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Friday, January 23, 2009

Questionnaire


This is an old questionnaire I completed last semester in one of my creative writing classes. It was given to us as part of an exercise to get us thinking about our writing, and how to generate material. At first the whole thing seemed like a waste of time until I went back and reread my answers. Here it is, reposted for your pleasure.




1. Do you like toast? Why, yes, I do. Toast is one of the most wonderful ways to incorporate wheat into your diet, especially for people like me who don’t eat breakfast regularly. The best thing about toast is the variety of condiments it can incorporate, like jam, or butter, cream cheese, and even Nutella!

2. What kind of toast do you like? Personally, my favorite kind of toast is a thick whole-wheat slice covered in cream cheese & jam. The sheer texture and sugariness of the spread is both delicious and nutritious. Second after that would probably come buttered toast, but only because I respect classic taste.

3. Did you always know that you would be a writer/poet or artist? Yes, and no. I didn’t ever really know for certain. The possibility of becoming a writer-slash-poet-slash-artist was a gradual process that grew inside of me over the years. Once I realized it was possible for me to do this though, I was set.

4. Do you remember any clues in retrospect that brought you here? Describe them. I remember doing a lot of reading. The wonderful stories I grew up with as a child made me envious of the author’s ability to create something so amazing completely inside their head. It seemed that if I couldn’t do anything great and majestic in my life, like being an astronaut, then I’d have to settle for making-up great and majestic things and hope nobody noticed the difference.

5. What is your favorite time of day? The nighttime, hands down. Specifically, I really enjoy the period between two A.M. and four A.M. because it’s often been considered “dead man’s time”. This is the period when your circadian rhythm is at its slowest, the heart rate and breathing are softer, so that you slip into a place between being awake and being asleep. Crazy shit goes down, and I don't wanna miss out.

6. Are you haunted by anything? Yes, definitely. We are all haunted by something in our lives, whether it is a misdeed, accident, terrible misfortune, or perhaps simple uncertainty of the world around us. The fact that we have scars helps make us more human, able to be readily compassionate and understanding with one another. Yet, anyone who has yet to experience these things is not less of a person, but maybe less human.

7. Is one time of day more productive for you? Not really. No time of day is really more productive for me than another because my habitual rhythm isn't really a set pattern. At night there can be times when my skills as a wordsmith seem to reach out into the realms of the great literati. And at the same time I have often completed many divergent tasks in the earliest parts of the morning, just as the sun is rising and most people barely awake. It really depends most on where I'm at inside, than on what the world's doing around me.

8. What would you do if you were not a writer or a poet? If I weren’t what I am then I wouldn’t be who I am, so to me this question feels a bit awkward to answer. I suppose if I wasn’t me then I’d be someone else and would probably do desk-work surrounded by a cubicle in a large office building with little need for creativity or exercise. If I could be me – while still be not a writer – then I’d be a musician or an anthropologist, but I'll probably end up doing those things as well anyways. So it goes.

9. If you were not human what would you be? I would definitely be either a ferret or a bush-baby. I like bush-babies because they're sofuckingcute it almost makes me want to puke my guts out. They're are mostly nocturnal too, like me. I'd probably be a ferret though because they're super cunning but manage to hide it real well. They've got such a bad rep, yet they're actually no worse than anything else. I like the way they work, too; they've got a style that's just classic unpredictability.

10. Can you come up with one word that would bridge poetry-writing-art? This question needs to add in music and subtract poetry (since poetry and writing are synonyms bordering on being twins) so that it would be music-writing-art. To bridge these already close subjects one need only say, “Life”. Life is what creates these useless things and pointless pursuits at random without any sort of order. Really, Life is the all-time mother for anything that exists, because Life is the situation that allows them to be. Does that make sense? Probably not.

11. What do you collect? I collect keychains. Mostly from vacations and other adventures, but also on special occasions that I need a tangible souvenir to remember it. Some of them are gifts I got from family and friends who know about my little hobby and purchase the best ones they find along the way.

12. How is your collection displayed? I have put all the keychains into a small wooden treasure chest lined in red felt that I stole from my Dad after he moved out. The chest is pretty shoddy after all the years it's been around, but works as well as anything else I might get. The chest kinda gives off the whole "buried goods of a valuable nature" effect.

