I came across this Proust questionnaire that Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes) answered. He admits on the questionnaire itself that he was “jaded” at the time. So I decided to try answering the questions myself, or at least some updated ones I found on Vanity Fair.
__1.__What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Not having anything I have to do and being free to do only what I want to do.
__2.__What is your greatest fear?
Oddly specific, but it’s being trapped in a car that has gone into the water.
__3.__What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
__4.__What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Similar selfishness. Really it’s the way others don’t take anyone but themselves into account.
__5.__Which living person do you most admire?
. . . ??? I’m not sure I admire anyone.
__6.__What is your greatest extravagance?
Being a writer.
__7.__What is your current state of mind?
__8.__What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Exercising and eating healthy.
__9.__On what occasion do you lie?
To spare feelings. Not lie, exactly, but soften the truth.
__10.__What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My jawline. I think I will want a facelift some day.
__11.__Which living person do you most despise?
__12.__What is the quality you most like in a man?
__13.__What is the quality you most like in a woman?
A lack of jealousy.
__14.__Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
__15.__What is your favorite color and flower?
__16.__When and where were you happiest?
London. Just wandering the city on my own.
__17.__Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to draw.
__18.__If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My dependency on others.
__19.__What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Raising good kids. (I hope.) If that fails, at least I’ve written some decent books.
__20.__If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A cat of some sort.
__21.__Where would you most like to live?
__22.__What is your most treasured possession?
__23.__What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
__24.__What is your favorite occupation?
__25.__What is your most marked characteristic?
__26.__What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty. I like people who value me as much as I value them.
__27.__Who are your favorite writers?
Tana French, Kate Morton, Ben Aaronovitch, Shakespeare, Jane Austen
__28.__Who is your hero of fiction?
Peter Stoller. I know I created him, but that makes him my hero.
__29.__Which historical figure do you most identify with?
No idea. Which is impressive since I love history. But at the moment I’m drawing a blank.
__30.__Who are your heroes in real life?
The everyday ones: police, firefighters, etc. People who do real work that matters.
__31.__What are your favorite names?
Alexander, Evangeline, Robert, Elizabeth
__32.__What is it that you most dislike?
__33.__What is your greatest regret?
Missed opportunities. So many times I said “no” when I should have said “yes.”
__34.__How would you like to die?
I wouldn’t. But if I have to, in my sleep, please.
__35.__What is your motto?
I like the line from the Tabitha’s Secret song: “All is nothing in moderation.”