Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Liz Worth

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October 1, 2015 -

We are so excited to welcome Liz Worth as our October 2015 writer-in-residence! Liz is an acclaimed multi-genre writer, and her latest book is No Work Finished Here: Rewriting Andy Warhol (BookThug).

No Work Finished Here is a poetic re-imagining of Andy Warhol's iconic a, A Novel, in which Liz takes Warhol's words and remixes them into original poems. It's a vibrant, utterly creative undertaking that transforms homage to art.

We were thrilled when Liz agreed to answer our version of The Proust Questionnaire — her wit, insight and ballsy approach to writing is a perfect fit for the quirky questionnaire, which gives us a peek into a writer's personality. The Proust Questionnaire wasn't invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries.

Liz tells us about her happy streets, the agony of the dress code and a very admirable "official witch".
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What is your dream of happiness?

For me happiness comes in the simplest ways.

The CNE is a dream of happiness. Or finding a really great piece of vintage clothing at a thrift store. Or finally finding a record I’ve been looking for.

Walking around on one a favourite street, like Roncesvalles or Queen, on a sunny day, with a coffee in hand and a head full of ideas can be pretty perfect.

What is your idea of misery?

Working a job with a strict dress code. Or being told how to dress for any reason at all. My body and how I cover it is under no one’s control except my own.

Where would you like to live?

In California. I’ve never been there, but it calls to me.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?

Kindness, confidence, an open mind, and a good sense of humour.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?

Kindness, confidence, an open mind, and a good sense of humour.

What is your chief characteristic?

My creativity.

What is your principal fault?

Allowing myself to be chronically over-extended.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Solo trips to New York City.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?

People who interrupt too much. But I don’t know how much longer I will continue to tolerate this. It’s pretty annoying.

What do you value most about your friends?

Our differences. They all bring different perspectives and experiences to my life.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

I find it nearly impossible to be around anyone who brings too much alpha dog energy to a situation. If someone is taking up too much space, sucking up all the energy and attention in a room or within a conversation, I check out asap.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

I repeatedly try to do too much in one day, and that I never, ever seem to be able to accept that we have “tomorrow” in our vocabulary for a reason.

What is your favourite virtue?

Compassion.

What is your favourite occupation?

Anyone who works at a store or a restaurant or a coffee shop. I have mad respect for service workers. Those are some hard jobs, some of the least respected, and some of the most important in our daily lives.

What would you like to be?

I already want to be a writer, and a tarot reader, and I am doing those now. Next I want to be an astrologer, but keep working with words and tarot, too.

What is your favourite colour?

Red.

What is your favourite flower?

Orchids.

What is your favourite bird?

Sparrows.

What historical figure do you admire the most?

It’s hard to pick just one. Most of my heroes are cult heroes. At this moment in time I am taking a lot of inspiration from Louise Huebner, who died recently. She was the “official witch of L.A.” and put some amazing books and spoken word albums. It was like everything she did was a spell. I admire her grasp of the art of manifestation and willpower.

What character in history do you most dislike?

Whoever invented workplace dress codes.

Who are your favourite prose authors?

Right now it’s S.P. Somtow, Tanith Lee, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Daniel Jones, and Poppy Z. Brite. Poppy Z. Brite and Daniel Jones never leave my list, though.

Who are your favourite poets?

Lynn Crosbie, Jim Carroll, and Patti Smith are always up there.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?

Ponyboy from The Outsiders. Otherwise, I tend toward anti-heroes.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My friend Corpusse. My favorite business coach, Erika Lyremark, who makes business badass. Danielle LaPorte. Andy Warhol. Lydia Lunch. People who make their own rules.

Who is your favourite painter?

Salvador Dali.

Who is your favourite musician?

Robert Smith.

What is your favourite food?

Peanut butter.

What is your favourite drink?

Coffee.

What are your favourite names?

Gloria, Dorian, Sandy, Damian, David, and Eric.

What is it you most dislike?

The way humans make things so hard for each other. Whether we are trying to control each other through judgment, fear or scarcity tactics, outdated rules, shame, exclusion, isolation, or relentlessly competitive and harsh job markets that uphold the illusion of opportunity while only staying true to a company’s bottom line, it all comes down to the same thing: we could all be kinder, gentler, and do better.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?

I would love to be more coordinated so I could bust out some rad dance moves.

How do you want to die?

Empty of everything and anything I could ever create.

What is your current state of mind?

Optimistic.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

I don’t think I’ve reached it yet.

What is your motto?

Speak life.


Liz Worth is a Toronto-based author. Her first book, Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond, was the first to give an in-depth account of Toronto’s early punk scene. She has also released a poetry collection called Amphetamine Heart and a novel called PostApoc. You can reach her at http://www.lizworth.com, on Facebook or Twitter.

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