In the comments section of last week’s Proust Questionnaire, which I’ve completed a few times over the years, I was introduced to a new tradition: the Momus Questionnaire. Without further ado.
Have you rebelled against someone else’s dreary expectations of your life, and become something more unexpected? One person’s “dreary expectations” are all the ingredients you’d need for another person’s happy life. I eat my fruits and vegetables, exercise pretty regularly, and drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day. I try to have a few new experiences each week. Whether it’s dreary or unexpected depends on your willingness to match my pace. My routine would probably bore some people to tears where others would see infinite possibilities.
What in your life can you point to and say, like Frankie, ‘I Did It My Way’? For the longest time I wanted to be a writer. I had a stack of notebooks that were half-filled with half-formed characters, plots, and themes. When I looked at the half-filled stack of notebooks, I would think that if I thought harder and worked harder, it would become a fully-filled stack of notebooks, which I could then mold and sculpt into the perfect book. I liked thinking about the hypothetical end product, but it gave me anxiety and a deep existential dread. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to be a writer anymore and I through out the notebooks. I’m just as far along on my novel now as I was then, but I’m a happier person overall.
What creative achievements are you most proud of? This, probably.
If there was one event in your life which really shaped you, made you the person you are today, what would it be? I don’t regret cutting alcohol out of my life. I’m hoping that I continue going to yoga sessions and that they have a similarly transformative effect.
If you had to make a rap song boasting about your irresistible charm and sexiness, how would you describe yourself? A song wouldn’t be able to capture my irresistible charm and sexiness, which speak for themselves. It’s the difference between going to a museum to see the wall-sized landscape paintings from Albert Bierstadt and setting one of the paintings as the background on your iPhone.
Have you ever made material sacrifices because of your integrity? The two are so intertwined that I’m not sure I can answer this question. Is it even a “sacrifice” if freeing yourself of it makes you happier?
Describe a public personality who exemplifies everything you’d like to be yourself, then another public personality who incarnates everything you’d least like to be. I’m happy being myself and perform routine self examinations to make sure I’m not turning into Donald Trump.
If you were an Egyptian pharaoh and had to be buried with a few key objects to take to the next world, what would they be? We don’t know what’s in store, so I’ll be practical: a plastic bucket, a flashlight, and a Swiss Army knife.
Do you have a favorite joke, quotation or proverb? For my favorite quotation it’s a tossup between the old Zen proverb, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour” and Garfield’s “I hate Mondays.”
What’s your favorite portrait (it can be a song, a painting, a film, anything)? The observable universe.