Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Vanessa Grillone

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Vanessa Grillone

Vanessa Grillone is an emerging publishing professional and writer. Her first novel, Twenty-One Truths, is available on Amazon and she maintains a book-centric blog called My Pen, My Voice.

Today Vanessa joins us to answer the Proust Questionnaire. 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" nature.

In her answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Vanessa tells Open Book about a celebrity who isn't responsible for her favourite colour, singing in the shower and a useful new portmanteau to describe her state of mind.

What is your dream of happiness?
Coming home to the smell of Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs cooking on the stove. Then sitting down to dinner with my family, talking, laughing. Then retreating to bed with a book in hand — no interruptions.

What is your idea of misery?
Breaking my right hand or wrist — not being able to write anymore. Or losing my glasses and not being able to see or read, it reminds me of an episode of The Twilight Zone. Or going to my favorite restaurant and waiting 3 hours for a seat.

Where would you like to live?
Toronto. Vancouver. Chicago. New York.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Common sense and the ability to carry a conversation.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?

What is your chief characteristic?
My mom says I’m relentless, my dad says dedicated — I think they’re both right.

What is your principal fault?
Depends on the day, my brother would say stubbornness, my boyfriend would say that I can’t take constructive criticism, I’d say that I hold back and second guess myself a lot.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My car, a cute little Chevy Sonic Hatchback, even though I find it to be more of a necessity than extravagance.

What do you value most about your friends?
Their genuine inclination to want to the best for me, their honesty and their ability to make me take myself lightly.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

What is your favourite virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?
Food critic.

What would you like to be?
A good writer.

What is your favourite colour?
Purple and not because of Bieber.

What is your favourite flower?
Blue roses.

What historical figures do you admire the most?
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Zelda Fitzgerald and Beyonce.

What character in history do you most dislike?
The Wicked Witch of the West.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Dorothy Parker, Anaïs Nin, Charlotte Bronte, Michael Ondaatje, etc....

Who are your favourite poets?
Dorothy Parker -- I don’t pick up poetry often.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
The good guys.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents.

Who is your favourite musician?
The Rat Pack.

What is your favourite food?
Pasta — all kinds of pasta!

What is your favourite drink?

What is it you most dislike?
Not having a plan, or when plans don’t work out.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
I would love to have a good voice, I would love to be able to sing in the shower and not hurt my own ears.

How do you want to die?
Peacefully, with a pen in my hand.

What is your current state of mind?
Confuzzled — confused and puzzled.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Ask me again in five years.

What is your motto?
I really hate to say this but YOLO — you only live once.

Vanessa Grillone (@VanessaGrillone) is a writer from Bolton, Ontario, who recently completed a publicity internship with Random House Canada. Her blog — My Pen, My Voice — is a mix of personal and lifestyle posts, with book reviews thrown in to the mix. Vanessa is also a regular contributor to Chic Darling and Work Story. Her first book, titled My Pen, My Voice, is available now for purchase. Her first novel, titled Twenty-One Truths, is also available for purchase, only on

For more information about Twenty-One Truths please visit Amazon.

Check out all the Proust Questionnaire interviews in our archives.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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