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  • Writer's pictureWade Bell

The Proust Questionnaire, with Wade Bell

In his answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Wade tells Open Book about the brashest flowers, the toughest shade of orange and tiger nuts.

What is your dream of happiness?

Good love, good food, good fortune.

What is your idea of misery?

Enduring the end of a deeply-rooted love affair while undergoing chemotherapy.

Where would you like to live?

Where creativity is the currency and the air is warm.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?


What qualities do you admire most in a woman?


What is your chief characteristic?

Intuitive understanding.

What is your principal fault?


What is your greatest extravagance?


What faults in others are you most tolerant of?

Their foibles and fetishes.

What do you value most about your friends?

Their generosity of spirit.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?


What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

Chronic shyness.

What is your favourite virtue?


What is your favourite occupation?


What would you like to be?

A nineteen year old FI racing car driver.

What is your favourite colour?

Harley-Davidson motorcycle orange.

What is your favourite flower?

Big, brash, uninhibited Bird of Paradise. Also the dandelion, that bright, persistent outlaw.

What is your favourite bird?

Red-winged blackbird.

What historical figure do you admire the most?


What character in history do you most dislike?

Any of the swollen-headed, heart-shriveled psychopathic slaughterers.

Who are your favourite prose authors?

Joyce, Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Hemingway, Orwell, Thomas Wolfe, the early Tom Wolfe, Duras, Bolaño, Monbiot.

Who are your favourite poets?

Chaucer, Donne, Marvell, Olson, Ondaatje, John Newlove, Bob Hogg.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?

The ardent if confused narrator of The House of the Americans. And the anti-heroes: Macbeth, Bloom, Raskolnikov, Fritz from Fritz the Cat, even Bardamu from Journey to the End of the Night.

Who are your heroes in real life?

The healers of the body and the mind.

Who is your favourite painter?

Renoir, Utrillo, Emily Carr, John Kacere.

Who is your favourite musician?

Ana Cristina Werring-Millet, singer and guitarist, of Barcelona, Spain.

What is your favourite food?

Butter tarts.

What is your favourite drink?

Horchata de chufa (made from ground tiger nuts; I have no idea what tiger nuts are but I don’t think any animals suffer from my love of this drink.)

What are your favourite names?

Julia, Jennifer, Piper, Jesse, Abbey, Sarah, Zander, Emma, Cravath.

What is it you most dislike?

Murder by man or state thought of as a solution to anything. And Saran Wrap.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?

Musical ability.

How do you want to die?

With my eyes on something beautiful.

What is your current state of mind?

As usual, overwhelmed.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?


What is your motto?

Look, listen, write.

Also: The mind’s eye sees most clearly through a glaze.

Submitted to Open Book Toronto by Grace, June 5, 2012. View online here.


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