The Proust Questionnaire with Ronna Bloom
In her answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Ronna tells Open Book Toronto about emotional extravagance, the Chai worth crossing the city for and the perfect pizza.
What is your dream of happiness? Accepting reality.
What is your idea of misery? Pretending it doesn't exist. la la la. And/or my squirrel mind that goes fear/approach/fear/approach in the middle of the night. (Many poems about sleeplessness in my new book.)
Where would you like to live? Toronto, where I live.
What qualities do you admire most in a man? Compassionate use of power.
What qualities do you admire most in a woman? Compassionate use of power.
What is your chief characteristic? I am made of water. I cry a lot.
What is your principal fault? I don't think fear is a fault, but there's a lot of that. When I want something I'm very much wanting it, desirous, maybe even greedy. Perhaps secretively. The flip side is, of course, being abstemious.
What is your greatest extravagance? I like going out for lunch. Also coffee, tea, dinner, coffee, tea, ice cream etc… Mostly, my greatest extravagance is emotional.
What faults in others are you most tolerant of? Nothing’s coming to mind right now about other people’s faults. Why go looking for them?
What do you value most about your friends? Their hearts.
What characteristic do you dislike most in others? Manipulation.
What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself? When I speed up so much I'm not really here.
What is your favourite occupation? Riding my bicycle from the east end across the Bloor Street Viaduct for Chai at Annapurna restaurant.
What would you like to be? Spacious.
What is your favourite colour? Blue.
What is your favourite flower? Rose.
What is your favourite bird? I’m bad at names. All of them. I like the sound of seagulls.
Who are your favourite prose authors? Italo Calvino, W.G Sebald, Marilynne Robinson.
Who are your favourite poets? Raymond Carver (the poet part), Jane Hirshfield, Roo Borson.
Who is your favourite painter? Mark Rothko.
Who is your favourite musician? Beethoven.
What is your favourite food? Pizza (thin crust, goat cheese, spinach and double pepperoni).
What is it you most dislike? Why do you keep asking me this?
What natural talent would you most like to possess? Ballet.
How do you want to die? During a good night’s sleep.
What is your current state of mind? This minute, laughing, answering these questions (I didn't expect to be doing this at 8:00 a.m. in my bathrobe); last night, fretting. Ask me in five minutes.