The Marcel Proust Questionnaire: Bernard Schaffer Edition!

This week, my good friend Bernard Schaffer is here to answer Proust’s infamous questionnaire – enjoy!
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I had a vision of myself in roughly a years time. I was in Spain, walking alone in the beach, in perfect shape, tanned, and far wealthier than I am now, but still, alone. I believe I was researching the 3rd (final) Girl From Tenerife book and in many ways things had gone both incredibly wrong and incredibly right in my life. I can’t say if this was a good or bad vision but it was what I saw, and in many ways, I feel compelled to see if it manifests. Was I happy? Perfectly happy? I’m not sure that is possible. If I die an old man in a private villa surrounded my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and my wife and lovers and maids I’ve impregnated and somewhere along the wall are shelves of all the many books I’ve written and series I finished before running out of gas, then I suppose, in those final moments I will look around and feel perfect happiness. Mainly because I know I left this life the way that I lived it. Like a lion.
2. What is your greatest fear?
I have no fear of death or what lies beyond it. I’ve made peace with my own realization that there is probably nothing else after this and my many questions will never be answered. My only fear, as anyone who has ever read my work knows, is for those I love.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I tend to agonize over things I’ve done or said in the past. I have a deep sense of shame over various things that probably don’t amount to much. I tend to torture myself over non-essential things.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Either indecisiveness or unwarranted ego.
5. Which living person do you most admire?
Muhammad Ali.
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
A 60 inch 3-D TV and PS4
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Religious virtue. Not spirituality or commitment to faith, but the idea that people are virtuous because they participate or administrate religion is not only overrated, it is dangerous.
9. On what occasion do you lie?
I lie when I think the truth will really hurt someone’s feelings. I have a sharp tongue that’s like a wild, snapping dog, and I keep it leashed and muzzled for the good of all.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I’ve had a bald spot on the right side of my head for over a month that the doctor said is alopecia. It appears the cream is working and hair is beginning to grow again. I wouldn’t mind being bald, or losing my hair, I’d just rather do it in the conventional places like everyone else, not on the side of my effing head.  Also, I would like to be one of those shirtless guys on the beach.11. Which living person do you most despise?
oh but the list is too full to mention.
I’d say it’s a toss up between any of the unAmerican fear mongers at Fox News and the despicable filth of Westboro Baptist Church. Take your pick.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
The sheepdogs who look after the rest of the flock.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
That they are women.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Lately, it’s been anything with the words “World Cup” as I’m sure everyone around me will gladly attest to.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The kids
16. When and where were you happiest?
On the day my both my kids were born
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to make something, or to fix something. I wish I was a master craftsman at something like knife-making or wood-working, or could repair air conditioning units or car engines. Someday I would like to know how to do something substantial enough that if someone I knew needed a fix, they could come to me.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My financial status
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The kids, obviously, except I feel funny saying they are my achievement. They are really their own achievement. I am simply a guide along the way…sometimes a boot to the behind, of course, but whatever they do in their lives will be their own accomplishment and I won’t take credit for it. I’m proud of my writing. I’m proud to be who I am in the writing community. I’m proud to know I’m part of the independent publishing movement.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A red-tailed hawk. Love ’em.
21. Where would you most like to live?
Let’s see…a beach house, a farm, a city flat, a compound with houses inside it for everyone I love.
22. What is your most treasured possession?
My book collection
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
My father once told me I’d changed my mind about more things than anyone he knew and that he was still the exact same person he’d always been and still believed the exact same things. I regard the lowest form of misery as anyone who lives through life and never cares or seeks to learn or grow.
24. What is your favorite occupation?
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
My eyes, or so I am told
26. What do you most value in your friends?
Consistency. Too many of my friends have come and gone.
27. Who are your favorite writers?
Hemingway, JK Rowling, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Richard Matheson, Elmore Leonard
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
James T. Kirk
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
Muhammad Ali, Marlon Brando, Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Abraham Lincoln, Joe Konrath, Michael Jordan, Hemingway, Alan Moore31. What are your favorite names?
Brandon and Julia and Izdehar

32. What is it that you most dislike?
33. What is your greatest regret?
That it took me a while to grasp the potential of Kindle and eBooks and I missed the very first wave
34. How would you like to die?
Pretty much how I described perfect happiness. Maybe with a bottle of tequila thrown in for good measure.
35. What is your motto?
Stay focused and work harder

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