Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Stacey May Fowles

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The Proust Questionnaire, with Stacey May Fowles

Stacey May Fowles is the author of two novels, Be Good (Tightrope, 2007) and Fear of Fighting (Invisible, 2008), and the co-editor of the anthology She’s Shameless: Women Write About Growing Up, Rocking Out and Fighting Back (Tightrope, 2009). She is currently the publisher of Shameless magazine, the circulation director of The Walrus and is working on her third novel.

In her answers to The Proust Questionnaire, Stacey May lets us in on her greatest extravagance, her favourite occupations, what she values most about her friends and more.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" personality.

What is your dream of happiness?
More time. More sleep. More passion. More martinis. More puppies.

What is your idea of misery?
A life completely without vices.

Where would you like to live?
In a state of denial. Or San Fransisco. Maybe both.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
An abandonment of what is “manly.”

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
An abandonment of what is “lady-like.”

What is your chief characteristic?
Not thinking before I speak. I’m not wearing underwear.

What is your principal fault?
Impatience. This questionnaire is long.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Entire meals eaten, entire seasons of television watched, entire days spent completely in bed.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
You name it, I’ll tolerate it. Wait, maybe that’s my principal fault, actually.

What do you value most about your friends?
That their hearts are true, that they’re pals and confidants.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Smugness. A lack of perspective. Passive aggressiveness. Rigid, immovable opinions. A lack of empathy. A failure to listen. I could go on.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
I’ve got a lack of willpower, a short attention span, and I can never tell when it’s time to go home.

What is your favourite virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?
A prize fighter. Or a hairdresser. Or a unicorn.

What would you like to be?
A prize fighter. Or a hairdresser. Or a unicorn.

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favourite flower?
Spider mums.

What is your favourite bird?
Birds kind of freak me out, actually.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Joan Didion and Bret Easton Ellis

Who are your favourite poets?
Zoe Whittall, Pablo Neruda and Nicole Brossard.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
I’m more of an anti-hero kind of girl.

Who are your heroes in real life?
People who are not afraid to fight for what they believe in and want, and who do it with grace and humility.

Who is your favourite painter?
Tara McPherson

Who is your favourite musician?
Stephen Patrick Morrissey

What is your favourite food?
Mac and Cheese from scratch.

What is your favourite drink?
Earl Grey Tea, or anything with a sugared rim.

What is it you most dislike?
Mean, rude haters who have no good reason to be so except that they're jerks. They're easy to find because most of them are on the internet. (I was going to say “The National Post Editorial Board” here but I’m trying to work on the whole not thinking before I speak thing.)

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
I’ve always wanted to be musical in some way. I’m a total audiophile geek, but I’ve never been able to make an instrument not sound like a dying animal, and I sing like Maureen Tucker.

How do you want to die?
Painlessly, with enough time to burn all the letters, clean up the hard drive, eliminate the evidence.

What is your current state of mind?

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
That, if I could time travel, I’d probably impress my cynical sixteen-year-old self.

What is your motto?
More. Now. Again. Thanks.


Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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