13. Have you had past lives? Describe them. I don’t know if I’ve had a past life or not. My Mom once told me that when I was little and just learning how to talk I would tell her how we lived in an old wooden town in the west where there were some robbers and we were shooting them and… something like that. Being a little kid and only just learning how to talk, she figured I was just making it up for fun, but she added in, almost like an afterthought, that I didn’t know anything about the west or robbers and shootings. So maybe I did have a past life? Who knows.

14. Who can you talk to about writing? I can talk to very very few people about writing. Pretty much only my brother, myself, and perhaps the professor’s paid to teach me. But not always because sometimes they give bad advice or don’t know any better than I do. Also, I don't like to talk about writing – it feels silly for some reason. Talking about writing is like dancing about architecture… at least to me.

15. What do you spend most of your time looking at? I spend most of my time looking at women. But not exactly women, more like the disassembled sum of women, their various pieces (ass, boobs, legs, hips, eyes, hair, etc) and the way those convey so many subtle messages just waiting to be deciphered. After that comes the sky – whether night or day – and then printed words on pages.

16. What environments are good sources for your inspiration? Some of the best inspiration comes from people-watching. Humans give off so much in their movements and little interactions it’s a wonder we bother using our mouths to speak at all. A lot also comes from exploring, usually in the form of urban spelunking, but nature has plenty to offer as well. Generally, it is the act of discovery, the process of seeing and experiencing that gives me my inspiration.

17. What do you do when inspiration comes to you? Whenever I find myself hit with an idea, usually I’ll want to write it, play it, sing it, dance it, draw it, or somehow make a record of its existence. Most of the time that’s a bit inconvenient for the people around me (especially if I want to play it and people are sleeping) so, often I will sit on the idea for a while looking for the most important thing that attracted me about it, the most basic and important part from the idea, and get that down.

18. What kind of activity spurs inspiration? There’s not much you can do to force inspiration – it doesn’t work like that. The best you can hope for is to mix the right elements and (being an intelligent mind) expect to get some interesting results. Typically I’ll go somewhere that I enjoy, feel connected to, and just soak up the time I’m there, breathing in the atmosphere, participating when I want, so that through just being alive, I create stories in my mind.

19. What would you like to spend time looking at? I'd like to spend my time looking at beautiful buildings, beautiful paintings, and especially beautiful women. Actually, just the women. No, not even. Just a beautiful woman. Just one gorgeous, stunning, amazingly beautiful woman who is looking right back at me because she loves me. That'd be nice, I think.

20. What is your definition of the word vacation? My definition of the word “vacation” is a state of action in which a person goes somewhere they do not go very often and relax in that space so that they may enjoy life a little bit more and be at peace for a time. The key components of being in this state – vacation can be an action or state of being, just like working – is total disconnection from your daily routine as well as complete relaxation mentally and physically.

21. What do you do on your vacation that you would like to be doing now? I would dearly love to be travelling; and this is what I do on my vacations. Let me explain how travelling encompasses the whole scope of my vacation. Normally, my life is constricted to the same city for long periods of time, whereas on vacation I get to explore a wider world beyond the city-limits. During these travels I am able to use all of my senses to enjoy the experience of being somewhere both rare and amazing. This makes travelling my favorite thing to do on a vacation, as opposed to going somewhere and staying put. It is very relaxing for me to be going on adventures and discovering things far removed from my regular experiences.

22. What are your favorite subjects? My favorite subjects are philosophy, creative writing, literature, science, history, anthropology, sociology, physical education (i.e. aikido, or sport), and religious studies. These aren’t ordered in any particular hierarchy, but I do have favorites. Many of these subjects are hard to enjoy in the way they are taught, but become true gems of learning when undertaken individually.

23. Are there any subjects that you would like to explore that you have not yet explored? Yes, indeed. I would really enjoy learning more about natural biology, wilderness survival, practical mathematics, language, and art. Language is an especially fervent choice because it seems that our education system does not teach us to think in many languages, or help us learn those basic skills that allow us to communicate in more than one way.

24. If you could live anywhere where would that be? I would live in Paris. That city, above all other places I have ever visited (which, while not many, are more than most people see in a lifetime) has captured my imagination. I feel as if it is the only place an artist, or musician, or writer, or philosopher, can truly be free to grow uninhibited. It is as if the French sky is broader than here among the city skyscrapers.

