Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with David Eddie

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The Proust Questionnaire, with David Eddie

Novelist, memoirist, Globe and Mail columnist and self-help guru David Eddie will be one of four featured authors at the inaugural Toronto Literary Salon on April 27th at The Spoke Club. His latest book is Damage Control (McClelland & Stewart).

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.

What is your dream of happiness?
You know what, I’ve got it in my home life: wife = goddess, cute kids, lots of love, and busy but not too busy. Also, I love my work, which is great. Now if I could just make a little more money at it….

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I’ve been poor, it’s not fun; I’ve been sick, it’s not fun; I’ve been lonely, it’s not fun; but I think the worst torture I’ve known is the soul-crushing boredom of punching a clock on a job you hate.

Where would you like to live?
You know, I’m American, and I have in my life kind of lived all over the world: the bottom line is I like Canada best, and specifically Toronto. I spent most of my adult life here, and I’ve always loved both country and city and moreover think especially these days both country and city are really coming into their own.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Strength of character; stoicism; doing what they say they’re going to do; humility; humanity; irony; the ability to laugh at oneself.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Same. Oh, and sanity and common sense.

What is your chief characteristic?
Jesus, I have no idea. Dumbness.

What is your principal fault?
Maybe…cheapness. Though there are a LOT of contenders for this title.

What is your greatest extravagance?
This is why I think cheapness is a fault because I actually don’t mind SELFISHLY spending tons of $$$ on MYSELF. Especially glasses, I’m crazy for glasses and spend a fortune on my Elton John-like collection. Also, fine foods and wine.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
If someone’s interesting I can forgive them almost anything.

What do you value most about your friends?
That they are funny and interesting and chatty. I honestly don’t need them to be “loyal” or any of that other shit.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
My f**king fatness.

What is your favourite virtue?
Humility is in my view the mother and father of all other virtues.

What is your favourite occupation?

What would you like to be?
More rich, less fat.

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favourite flower?
Don’t give a flying f**k about any of them.

What is your favourite bird?
The eagle.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Oscar Wilde.

What character in history do you most dislike?

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Martin Amis, John Fante and Edward Limonov.

Who are your favourite poets?
Shakespeare and Byron.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
John Self in Martin Amis’s Money. The fictional Edward Limonov.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Edward Limonov, the Russian writer mentioned above, is my hero. I want to write a book called My Hero the Anti-Hero about him because he’s a classic anti-hero. But I love him.

Who is your favourite painter?
Van Gogh.

Who is your favourite musician?
Elliott Smith.

What is your favourite food?

What is your favourite drink?

What are your favourite names?
I think maybe Elliott and Lucy.

What is it you most dislike?
Wasting time — especially in a horrible, pointless job meeting, listening to someone in love with the sound of his/her own voice drone and drivel on and on. I swear I can feel my life force trickle out of me and go up thrugh the vents during those meetings.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
To dunk a basketball would be nice. I’m 6’5” and I can’t even dunk, it’s embarassing.

How do you want to die?
By overexerting myself blowing out the candles at my 150th birthday party.

What is your current state of mind?
I guess not bad.

What is your motto?
It’s from tennis great Jimmy Connors: “People don’t seem to understand it’s a damn war out there.”

David Eddie is the author of Chump Change, a novel, and Housebroken, a memoir, both nominated for the Stephen Leacock Award. He also writes extensively for television and magazines, and writes the popular advice column Damage Control for The Globe and Mail. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children. Damage Control: How to tiptoe away from the smoking wreckage of your latest screw-up with a minimum of harm to your reputation (McClelland & Stewart), is his latest book.

For more information about Damage Control please visit the McClelland & Stewart website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Keep checking back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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