dismissal of human persons
What historical figures do you most despise?
Those who inflict pain and oppression. Their names are well known to all.
What event in military history do you most admire?
I am not sufficiently educated to say.
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
The ability to let go of the negativity inside of my head.
How would you like to die?
What is your present state of mind?
Alienation and determination.
What is your motto?
Love is Always Better.