Click to learn more and see Proust's questions & answers!
I like the observation by editor Henry-Jean Servat that even when the questions were simply of the yes / no variety, Proust's answers were not: "The stupid answers in the album would have required conclusive answers, too uncouth to be exact. But a master with words like Proust knew how to get out of a trap like this. And he escapes either by remaining silent and not answering, or by doing the opposite and producing long lists or general ideas."
I tried to do the same, though I never realized when I was doing these a few years back with a few friends and relatives, that we were following in the footsteps of Proust!
The Proust Questionnaire!
Not the Proust questions, but same idea:
A PERFECT DAY IS: Swimming, reading, writing, drinking tea, the kitchen clean, maybe baking, the windows open. Ger home on vacation.
MY LOVE LIFE IN A WORD OR TWO: I am the luckiest.
WORST EVER BLOW TO MY PRIDE: Some scholarships I failed to receive in grad school.
YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO KNOW: That I like Sudoku better than Crossword Puzzles.
NO ONE KNOWS (well, now they will): That I have given up sorting the laundry. I just toss it all in together & hope for the best
MY SIMPLEST PLEASURE: Playing with stickers.
MY GUILTIEST PLEASURE: Spending a lot of money to have my nails done.
MY STATED HOBBY: Writing cards & letters.
MY SECRET HOBBY: Rewriting history.
MY HIDDEN TALENT: I'm surprisingly good at parallel parking, considering my general dislike of driving & my lack of spatial skills.
IN MY FRIDGE YOU'LL ALWAYS FIND: Milk for my kids' cereal. Oops! Except when we run out!
BUT YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO FIND: Marmite!
WHAT I'D SAY TO MY TWENTY-SOMETHING SELF: No need to get married just yet.
IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER I WOULD: Major in Accounting instead of English. Go figure!
I USED TO HATE BUT NOW I LOVE: Swimming.
I'LL NEVER UNDERSTAND: Littering & War.
I'D LOVE TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL OF: Shakespeare & Jesus, so that we could have comprehensive biographies of these two guys.
IF I COULD WIGGLE MY NOSE LIKE IN BEWITCHED, I WOULD: Pop in to visit all my faraway friends & relatives.
ALWAYS MAKES ME LAUGH: Reading Dave Barry, Bill Bryson, Roz Chast, Jack Handey, Anne Lamott, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell; listening to Stephen Colbert; watching Christmas Vacation.
MY MOTHER / FATHER WAS RIGHT ABOUT: Learn to drive a standard before an automatic!
ECO-FRIENDLY CHANGES IN MY LIFE: No more Plastic "Glad" Wrap, instead I save the wax paper cereal bags to reuse for food storage; always running the dishwasher on "Light" and doing most of the laundry on "Delicate" -- so far, everything still comes out clean (see sorting tip, above).
MY LIFE WOULD BE SIMPLER IF: I would stop being so fretful.
I WOULD STOP BEING SO FRETFUL IF: Only I knew how to stop being so fretful. (See righthand column!)
I CAN'T IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT: Books. Cats.
SOME MOVIES THAT I LIKE IN SPITE OF MYSELF: Talladega Nights, The Terminator (#1 only, the others -- no), Zoolander
ON MY "NOT TO DO" LIST: Coloring my hair & polishing the ceiling (our phrase for excessive housecleaning)
I WOULD REALLY WELCOME SOME FEEDBACK REGARDING: My blogs
Here's another one I did with my family:
Family Fun, Peg's Quiz
1.What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
2.Where was your profile picture taken?
3.Can you play Guitar Hero?
4.Name someone who made you laugh today?
My friend Cate
5.How late did you stay up last night and why?
3:00 am, because I like to be the last one up
6.If you could move somewhere else, would you?
Maybe back to Philly
7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
8. Which of your friends lives closest to you?
9. Do you believe ex's can be friends?
Maybe the good ones -- after 20 years or so;
the bad ones --see you around in a million years.
10. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
11. When was the last time you cried really hard?
A couple days ago, but that's normal for me.
12. Who took your profile picture?
13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
Gerry in Colorado
14. Was yesterday better than today?
I think it's a tie -- both good
15. Can you live a day without TV?
I think I could go for the rest of my life & never miss it!
16. Are you upset about anything?
Well, worried, but that's normal for me.
17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
Connect, only connect!
18. Are you a bad influence?
19. Night out or night in?
20. What items could you not go without during the day?
I guess most things are optional, but . . . books, cats, tea.
21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
Must have been when Daddy died.
22. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
I think it says take this quiz!
