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, soul-searching questions. In the hot seat today: JESSICA KIM, author of the contemporary MG debut, STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! (Penguin Random House, 2020).
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being balanced.
What is your greatest fear? Being alone.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Overthinking everything, caring too much what other people think of me
What is the trait you most deplore in others? When someone cannot apologize.
Which living person do you most admire? I admire people who march to the beat of their own drum, content to live life on their own terms without regards to society’s expectations
What is your greatest extravagance? Fancy food, fancy pens, buying more journals than I could ever fill.
What is your current state of mind? Perplexed.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Talent: you can just practice a ton.
On what occasion do you lie? “Hello, this is <scammer>. Is Jessica home?” “No, wrong number!”
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? According to my children, “This is a hot mess.”
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? I think it’d be really cool if I was musically talented. Sometimes I watch videos of people jamming with strangers on YouTube and it’s amazing. It’s like they’re having a conversation that transcends language and something about the immediacy of the connection moves me. I wish I could do that.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? This is hard. I’d like to think my greatest achievement is yet to come!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? I’d like to be a meerkat. It’d be fun to live in a mob and dig tunnels. I like that they take turns being the look-out. They seem to be really collaborative and fair.
What is your most treasured possession? This is sad: my phone.It allows me to connect with my loved ones in so many ways: text, Facetime, phone call, tweet, IG.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Giving up/not caring anymore.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.
Who are your favorite writers? Lisa Yee, Meg Medina, Celia Perez, Jason Reynolds.
Who is your hero of fiction? Elasta-Girl from Incredibles 2.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Uh, there’s hardly anyone like me (Asian American) in history books at all. Time to change that!
What is your motto? Just be yourself.
JESSICA KIM writes about Asian American girls finding their way in the world. Before she was an author, Jessica studied education at UC Berkeley and spent ten years teaching third, fourth, and fifth grades in public schools. Like Yumi, Jessica lives with her family in Southern California and can’t get enough Hot Cheetos, BTS, stand-up comedy, and Korean barbecue. Learn more about Jessica on her website and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.