Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Whole Truth and Nothing But

Chani at Thailand Gal, one of the people I most admire, has posted this quiz on her blog today. It consists of 35 questions that were originally published in Vanity Fair, and is entitled "Answer as though you are not afraid."

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Understanding my life's purpose and knowing that I am living it.

2. What is your greatest fear?

Not leaving works of art behind when I die, (besides my children.)

3. Which living person do you most admire?

Anyone who is kind, generous, compassionate and loving to all, not just to selected friends and family members

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


5. What is the trait you most deplore in others?


6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


7. On what occasion do you lie?

To avoid hurting feelings. I try hard not to lie out of fear and assumed guilt, as I used to.

8. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

Just that I'm visibly aging. And I dislike that this bothers me as it is inconsistent with my belief that people can be beautiful at any age.

9. What is your greatest regret?

Poor judgments I have made because I lacked the self-confidence to know that I deserved better

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My family

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

Writing great books that enrich the lives of those who read them

12. What is your current state of mind?

I feel as if I'm waiting for something, but I'm not sure what it is.

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a better listener.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Surviving so many dangerous events and unhealthy relationships that I wonder if I am really a cat, and if so, how many of my nine lives I have left.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

I would like to return as a fully-realized person who is always able to help others in the ways they most need.

16. What is your most treasured possession?

The card that accompanied this year's Mother's Day flowers which said, "Thanks for being our mom. Don't ever stop."

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being trapped in a body from which I am unable to express my thoughts to others

18. Where would you like to live?

Living in happy circumstances matters more than geographical location. I have lived in many places and put down roots to some degree in all of them because it is my nature.

19. What is your most marked characteristic?


20. Who are your favorite writers?

Too many to mention, also, it depends on my mood.

21. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

The first was Sidney Carton in "Tale of Two Cities." Later, Maggie Tolliver in "The Mill on the Floss" and Jo in "Little Women," Janie in "Their Eyes Were Watching God." Sayuri in "Memoirs of a Geisha." Mama Day in "Mama Day." Lara in "Doctor Zhivago," Rachel in "Moloka'i," Ellen in "Ellen Foster," Vianne Rocher in "Chocolat," Abel in "House Made of Dawn." Jack Burns in "Until I Find You," Lily in "the Secret Life of Bees," Cal in "East of Eden"

22. Who are your heroes in real life?

Those who manage to overcome obstacles and to become their best selves

23. What is it that you most dislike?

Dishonesty and indifference

24. What is your motto?

Live every day as if it were your last.

25. Favorite Journey?


26. What do you value most in your friends?
Loyalty and compassion

27. Which words or phrases do you must overuse?

Nasty words directed at the wall between my apartment and the one next door

28. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Robin Hood

29. What is your greatest extravagance?


30. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

My family of birth: A greater ability to feel and express love
My present family: Only proximity. I would love to live near all my children.

31. What is your favorite occupation?


32. What is the quality you most like in a woman?


33. What is the quality you most like in a man?


34. How would you like to die?

At a very advanced age but still healthy, mentally and physically, surrounded by my loved ones

35. If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?

A better-realized version of my present entity, one who would be able to fully utilize her talents and make better life choices.


thailandchani said...

Your answer to #35 is so similar to mine. It's not that I dislike being who I am... I just wish I hadn't been too damaged for too many years to really do something worthwhile for others. When I could have been at my prime, energy-wise, I was too drunk to care.

Like the rest of your answers, too. They're very similar to mine. :)

furiousBall said...

i love your answer to #18, so many people put so many hurdles to their own happiness. happy is where you make it

Molly said...

Love your answers. They reveal a lot about you, much of which we already knew from your writing. Waiting for that first book!
May have to have a go at this. Chani always comes up with thought provoking stuff.....

heartinsanfrancisco said...


When I read this on your blog, my first thought was that you had already answered many of the questions for me.

Then I decided to do it anyway, and put your answers out of my mind.

I guess this should not be too surprising.


Where we live is a preference, but HOW we live is a need.


It takes too much energy to be anything but transparent, so I'm not surprised you already had me pegged.

Thanks for your encouragement.

Franki said...

You are a smart lady. I am glad to read you.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

I esp. like numbers 12 and 13. Waiting and listening. They go hand in hand, for me. Which underscores my impatience (another of your answers.) Waiting. For me, that was the key message of Haruki Murakami's "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles."

meno said...

Wow. I bet that took you a while. Those are some great answers. A few of them might be how i too would answer.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Same to you, Sweetie.


I own that book but haven't read it yet.

I have so many faults, but had to narrow it down.


It didn't take very long at all because I wanted to go with my first answers on the theory that they would be more honest.

Now you've got me curious as to which of them you would have answered in the same way.

RED MOJO said...

You answered those questions very thoughtfully, I fully enjoyed reading this. Your awareness is your wisdom.

Josie said...

Oh, this is the Proust Questionnaire, posted on the last page of every Vanity Fair. It's the first section I read. They always interview someone interesting (like you).