25. Do you know where you want your finished work to live? I should hope so – yes. I want my work to live in the memories of people. My dream, my desire, is to become a great writer someday, maybe even the greatest ever. Where can a great writer’s work live best? Books, disks, computers, stone tablets; these all deteriorate and fade over time. Not even Homer came through the dark epochs of antiquity without losing a few things along the way. But I want to be better than Homer, go further. And it seems to me that the collective thoughts of humanity are the only such place where great tales may reside; in the head, in the heart, where they'll live as long as they're true.

26. How do you place value on what you write? Well, it is very difficult to make a value-judgment on something that is inherently subjective. As a writer you really must decide for yourself what works are worthwhile and which ones are not. In the end though, the audience gets final say over these things, because they are the ones who will read and preserve it. Whatever I feel to be my greatest achievements will only be great for me; while my readers will choose for themselves what they think is the best. So it goes, y'know?

27. What is enough? Moderation in all things, even moderation. Enough is when you have balance, and too much is when the balance is tipped. It is hard to know or explain these things because we don't have words precise and vague enough to convey the history of associations/perceptions they have.

28. What is your favorite gift that you ever gave? The best gift I have ever given someone (so far) was a love poem that I wrote during the fall of 2006 while I was attending junior college. It was given in that hope that this girl, Katie Morales, would see my deep affection for her and decide she felt the same way. I scarcely need say that I failed miserably, and learned a valuable lesson that day: you change nobody’s mind but your own.

29. Do you have a favorite meal? Describe it. My favorite meal would be an odd thing indeed! I should like a large mixed sushi platter; hand-rolls, nigiri, rainbow-rolls, miso soup, and skewered kushiyaki. Then we would have an Italian dish of penne pasta with red meat sauce and breaded shrimp. After this would be Mexican tacos and carne asada. The drinks would only be freshly squeezed grape juice, ice-cold coca-cola, or Stella-Artois (best in Belgium). To top it off, dessert would be a large chocolate fudge cake topped in barely-ripe strawberries and plums leaving the sour taste intact while still being juicy. Fuck, man, I’m starving!

30. What does the word create mean to you? To create is an act that brings forth something out of yourself that did not already exist in the universe. For instance, when God used his/her/its powers to create something from nothing, that nothing was God, who had the stuff of Life inside of himself/herself/itself. So I guess, to me, creation is to bring something from nothing – even though that should be impossible.

31. What are some of the primary feelings you get from your art making practice? Mostly I get a deep sense of satisfaction at just being capable of things like this. Making a new story, or poem, or song, or picture is better than sleep, food, sex, or perhaps even Love (though I don't know, never having been in love with someone who loved me back). There is also a sense of validation that what I am doing is not just enjoyable, but right, as only something so natural and near-instinctual can be.

32. If today were your last day in this life would you be sure to do? That depends. Knowing it was my last day to live I would probably get in the car and go see my friends and family. I’d tell them all how much I cared about them, and how I would miss them. Then I'd indulge a few carnal needs. You can bet there’d be a lot of eating, hurried sex, and instructions for my disposal had. If I didn’t know it was my last day to live though, I’d probably spend the whole day sleeping till woke-up just before night to read a good book and drink some flat soda.

33. What question would you include on this questionnaire that we have not included? I’d suggest you include the question, “what’s your deepest sin?” If this proves too religious, then try, “who do you hate the most?” And should that prove a bit too controversial, perhaps this one: “what’s the one mistake you’re glad you made in your life?” But if that is also simply not appropriate, then I should ask you to include, "what would your last words be?"



Feel free to copy this and repost it in the comments section with your own answers. I'm looking forward to seeing how ya'll respond!

5 footnotes:

Andruba said...

Do you feel a new sense of enlightenment/rebirth after finding these questions, after your past, shall I say, experience(s)?

But more on a commentary of this post. I liked how you interpreted the questions. I, in an afterthought, interpreted some in a different manner, some more literally, some more philosophically, not necessarily opposite of what you did, but just different.

I enjoyed, more than enjoyed but can't think of the word, this. Thank you.

Zek J Evets said...

not really. mostly i just feel a sense of nostalgia for who i was, used to be.

thanks for teh compliments! you should try filling it out yourself - but take it seriously, even if you make jokes, make them be jokes you'd actually make. there's no one to impress, except yourself.

and the phrase you're looking for is, "loved it!"

haha

TeenCreeps said...

