The Proust Questionnaire, popularized by the French essayist and novelist Marcel Proust, is said to reveal a person’s true nature through a series of probing (i.e., nosy) questions. In the hot seat today: Meg Eden, author of the YA novel, POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST (California Coldblood/Rare Bird Lit, June 13, 2017).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Having an idea for a story or poem, and feeling it come out through my fingers. Feeling that “aha” moment where I discover something new as I write.
What is your greatest fear? Wasting my life—failing to be a witness, both as a Christian and as a writer at large.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? When my obsessive efficiency goes into hyper-drive. My husband will tell me I should relax, and I’m like: What’s that?
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Inefficiency. Commuting on the 495 Beltway has only made the deploring worse!
Which living person do you most admire? Johnna Schmidt, director of the Jimenez-Porter Writer’s House at the University of Maryland. She’s the one that made me want to teach creative writing in the first place. The way she loves her students, and creates such a safe, engaging space, made me realize the unique opportunity instructors have to call their students to greatness.
What is your greatest extravagance? Travel. I love international travel, and want to go everywhere. Also, eating out, especially Thai.
What is your current state of mind? A bit frantic! I’m currently living the life of an adjunct professor, and am teaching at several different places. But I’m loving every minute of it!
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? A clean and orderly house.
On what occasion do you lie? When I write. 🙂
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Like.” It started out as an ironic commentary on our culture’s use of filler words, but now I can’t stop.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Unicycling. My dad’s tried to teach me a few times, but I can never let go of the mailbox. Before I was born, he used to ride a 14 footer, or something wild like that. He had to get on it by climbing through a window on the second floor. I imagine it’s so freeing, like flying, to not need handlebars or anything.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Getting married to my amazing husband, Vince!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Is a Pokémon an acceptable answer? And by that, I mean Charizard specifically.
What is your most treasured possession? I’m a sentimental semi-hoarder, so quite a few things could contend for this title. I think the winner is a terrycloth Pikachu my father brought back from Japan on one of his first trips—when I was about eight.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Getting caught in myself.
What do you most value in your friends? Their faithfulness, and loving me despite my heart’s ugliness.
Who are your favorite writers? C.S. Lewis, Tony Evans, Naomi Shihab Nye, Patricia Smith, ZZ Packer, Kelly Luce, Ocean Vuong, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Haruki Murakami, Shuntaro Tankiawa, Kazuo Ishiguro…I could keep going!
Who is your hero of fiction? Anne of Green Gables. I grew up looking to her as a fictional sibling.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Probably Jane Austen and her people watching / snarky writing about society.
What is your motto? I had no idea how to answer this, so I asked my husband, who said I quote Ecclesiastes a lot, saying: “Nothing is new under the sun.” Which is true, really. The things we do might look a little different, but really we’re all human and keep doing the same things over and over again.
An instructor at the University of Maryland, MEG EDEN’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, RHINO and Gargoyle. She has four poetry chapbooks. Follow Meg on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.