23. How do you feel about your life right now?
Every day, a new surprise!
24. Do you hate anyone?
"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
25. If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find?
I think about 92 unanswered requests -- if one of them is from you,
26. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?
Well, there IS some Excedrin in my system.
27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
28. What song is stuck in your head?
"Call me, call me, call me any any anytime. Call me!"
29. Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m. who do you want it to be?
An ex. No, just kidding! Santa Claus with presents!
30.Wanna have grandkids before you’re 50?
Uh, too late for that. Maybe 60?
31. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Take Sam to get his driver's license (see #16 above).
32. Do you think too much or too little?
If only I could turn my brain off . . .
33. Do you smile a lot?
Yes, also smirk a lot
And yet another, from 2002, like a nice long conversation with a friend! The thoughtful questions reminded me of this recent poetic discovery:
TO L. R-M
There are certain ladies in our land
Still living and still unafraid
Whose hearts have known a lot of pain,
Whose eyes have shed so many tears,
Who welcomed pity with disdain
And view the fast encroaching years
Humorously and undismayed.
There are certain ladies in our land,
Whose courage is too deeply bred
To merit unreflecting praise.
For them no easy, glib escape;
No mystic hopes confuse their days;
They can identify the shape
Of what's to come, devoid of dread.
There are certain ladies in our land
Who bring to Life the gift of gay
The past, for them, is safe and sure.
Perhaps their only vanity
Is that they know they can endure
The rigours of another day.
by Noel Coward (1899 - 1973)
Not sure about the identity of "L. R - M" but loved the poem on first sight and would be proud if I could ever be known for my "uncompromising sanity." The poem seems to go along with some of these survey answers:
1. FULL GIVEN NAME: Kitti Beth Lindsey Carriker McCartney.
& LATEST NICKNAME: "Kit - Bag." No, I didn't mind it when my sister - in - law gave me a new book bag inscribed "Your Old Kit Bag." In fact, "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" has long been one of my favorite tunes, especially the way that Roy Scheider sings it in All That Jazz!
2. CURRENT LIVING ARRANGEMENT? Big old (1805) renovated (2001) colonial house in Philadelphia's historic district, or as we like to call it
-- our nation's oldest neighborhood!
3. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee & THE RADIANT WAY by Margaret Drabble (both re-reads). I'm also just getting ready to read THE ENGLISH PATIENT (Michael Ondaatje) for the first time. I loved MY YEAR OF MEATS and have passed that recommendation on to many people; it ties in perfectly with Sei Shonagon & THE PILLOW BOOK and all the wonderful lists, e.g., "Hateful
4. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Hello Kitty! And my screen saver is a photograph taken by my son Ben.
5. FAVORITE BOARD GAME? Yahtzee (does that count?) Close seconds -- CLUE and SCRABBLE.
6. FAVORITE MAGAZINE? Not a big magazine reader . . . just like to thumb through & look at the pretty pictures in Victoria, Victorian Homes, Mary Engelbreit
7. FAVORITE SMELLS? Windsong perfume (but not to wear; I've had the same bottle for at least 25 years. I just open it up every now & then and enjoy a few seconds of aroma-therapy! Also, baking bread or other treats from the oven, lilacs, dry red wine (breath in deep -- even better than tasting!), and a nice hot load of laundry with Clorox bleach. I also like to be walking along the sidewalk and suddenly catch a whiff of someone else's dryer vent, perfumed with one of those little fabric softening sheets.
8. FAVORITE SOUND? those old-fashioned and highly breakable glass wind chimes from kindergarten, and -- this may sound like a strange one -- but I love the sound, when I'm watching a movie or a TV show, of someone opening up a letter. That crackling sound of the paper always takes me by surprise and doesn't sound to me anything at all like the unremarkable sound of opening up a letter in real life. Also, listening to music by the great composers (Bach, Mozart, etc.) and hearing my children or my husband play the piano. And how about hearing that talented Andreas Scholl sing a sad, sad song? Heartbreaking, but in the very best way!
9. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP? An optimistic (& unrealistic) mental run-through of all the chores & projects I hope to accomplish that day. I'm usually off by at least 50% of what it is humanly possible for me to actually do. Oh, well, hope springs eternal!
10. FAVORITE COLOR: Red
11. HOW TALL ARE YOU? 5'5"
12. HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE? I never answer the phone anymore, but my machine picks up at the 3rd ring; after that, if I can hear that it's a call I want to take, then I pick up as soon as I can race down to the kitchen (yes, there are other phones around the house; but the only answering machine is in the kitchen, and I HAVE to screen in order to avoid crazies). Where is the oddest place that you've ever found your phone? One of mine was missing for three days one time before I was able to locate it in the laundry basket!
