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 (aka nosy) questions. It the hot seat today, Brooks Benjamin, author of the contemporary MG, MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS (Random House Children’s Books, 2016).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Knowing that the people (and animals) I love are perfectly happy.
What is your greatest fear? Learning that I’ve caused the people (and animals) I love harm.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My anxiety and depression. I’m not sure if those are traits, really, but they’re definitely unwanted presences.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Intolerance.
Which living person do you most admire? My wife, for being the most compassionate, loving, and wonderful person on the planet. Also for her ability to put up with me.
What is your greatest extravagance? Books, pizza, and coffee. Always.
What is your current state of mind? Uneasy… 😕
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? The need to always be heard, especially when it’s time to listen.
On what occasion do you lie? Too often when people ask me how I’m doing.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Jeez; dadgummit; sorry; LeeLoo, stop licking your butt.
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I’d love to be able to play the banjo or fiddle. Also to teach my dog to stop licking her butt.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having the courage to send out that first query letter.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’d love to come back as a bird. Probably a crow, because they’re such intelligent creatures!
What is your most treasured possession? My dad had this old plastic mug he’d always drink water out of while we were working in the field, when I was a kid. It’s older than I am, and I still use it today.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Knowing what you love, and seeing what you want, and feeling like there’s no point in fighting for it anymore.
What do you most value in your friends? I value their desire to laugh and to make others laugh, too.
Who are your favorite writers? Katherine Paterson, Stephen King, Judy Blume, Shel Silverstein, Sheri S. Tepper, and so many more!
Who is your hero of fiction? Probably Jason Reynolds, because he’s never not pouring his entire heart into connecting readers to his and other people’s stories. Also Pendleton Ward, for creating Adventure Time.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Whoa, I’ve never thought about this. I honestly don’t know if there is one I identify with, so I’ll pick one from the future: Simon Moodley from Canada in the year 2023.
What is your motto? Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.
BROOKS BENJAMIN lives in Tennessee with his wife and their incredibly spoiled dog. MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS (Random House Children’s Books, 2016) is his first novel. Find Brooks on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.