Since July 1993, the back page of Vanity Fair has been devoted to the Proust Questionnaire, in which a noteworthy person answers a series of personal questions. The questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust (1871–1922), the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Each moment I am alive, I just may not always see it.
2. What is your greatest fear?
To be falsely accused.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I do not deplore any quality, characteristic or part of myself.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I don’t deplore another’s traits. I accept and learn from them.
5. Which living person do you most admire?
Everyone I encounter, it takes an enormous amount of courage to chose to be alive.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
7. What is your current state of mind?
I am home, the most peaceful state I know.
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
With the exception of gratitude, all virtues are overrated.
9. On what occasion do you lie?
On fewer occasions than I once did. When I am unable to accept the truth in myself, not because of its consequences.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Only that I still give it attention.
11. Which living person do you most despise?
Those who have the power and opportunity to improve life for all humanity, to end wars, and famine but choose to do nothing.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
A connection with his anima.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
A very strong connection with her anima.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I don’t know that I overuse them but the words and phrases I use the most are “Thank you” and “I love you.”
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The “what” would be this life. The “who” would be everyone I have ever loved from whom I learned more about love than I thought I knew.
16. When and where were you happiest?
Yesterday, today, here, now, in a lover’s arms, and the day is not over.
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
Just being me. I have gotten pretty good at it.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being here, alive.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
This is it. I won’t be back as either a person or a thing.
21. Where would you most like to live?
Wherever I am, hopefully warm.
22. What is your most treasured possession?
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Loss of a loved one.
24. What is your favorite occupation?
Having no occupation.
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
Being true to myself.
26. What do you most value in your friends?
The truth, straight up.
27. Who are your favorite writers?
Henry Miller, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Marie Corelli, Rumi, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Robert Bly, Anäis Nin, whomever I am reading at the moment.
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
I don’t have heroes.
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
I still don’t have heroes.
31. What are your favorite names?
Although I am a poet, I prefer not to name things.
32. What is it that you most dislike?
Man’s inhumanity to life.
33. What is your greatest regret?
“I always thought I’d see her, one more time, again.” The only regret I have in this life is that I did not.
34. How would you like to die?
Totally aware, “joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”
35. What is your motto?
I Am Here!