Today is my birthday, yet again. Forty-three of them so far. I’m doing pretty good with living life and having fun, which I do believe is the point of this whole deal. I’m past the point of giving a shit what people think of me, and I no longer accept or make labels for myself. (“I’m a caretaker. I’m a people pleaser. I’m a Millenial. I’m an approval seeker.”) Ugh. Just take responsibility for what you do and say and you won’t need labels. I hate labels. Go hang them somewhere else, thanks.
I thought I’d mark this year with the ol’ Proust questionnaire.I did this the first time close to ten years ago, and I’m curious to see how my answers have changed with age and wisdom. Or at least with age. All I remember about doing it the first time was an immense pressure to do it “right”. As if there is a right way to do such a thing. I wanted to be funny and make my answers entertaining. As I stated above, that no longer concerns me. You either like me or you don’t. If it’s the latter, move on. No offense taken. We don’t all have to like each other, but we can still get along. So, without further ado, here is my Proust Questionnaire. Age 43. (Here are the first and second round of questions. First 2006. Second, 2012)
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Living in a remote cabin someplace that overlooks a stream or lake. A place that has a studio for me to make art, read and write. And my friends are there also reading and we meet up after for a very boozy brunch which turns into dinner. Talking about books is just as good as the reading of the books.
2. What is your greatest fear? Looking back on my life with regret. So far so good.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m not sure that I deplore anything about myself. I can be a little pushy and forward, but that is a needed trait in Seattle.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Arrogance. Can’t stand it in men. Hate it in women. Oh! And when people say, “My brand” about themselves. EWWWWW!
5. Which living person do you most admire? Barak Obama. Michelle Obama. Joyce Carol Oates. Amy Poehler. Anyone who lives life on their own terms.
6. What is your greatest extravagance? Books. Travel. Funko Pop Toys.
7. What is your current state of mind? Brimming. I’m all at once peaceful and excited. I have projects percolating and I’m off for the next five days!
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Decency? I mean, sometimes you just have to say, FUCK OFF. Swearing is okay sometimes.
9. On what occasion do you lie? Like I’m gonna tell you that.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance? I wish my hair would finish growing out already.
11. Which living person do you most despise? BIG FAT BABY TRUMP.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man? I like a man who will listen. Really listen. Not just pretend to listen then tell you how it really is. All men think they know better than you, as a woman. I like a man who can admit that he doesn’t know everything.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Humility. In this day and age I really, really cannot stand women who post pictures of themselves all the fucking time. At the gym. At the subway. At lunch. At work. On vacation last year. On vacation three years ago. JESUS! Get over yourself already! If all you’ve got going for you is pretty, then you are in trouble sister. Or posting pictures of yourself without make-up and calling yourself brave. Uh huh. Loser.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I think I call people “asshole” a lot.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Books.
16. When and where were you happiest? I can remember being extremely happy in Cesky Krumlov. Also Tranny Shack Reno the time we got snowed in. That was pretty happy. It is just a coincidence that drugs were a part of both happy times.
17. Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to master an instrument without having to learn it.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be more famous for singing and being awesome.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? I’ve lived life all over the map. That has not been easy. I’ve also written three novels.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Eleana Ferrante.
21. Where would you most like to live? I don’t know. Spain? Greece? Scotland?
22. What is your most treasured possession? Le Mutt.
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Living in the past, or an imagined future.
24. What is your favorite occupation? I have a few: Singing. Reading. Writing. Drawing or painting. Watching a good film in the theater. Going to a museum.
25. What is your most marked characteristic? I’m hilarious.
26. What do you most value in your friends? Honesty.
27. Who are your favorite writers? Joyce Carol Oates. Haruki Murakami. John Irving. Tom Robbins. Margaret Atwood. Lauren Groff. The Brontë sisters. Zadie Smith.
28. Who is your hero of fiction? Cathy/Heathcliff. Jane Eyre. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Anna Karenina. Princess Leia. Wonder Woman.
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? The women of the Salem Witch trials. I mean, I get what its like to be told what you are and them blamed for it.
30. Who are your heroes in real life? Me. Michelle Obama. Meryl Streep.
31. What are your favorite names? Lola. Roxanne. Max. Lucy.
32. What is it that you most dislike? The smell of tuna from a can. Ugh! The worst! Also, people who stand in doorways. Those people suck. Oh! And how about FB posts that read like a therapy session? I mean, c’mon! Shall I continue….?
33. What is your greatest regret? I don’t do regret.
34. How would you like to die? Fat. Happy. Loved.
35. What is your motto? Live in the NOW. Now is all you’ve got!