Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with August C. Bourré

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The Proust Questionnaire, with August C. Bourré

August C. Bourré is a Northern writer, blogger, former editor and jack of all trades doing his best to make ends meet in the big city. He runs the literary blog vestige.org. In his answers to the Proust Questionnaire, August lets us in on his dream of happiness and his principal fault and tells us about a bird named Sam and much 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.
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What is your dream of happiness?
A comfortable, above-ground apartment, enough money to be free of the constant anxiety I feel about it, time enough to read and write what I want and an editor sympathetic to my goals and my aesthetic. And since we’re in the land of leprechauns and unicorns, there’s a couple of folks I’m estranged from that it would be good to have back in my life.

What is your idea of misery?
I’m within a hair’s breadth of living it, so I’d really rather not tempt fate.

Where would you like to live?
A better apartment in my current neighbourhood would be perfect. I love it here.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Loyalty, mercy, intelligence.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Honesty, loyalty, intelligence.

What is your chief characteristic?
I have a reputation amongst my friends for being preternaturally unlucky.

What is your principal fault?
It’s a tie! I’m horribly pessimistic and far too willing to talk about personal things I should probably keep to myself.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My massive private library.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Lack of curiosity about how the world around them works.

What do you value most about your friends?
I have the most loyal, generous friends in the world. They’re amazing.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Selfishness.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
Pessimism.

What is your favourite virtue?
Honesty.

What is your favourite occupation?
Nothing beats writing, though I haven’t done much of that for money.

What would you like to be?
A novelist.

What is your favourite colour?
Grey.

What is your favourite flower?
Johnny Jump-Ups (aka Heartsease aka Viola tricolor)

What is your favourite bird?
When I was a kid there was a parrot named Sam that lived in a glass booth in the corner of a local restaurant. Sam is my favourite bird. Not parrots in general, just Sam.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
I have no idea. Elizabeth I, maybe?

What character in history do you most dislike?
Can I just roll up all the evil, murderous bastards like Hitler and Stalin into one and call it a day?

Who are your favourite prose authors?
AS Byatt, Robertson Davies, Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner… how long can this list be? There’s too many.

Who are your favourite poets?
Wallace Stevens, e.e. cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Anne Sexton, Robert Browning.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Atticus Finch (reminds me of my grandfather), Russ Littlebury, Ray Tatum.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandfather, Johnny and June Carter Cash (we should all love so strong), Jon Spencer, Robertson Davies and an ex named Julianne who would be shocked to find her name on any such list.

Who is your favourite painter?
Gustav Klimt.

Who is your favourite musician?
Johnny Cash.

What is your favourite food?
Cheese and potato perogies, boiled then pan-fried in butter, with bacon, fried onions and sour cream.

What is your favourite drink?
Coca-Cola

What are your favourite names?
Lisa, Sarah, Rebecca, Jessica, Chloé – I don’t have favourite men’s names.

What is it you most dislike?
Dishonesty.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
I wish I could sing and play the guitar like an old-school bluesman.

How do you want to die?
I don’t.

What is your current state of mind?
Anxious, stressed about money, a touch lonely. Same old, same old, really.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Having my work see print.

What is your motto?
Patience and simplicity.
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Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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