My friend Kimi, who was once my rebellious daughter in an awful play, keeps a blog (here's the link). It’s fun to have fellow bloggers who inspire you to keep at what you do. She passed this questionnaire on to me and challenged me to answer all of the questions. It’s a list of questions Marcel Proust suggests to help develop a story character. Here goes nothing!
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting with my feet dangling in a creek.
2. What is your greatest fear?
Probably that I am both “too much” (too passionate, too crazy, too loud, too wordy) and “not enough” (not smart enough, not mature enough, not pretty enough). I think most of my insecurities begin at this intersection.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My dreams and my actions don’t line up. I love other cultures, but I’m not courageous enough to travel. I love being active, but have a hard time walking across the street to the gym. I love the Lord, but I don’t dare to be bold enough to share him with the people around me when it’s inconvenient.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Exclusion of any kind, whether it’s a tight, inflexible clique or an inside joke that isn’t explained. I value hospitality highly, which might be why I’m hyper-aware when it isn’t given to me.
5. Which living person do you most admire?
Hilary Clinton. My grandparents. Anne and Becky.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Not big extravagances, but many tiny ones, which is just as bad – curly hair products, perfume, sleeping in, candles, Chick-fil-a on my way back from working at the pool.
7. What is your current state of mind?
Mellow and thankful. I just sipped French press coffee out of a teacup and read the Times in the sunshine. GLORIOUS.
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Having good taste. How dull.
9. On what occasion do you lie?
When cashiers, waiters, and other such people I have no relationship with ask me how I’m doing and I decide not to tell them I’m in the middle of a life crisis.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
That I’m so beautiful it’s unfair to everyone else.
11. Which living person do you most despise?
Joseph Kony. Other oppressive dictators. Any boy or girl who has broken the heart of a friend.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Having really crazy and beautiful dreams for his life that have been born out of his deep relationship with God. (Being the opposite of spiritually narrow-minded.)
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Same as #12
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Like,” “literally,” “legitimately,” “so pumped,” “derp”
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
JESUS, LOVER OF MY SOUL! He is my everything!
16. When and where were you happiest?
On a road trip down the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had packed lots of good books and was probably about 14 or 15, which is a bizarre and magical time to be a girl. Half the trip I was staring out the windows at trees and daydreaming beautiful stories about fairies and princesses and love. I was soaking up all those books and projecting them into the scenery. (Puberty is weird.) We went to this place called Graveyard Falls right at the golden time of day, before sunset. I remember sitting in a section of the creek, looking at the mountains and a huge waterfall before me, the water rushing around my body and through my fingers, the golden light all around, and a thin mist hanging over the valley that the stream cut through. I think I cried. (When you’re a girl and you’re 14 and you read too many books and have too many hormones, everything makes you cry.) All my best memories are associated with running water. Whenever I think about heaven, which is a lot, I imagine rivers and streams and waterfalls.
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
Playing drums, preferably for a riot grrl band. I also have always wanted to be on a roller derby team but don’t think I would be any good.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d love to be really, really internally motivated. I’m much more motivated by community goals than individual ones, so when I’m living life just by myself a lot of the time, I don’t get as much done. It drives me crazy.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The lasting relationships in my life, although that’s only 50% me. Writing a novel. Graduating college. The internships and jobs I’ve done well.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
21. Where would you most like to live?
I have no idea. I’m torn between the city and the woods. It’s a deep inner conflict.
22. What is your most treasured possession?
My journals. And the only pair of jeans that actually fit me well. And my van Vanessa, but she doesn’t technically belong to me. (Emotionally, absolutely.)
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being completely alone for a very long season of time.
24. What is your favorite occupation?
DOLPHIN TRAINER. Or tour guide in some exotic location like Botswana. I dream of owning a bookstore or a café.
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
My giant hair, or the animated way I speak and gesture. My strong (but easily changed) opinions.
26. What do you most value in your friends?
The person, the friendship itself, and their pursuit of me as a person. I never feel so loved as when I’m surprised by a letter or a call from someone important to me.
27. Who are your favorite writers?
Madeleine L’Engle. Lousia May Alcott.
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
The fictional character I am most like is Jo March, obviously. And she is a hero.
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
31. What are your favorite names?
Autumn. Felicity. Willow. Other sundry hipsterdom.
32. What is it that you most dislike?
Many things. I hate dumb conversations about dating and “your dream man.” Like…stop. Please. There are so many more important things to talk about. I hate pasta salad. I hate the sound of people chewing ice, so much so that I shuddered writing that. I hate slow drivers. I hate being told to calm down. I hate canned fruit. I hate Relient K’s new album. I hate it when people touch or run their fingers through my hair. I am the most cheerfully negative person I know.
33. What is your greatest regret?
That I didn’t start journaling earlier in my life.
34. How would you like to die?
Quickly. Preferably Jesus takes me back before then, but if I do die, I’d rather die quickly (heart attack, getting shot, in my sleep, etc.) than slowly (drowning/falling/in a fire, etc.) I've given some thought to this because I’m very comfortable with the idea of death, which I think is important in order to live well. Other than birth, death is the most normal thing in the world, and thanks to Jesus, I have nothing to be afraid of.
35. What is your motto?
“Plus Ultra.” It means loosely in Latin, “beyond this, there is more.” There’s a myth behind it that I won’t bore you with now, but it basically means that whenever I think I’m at a resting place or a dead end – whenever I think I have no further to journey – God will pull me deeper in, into his story, into more challenges, into growth and beauty and change and heartbreak and himself. It's the idea of hoping in the Lord, a Lord who is always making me more like himself.
Grab the Proust questionnaire here and link yours in the comments – I’d love to hear your answers!