Today’s journal writing prompts come from Marcel Proust.
Some background: In the 19th century, French writer Marcel Proust stumbled upon a questionnaire called, “An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, ect.” Proust answered the questionaire numerous times over his life. This list of questions came to be known as the Proust Questionnaire. It has been used to uncover one’s true characteristics and emotions ever since.
Answering unexpected questions is a great tool for self-awarness, and so I encourage everyone to do this questionnaire (reduced down by a few questions). I hope you’ll share some of your answers here!
1. Your most marked characteristics?
I am passionate and creative. I have a huge affinity for justice in all its forms. I am a doer, teacher, and thinker. And I am overearnest and too often overengaged.
2. The quality you most like in a man?
Authenticity, vulnerability, self-awareness, a healthy sense of both reverence and irreverence, a sense of humor
3. The quality you most like in a woman?
authenticity, self-awareness, a healthy sense of reverence and irreverence, a sense of humor
4. What do you most value in your friends?
My closest friends are unabashedly who they are. They can think outside themselves, have a penchant for justice, are thoughtful, and funny.
5. What is your principle defect?
I really want people to be who they are– and am exhausted– visibly so (my transparency really is a defect; I wish that I had more of a poker face)– by charades.
6. What is your favorite occupation?
Teaching (and by that I really meaning learning because I learn so much more than I teach)
7. What is your dream of happiness?
Living passionately and truly every day while making the choices I want and need to make– not having to do things simply because of expectation or out of someone else’s sense of my obligation.
8. What, to your mind, would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Giving one’s self away until you no longer know where you end and someone else begins.
9. What would you like to be?
an empowerer: through books, activism, friendships, and parenting
10. In what country would you like to live?
Italy– specifically Tuscany.
11. What is your favorite color?
12. What is your favorite flower?
For years, gerber daisies and tulips, but I am fairly wild about zinnias and hydrangeas these days.
13. What is your favorite bird?
What a random question. Except I have answers because I have been to the Trinidadian rain forest and there are some sweet birds there. Here are the blue-crowned Mot Mot, the blue-gray Tanager, and the Magnificent Frigatebird.
14. Who are your favorite prose writers?
Too many to even count but here are some fiction writers that were my early loves: Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Jeannette Winterson.
15. Who are your favorite poets?
Mary Oliver, Kim Addonizio, Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks.
16. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Ishmael in Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
17. Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?
Harriet from Harriet the Spy
18. Who are your favorite composers?
Bono, Michael Stipe, the women of Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bob Marley, Eminem, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers
19. Who are your favorite painters?
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Georgia O’Keefe
20. Who are your heroes in real life?
my parents, my students, teachers, nurses
21. What is it you most dislike?
injustice, selfishness, bullying, poverty
22. What natural gift would you like to possess?
a decent singing voice
23. How would you like to die?
quietly after many, many years
24. What is your present state of mind?
externally busy, internally peaceful
25. To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
my sweet tooth
26. What is your motto?
We too often love things and use people when we should love people and use things.