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Q&A (The Proust Questionaire)

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A crackling fire in a comfy room in a house in a wild, windswept place with plenty of light. A good book, a cup of tea, my Best Beloved, and the Rescuepoo.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing my Best Beloved and the Rescuepoo, and finding out that, after all, there is nothing but the abyss.

Which living person do you most admire?
Malala Yousafzai and the unsung hero who just keeps doing the next right thing.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Just one? Can’t. Self-righteousness and self-pity.  Whining in general, for that matter. Racism. Arrogance. Entitlement.  I am easily annoyed.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I spend my days writing, clinging to the belief it matters, somehow.  What could be more extravagant?  Plus, I buy too many pens.

What is your favorite journey?
To dreamland, although going to Ireland and/or Iceland is a close second.

On what occasion do you lie?
When asked about other people’s clothing choices.

Which living person do you most despise?
I try not to despise anyone.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I can’t imagine….” Because, sadly, I probably can. And “lovely”, but honestly, so many things are.

What is your greatest regret?
The times I have chosen cleverness over kindness.

When and where were you happiest?
On the day I married my Best Beloved, and a moment in Newfoundland when there was nothing but sky and sea, rocks and ravens, and the day Bailey the Rescuepoo came to live with us.

What is your current state of mind?
Restless, with equal measures of hopefulness and anxiety.  I’ve learned to live with it.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d stop caring if I’m invited to the birthday party or not.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sobriety.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A birch tree. Or a bear. Birches because they are beautiful, bears because they are both solitary and gregarious — a balance I’d like to learn.

What is your most treasured possession?
I’m not terribly sentimental about stuff, but I do have a near-bald, battered, semi-still-stuffed rabbit who kept me company through many terrifying nights when I was a child, and although he looks to anyone else as nothing more than a mangy bit of trash, I can’t part with him.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being dependent on the opinion of others. I do recognize this is a luxury statement. Poverty, illness, pain, abandonment, imprisonment… there are endless way humans inflict misery on others.

Where would you like to live?
In a quiet house, away from people other than those I love, with a view of the horizon.

What is your favorite occupation?
Napping, although I don’t suppose it counts as an occupation. Cuddling stray dogs would be a good one. But I keep returning to writing, and so I suspect I always shall.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I am a solitary person, who nonetheless likes to be invited to the party.

What are the qualities you most like in others?
Kindness, a sense of humor, and integrity.

Who are your favorite writers?
There are always new ones, but the ones who found me first were James Agee and Gabrielle Roy, Graham Greene, Carson McCullers and James Baldwin.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Hester Prynne.

Who are your heroes in real life?
I’ve learned the hard way not to make heroes out of real people.

What is it that you most dislike?
Noise, and political blowhards who believe their opinions and God’s are the same.

How would you like to die?
In joyful anticipation, fearlessly, painlessly and regret-free.

What is your motto?
“Defy Despair.”