Proustian Questionnaire / by D.M. Jerman

... I guess M.P. was the first to make this famous. He completed it a couple times in a French parlor/roundtable-type setting. I don't know why I'm attracted to it, because I don't usually go for this tripe. Vanity Fair put out a book of celebs answers to most of these. Supposing it's the psychological complexity found in the simplicity I'm drawn to. But that statement could also describe one's attraction to astrological projections...


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Peace in the body and in the mind. Total connexion with surroundings. Complete coalescence of meditation with environment. Enlightenment. Realized immersion.

What is your greatest fear?
Used to be that one of my limbs would get cut off. I guess now it's unattractiveness. That I will be perceived physically as ugly or repulsive.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Fear! Lack of confidence.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Laziness. Lack of motivation to do something they clearly state they'd like to do.

Which living person do you most admire?
Michael Hood. And his wife Kitty. They are a dramaturge/director and a writer, respectively, and they've done A LOT of work to get where they are. They care.

What is your favorite occupation?
Looking at art. Reading.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Miles Davis said "the notes you don't play are just as important." Just about anyone who edited out enough of the world to preserve their own singular eccentricities.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
That they would all be better listeners, and also share more of their findings about the world with one another. We could be closer, in other words.

What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue?
Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori.

What and who are the greatest loves of your life?
What is writing. Who is boyfriend. But hey, Prose Before Bros.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My butt could use some work.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I seem to radiate a weird-seriousness. Physically: lips, tattoos.

Which living person do you most despise?
When I was young, my father. Now it's anyone in a car who purposefully incapacitates themselves with alcohol, a cell phone, etc.

If you could choose, what would you return as after you die?
A solar panel, or a tree.

On what occasion do you lie?
When it doesn't matter.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes. Alcohol. Air travel. Not stopping for lights on a bicycle.

What is your current state of mind?
Steady. Content.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Courage, which usually takes the form of decisiveness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
An agreeable confidence, which might better be described as poise.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
So, Um, Well, Potentially, I'll tell you what, Cha/Tja.

When and where were you happiest?
As a kid, in PA in our giant backyard. And in my room listening to rock and making collage, writing or reading or playing guitar.

Who are your favorite writers?
Bukowski, Steinbeck, Clowes, Ware, Butler, Vonnegut, Gibson, Cave, Ballard...

Which talent would you most like to have?
Currently I'd like to perhaps get a little better at riding a unicycle. Or writing better fiction.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Humbert Humbert of Lolita. Protagonist and antagonist simultaneously. Pitiful and still attractive, and terribly full of love... and that name! Nabokov's genius builds a humor into him, but he's deeply human, so it's still hard for him to laugh at the recognized ridiculousness of his own situation even as he'd like to.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Currently my beau, Michael. Love is a heroic act, and he loves me very much. He has the compass and the heart- a capacity for greater and greater deeds lay deep within him like a well.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I think it has yet to happen... but if I kicked off tomorrow, it would be all of my writing.

Where would you like to live?
Maybe somewhere in Europe for awhile. Or Japan.

What is your most treasured possession?
Hard to say. I really like this small belt buckle with my initials on it that used to belong to my dad when he was small, as we have the same initials. Usually it's whatever journal I'm writing in at the time. And a pen! I've never lost a journal mid-way thru working on it, and I don't intend to.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A woman having to give away her child. Or existential dread. Sarte's "Nausea"- knowing this body is a totally inadequate and fallible thing, and because of that it has a kind of sick perfection.

What do you most value in your friends?
Humor! And attentiveness. Inner calm.

What are your favorite names?
Turcannon, Raymond, Josephine, Stella, Dana, Brad.

What is it that you most dislike?
Jealousy. Not that I even really understand it. But that urge to compare yourself to others seems to be a brand of it.

What is your greatest regret?
I know I've had them. But it doesn't seem worth it to assign the mental energy to holding onto them. Dating my last boyfriend is perhaps one, but even that I know had to occur for a certain amount of growth to take place.

How would you like to die?
By suicide. After my grandparents are dead, when I'm ready, when I'm happy and with everything to be thankful for.

What is your motto?
Carpe Diem, baby. No time but now.