13. FAVORITE ANIMAL? My Cat Josef
14. MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE? My relationships & keeping in touch.
15. FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Friday
16. FAVORITE ICE CREAM, CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Peanut Butter Chocolate by Haagen Daz or Baskin Robbins; or Espresso Chip by Edy's. This week, I bought some Rocky Road and some Coffee ice cream both by Turkey Hill. The Rocky Road is yummy. But for my favorite flavors, I always go by brand. For example, Turkey Hill's Peanut Butter chocolate is nowhere near as good as the above-mentioned brands, and their coffee flavor is nice enough but doesn't hold a candle to Edy's.
17. DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? Too scary for me! But I am a gifted parallel parker, and have been known to parallel park six times before breakfast!
18. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? I've developed the habit of sleeping with one of Sam's hand knitted baby blankets (a gift when he was born) wrapped around my shoulders. Occasionally I am honored by Josef's decision to sleep next to me. This doesn't happen often, but lately he's been snuggling up every night, I think because he wanted to be sure he got more than one mention in this survey!
19. STORMS--COOL OR SCARY? Worrying. I'm always so glad when they come to an end and the sun breaks through in an Emily Dickinson kind of way.
20. WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? A green 1979 Dodge Dart (this was in 1976) with a manual transmission on the steering column -- if you can believe it! That was really way back when!
21. WHAT DO YOU DRIVE NOW? A red 1994 Oldsmobile station wagon with a backward facing way-back -- yes, this IS your father's Oldsmobile!
22. IF YOU COULD MEET OR SEE ONE PERSON? One of my once & future Messiahs -- Jesus or King Arthur or Princess Diana.
23. FAVORITE MOVIE? I'd have to pick one of the holiday classics: MIRACLE ON 34th STREET, WHITE CHRISTMAS, the musical SCROOGE, THE HOUSE WITHOUT A CHRISTMAS TREE, Truman Capote's A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, RUDOLPH, THE SNOWMAN, CHRISTMAS VACATION, HOME ALONE.
24. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Yes, and asparagus stems also!
25. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED, WHAT WOULD IT BE? My long ago dream was to design and edit beautiful literary artistic greeting cards, but it turns out that so many others had that dream as well, so I have become content with purchasing their products instead. I also have a happy memory of teaching a couple of wonderful literature classes that involved a lot of talking and not a lot of grading. I wouldn't mind doing that again, but I'm afraid that's thinking inside the box because it's something I've already done before. My DREAM job, hmmmmm? I'll have to think some more on that one.
26. EVER BEEN IN LOVE? Remember that lovely Rita Coolidge song, "All Time High": "In my time I've said these words before, but now I realize my heart was telling me lies. . . . " Well, over the years, my heart has told me many lies; however, it was right a time or two! Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies!
27. IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? Well, I can be such a misery and a closet pessimist that I fear I have to say half empty. But the Dalai Lama and various other spiritual advisors continually show me that this is not wholesome path to take, so I try to count my blessings and believe in what I can -- Christmas, the miracle of oxygen, the precession of the equinoxes.
28. FAVORITE T.V. SHOWS? I can only answer ALL MY CHILDREN. Anything else would seem disloyal. The only other show that I can remember watching as faithfully as AMC was SISTERS, but it's off the air now.
29. DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? Yes, of course, having been raised back in the days when they used to say about Einstein, "But can he type?"
30. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED? One of those big cardboard art portfolios, containing some old scrap books. And also, a good sized roaming herd of dust buffalo . . . you know, as in, "Give me a home where the buffalo roam"? Well, in my case, that's "where the DUST buffalo roam." Haha.
31. FAVORITE NUMBER? I never thought about this one. I guess I have a fondness for a nice even dozen.
32. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Diving and figure skating.
33. CURRENT MOVIES: Gerry & I have just recently seen two very good, thought-provoking, understated British films at the cinema: Lawless Heart & Spider
34. HELPFUL ADVICE: Going through Dr. Christine's list of "What Women Should Have" step by step will take you out of your cynical mood [not sure anymore what I was referring to here]. Listening to in the car: Dr. Julie White's Self - Esteem for Women.
Additional quizzes . . .Possible ~ Plausible ~ Improbable
Class of '75
Challenges: Special K & Ten Favs
"You're Out Walking"
"Take This Quiz!"
["Monday: Pop Quiz"]
"Talk to Me"