Monday, April 20, 2015

William Answers Vanity Fair's Version of the Proust Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A clean house.

What is your greatest fear?

A car crash.

Which living person do you most admire?

Sister Mary Elizabeth of the Lesotho, a Carmelite nun whom I met in San Francisco, 2001.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My thoughtlessness and insensitivity.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


What do you dislike most about your appearance?

The scowl lines between my eyebrows.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A young, secret admirer whom I too often needle because I in turn am enamored of him.

When and where were you happiest?

At the Azuma family's kitchen table during dinner, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, 1995.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to perform feats of higher mathematics.

What is your current state of mind?


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be wealthier.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being a good friend and a good son.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?

An old Chinese woman who lives by a river in a mud hut -- one who wears quilted jackets and keeps a pig.

What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery?

Having betrayed a loved one.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

A sense of humor.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?


What do you most value in your friends?

Their utter lack of reluctance in confronting me about my faults and misdeeds.

Who are your favorite writers?

Carl Sagan, Sawako Ariyoshi, Francois Sagat, Vladimir Nabokov, Gene Wolfe, Charlotte Brontë.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Smilla Jaspersen.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Special forces.

What is it that you most dislike?


How would you like to die?

Causing trouble.

What is your motto?

Semper lepidus.