Q & A with Rodes

With a hat-tip to the original . . . here are my answers to the infamous Proust questionnaire.–Rodes

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is a perfect first sentence.

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is that Steve Jobs was right when he pronounced that “people no longer read.”

What is your greatest extravagance?
Never second guessing the purchase of a book.

Which words or phrases most annoy you?
“The novel is dead.” Human imagination will have to die before the novel expires. And if human imagination dies we’ve got bigger problems then the state of the novel.

How do you define a writer?
A writer is someone who reorders reality into a pattern that has meaning for that writer.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Realizing you’ve wasted time on something that wasn’t important in the first place.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
The ability to tell a funny story about himself.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
The quality I most admire in a woman is confidence. And looking good in a wetsuit. Now that I think about it, they go together.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
I have this special pencil . . . kidding! My wife is the greatest love of my life.

Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to understand—and possibly believe—Superstring theory.

What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Starting, finishing, and publishing my first novel, Going to See the Elephant.

On what occasion do you lie?
Very, very rarely I will sometimes tell le petite fib on the Proust Questionnaire.

What is your favorite occupation?
Casting a dry fly over feeding trout on a river at dusk while bats dance above my head.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My intuition.

What do you most value in your friends?
Not calling before 9 am on Saturday morning.

Who are your favorite writers?
Chekov, Jim Harrison, and whoever writes the fortune cookies at Brandy Ho’s.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Anybody who can take something from their imagination and make it real.

What is your greatest regret?
My wife’s favorite expression is “no regrets” and my greatest regret is that I don’t abide by her wisdom more often.

How would you like to die?
From eating an entire box of Beard Papa cream puffs.

What is your motto?
I found my motto a long time ago in a very old book. It goes back to the Roman days. It applies, especially, to writers: “When there is no wind, row.”