My Proust Questionnaire


If you've ever read Vanity Fair, you'll know The Proust Questionnaire on the back page. It's the first thing I read when I buy the magazine and I answer it in my head every time.

The Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Here are my answers to the Proust Questionnaire:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sitting on the sand staring out to sea on a hot day, thinking about nothing in particular.

What is your greatest fear? Terminal illness while I'm still young.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Procrastination.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? A lack of kindness. Noisy eaters.

Which living person do you most admire? Two dear friends living with terminal illnesses.

What is your greatest extravagance? A beautiful piece of clothing here and there. The Dries Van Noten jacket I bought in January. Not telling how much it cost.

What is your current state of mind? A little overwhelmed. I'm a creative so not necessarily a bad thing.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? (Fake) modesty. Instagram is full of it.

On what occasion do you lie? When people ask how much my Dries Van Noten jacket was.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? Wish I had better teeth.

Which living person do you most despise? Trump/Putin. They're the same person.

What is the quality you most like in a man? When he treats women as equal.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Speaking up.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? "It's Amazing." Well it is!

What or who is the greatest love of your life? I've yet to meet him.

When and where were you happiest? My childhood at home when there was 7 of us (before my sister died). I'm happy now but that time was priceless.

Which talent would you most like to have? Pianist. In Carnegie Hall. 15 minute standing ovation. No fake modesty here.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Maybe not so fiercely independent. Single at 46. You do the math.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? My friendships.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A woman. We men have no idea what women have to put up with.

Where would you most like to live? In a house by the ocean, with open windows day and night.

What is your most treasured possession? My health. Not big on possessions but at a stretch, my new Dries Van Noten jacket.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Seeing a child suffer in any way, physically or emotionally.

What is your favorite occupation? Those I have.

What is your most marked characteristic? A good listener.

What do you most value in your friends? Their listening.

Who are your favorite writers? Pema Chodron, C.S Lewis, L. Frank Baum, Haruki Murakami, Anne Rice (early books).

Who is your hero of fiction? Wonder Woman.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Noah. I like looking after people too.

Who are your heroes in real life? My parents, my 2 friends who are ill, refugees risking their lives to have a new one.

What are your favorite names? Eunbee, Aoife and Odhran - my nieces and nephew.

What is it that you most dislike? When people ignore good advice.

What is your greatest regret? I'm not one for regrets but I do wish I'd gone to my friends Penny and Rob's wedding in New Zealand. I was meant to give a speech. I should have been there. They still love me thankfully.

How would you like to die? Peacefully in my sleep at a grand old age.

What is your motto? 'Onwards!' Where else is there to go?