Editor’s note: The Decorah Stories Questionnaire is inspired by the “Proust Questionnaire,” a set of confessional questions popularized in the Victorian era as a parlor game. The “Decorah Stories Questionnaire” contains 24 questions and respondents were asked to answer 4-6 questions. A full list of questions can be found here.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I don’t think there is such a thing. All things change, all things are impermanent, especially happiness. The most perfect happiness is the one you’ve got right now.
What is your greatest fear?
Not death, but the protracted process of dying—slow physical and mental debilitation. Too close for comfort.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Camera equipment, which unfortunately I only put to mediocre use.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Taste. “Good” taste narrows your mind and stymies joy. Embrace everything you truly like—ballet and bowling, opera and Hall & Oates.
Who is your hero of fiction?
I’m really fond of Timothy Cavendish in “Cloud Atlas.”
What is your motto?
You don’t have to believe everything you think.