I love your answer to No. 6 and also to No. 23. Good answers!

Josie said...

Here is the Proust Questionnaire from the current edition of Vanity Fair. They are interviewing Jasper Johns. You are in good company (or, I should say, he's in good company.)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Awareness is the mother of growth.


I never read Vanity Fair, but I'd like to know more about Jasper Johns.

Thank you for the incredibly flattering remark!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Great answers. Very thought provoking.

the walking man said...

some of the answers would be similar to mine but not most. But it does give a better vision of your vision of a life well led.



Anonymous said...

These were beautiful. Noble, intelligent, warm and wise answers. If I could, I would answer each and every one of those answers in exactly the same way. Exactly.

Have a good day, good Heart.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Great answers! How fun to learn a little bit more about you. Of course, I'm sure you are good enough as you are - and have done plenty.

Maybe next time you could be a dog? ;)

MsLittlePea said...

26 is so me! Loyalty is so important in a friend.

WNG said...

I am completely intimidated by the questions and your answers...so I'm going to do it.

Thanks for being who you are and sharing yourself with us!

Mariposa Speaks said...

Wow, just love all your answers...#1 answer made me think, I have read and re-read your answers and it was like I was reflecting on myself through most of your answers...I just have to try this one...

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I thought they were very incisive questions.


Why don't you answer them, too.. I'd love to see how you feel about these issues.


Well, then, I saved you the trouble. This exercise helped to clarify my real thoughts on these subjects.


Now you're talking. I LOVE dogs.

But what breed shall I be? There are so many to choose from. Maybe a mutt, as most Americans are of mixed ancestry. But it would have to be a pretty mutt. I want to be pretty.

Sweet Pea,

Yup. No loyalty, no friendship. It's non-negotiable, yet so very rare, sadly.


Always do the thing you are afraid to do, unless it's jumping out of a plane without a parachute.

Let me know when you post your answers.


I think that is the universal question.

I often think of a Gauguin painting on which he has written,"Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?"

Craze said...

Just that I'm visibly aging. And I dislike that this bothers me as it is inconsistent with my belief that people can be beautiful at any age.

I'm with ya on that one.

Liz said...

I believe we are all anxiously awaiting your memoir/novel. And I laughed out loud picturing you yelling at the wall. That neighbor will move one of these days. It took five years for mine to move--gosh, that was a day of true celebration!

the walking man said...

Oh yeah by the by I stole this questionnaire from you and blogged it this morning, then Michelle of Michelle's Spells took it from me. so I guess it is a pretty interesting set of questions.



heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yeah. I don't love this about myself, but there are signs that I will soon be a little old lady, which, while better than the alternative, is still not optimal.


Five years is entirely too long to wait.

She has taken to renting the place out to short-timers, which since she is, herself, illegally subletting, makes me angry beyond reason.

On the other hand, I have become quite a fluent cusser.


That's great. I hoped you would. I'll be over to check it out.

seventh sister said...

What makes you think you are not already #15?

Ian Lidster said...

Loved your responses to that classic Proustian questionnaire. I did it a while ago and what I found was that not only were the questions challenging, the exercise taught me a great deal about myself.
As for your responses, they confirm what I've always suspected, and that is that I would like you every bit as much in real life as I do via this mode. We have very similar values systems in place.

Jay said...

I feel like I'm waiting too.

Not sure for what.

Sienna said...

Beautiful and wise person; beautiful life.

PS The seagull police? strewth, flabbergasted.

Follow your bliss, Hearts.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, far to go on that one, but visualizing what I want to be will help.


They are indeed challenging questions. I did it because I thought it would help me to clarify where I stand with myself.


Maybe it's life we're waiting for. They say life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.


I would be blissful if all the bossy people disappeared.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Amen sister.

Your responses are wonderful. I LOVE the yin and yang kitties; made me smile, and made me wonder about the close calls and the lives we burn through - I like to say that my angels have definitely earned their wings.

You are an inspiration lady.

Scarlett & V.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I feel the same about my overworked guardian angels. I imagine them as a tag team, spelling each other so there is always someone on the job.

I keep them very busy.

Chick said...

Great list.

Your heroes of fiction list in amazing.

I just read 'Secret Life of Bees' & feel in love with all those great women.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I loved them all, too. Strong, beautiful and fully grounded. And I've longed to keep bee hives since reading it.

Thank you for your visit!

Angela said...

Absolutely beautiful - as are you. I loved the cat reference and photo. Isn't it a shame that we can't know how many of our lives are left? Perhaps it isn't, which is why you so accurately realized that we should live *every* day as if it were our last. Thank you for these reminders. I needed to hear one of them very much today.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I should have said that living each day as if it were my last is my PREFERRED motto.

Sometimes it's hard to take good advice, even when it's my own.

blooming desertpea said...

I like your answers and the person discribed by them.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Thank you so much! You're very kind.