1. Do you like toast? yes i do.

2. What kind of toast do you like?
my favorite way to eat it is with jam plus i usually put egg on it :] its really good

3. Did you always know that you would be a writer/poet or artist?
i dont consider myself a writer or poet and what not i just enjoy writing. but maybe when im older ill grow into it more.

4. Do you remember any clues in retrospect that brought you here? Describe them. hmmm lets think what brought me to this very point right now?
well right now i feel peaceful.the person who keeps me happy the most is my sister.

5. What is your favorite time of day? nighttime for sure. thats when i get my best writing ideas also i like to clean at night for some weird reason..like i can de-clutter my room at night. i guess i have more energy at night.

6. Are you haunted by anything?
yeah, who isnt? its all how you use that energy towards your life either by hurting yourself or helping others and yourself. personally i think im using it for good.

7. Is one time of day more productive for you? like i said in #5 the nighttime it could also be that way because im such a procrastinator :/.

8. What would you do if you were not a writer or a poet? im not. id like to be an english or elementary school teacher. id also like to travel.

9. If you were not human what would you be? a turtle because they are cute, and i wish i had a shell which i can hide in plus they live for like 100 years

10. Can you come up with one word that would bridge poetry-writing-art? yeah,powart.

11. What do you collect? I collect change. pennies,quarters, dimes you know the usual

12. How is your collection displayed? theyre in my absolut vodka disco bottle. im very proud of it.

13. Have you had past lives? Describe them. i dont think ive had a past life. maybe i should be hypnotized or something to see if id have. but yeah who knows?

14. Who can you talk to about writing? myself,my mom, my sister and anyone who's willing to listen. oh and my friend Eden who wants to be an author :]

15. What do you spend most of your time looking at? at peoples eyes so i could tell if theyre listening while im talking. i also like looking at trees.

16. What environments are good sources for your inspiration?
i like the room to be quiet and me being alone. and i just think for hours.

17. What do you do when inspiration comes to you? the thing i hate most is when i get an idea and i dont have a pen or paper in those cases i get whatever i can a napkin, a flyer whatever and eyeliner or whatever and just write it before it goes away. but i now know best and carry a little booklet and a pen in my purse.

18. What kind of activity spurs inspiration? my mind flows whenever im at the park with good friends or my cousins or something. just chilling having a smoke or maybe even a beer. its fun being in "nature".

19. What would you like to spend time looking at? hhmm my own apartment with no one telling me shit. being on my own.

20. What is your definition of the word vacation? My definition is being away from your problems, and being very far from home.

21. What do you do on your vacation that you would like to be doing now? id like to be traveling, go to africa, europe,japan,new york id be very happy. id be talking to the locals.

22. What are your favorite subjects? english for sure that's the only thing im really good at i suck at everything else especially math. its the only thing i got. and i love history

23. Are there any subjects that you would like to explore that you have not yet explored? photography would be nice to study. chicano studies also.

24. If you could live anywhere where would that be? honestly paris but i heard its really expensive so i got to work my ass off to make that dream come true. all things are possible.

25. Do you know where you want your finished work to live? in my families heart most of all.

26. How do you place value on what you write? time i guess i look back and see what i used to write and im like that's complete bullshit. i havent written anything to place value..yet

27. What is enough? when you feel guilt. when you feel glutenous. mo' money mo' problems

28. What is your favorite gift that you ever gave? i think the best gift i ever gave was a poem to my mom i was like 6.

29. Do you have a favorite meal? Describe it. chilli cheese fries from my favorite restaurant Arry's in my town and a dr. pepper. its good when your faded, drunk or just sober.

30. What does the word create mean to you? i love that word theres nothing much that makes me happy. when i hear that word in class in my mind its like "ooh yeah its on like donkey kong"

31. What are some of the primary feelings you get from your art making practice? i dont practice writing much but i do like to practice drawing free hand stuff. i cant practice writing because it only comes from inspiration its really hard so i just cant it feels unnatural.

32. If today were your last day in this life would you be sure to do? id try to enjoy it with my friends by getting fucked up.and i would cry my eyes out telling my family how much i love them and id also listen to my favorite music and maybe going on some roller coasters.

33. What question would you include on this questionnaire that we have not included? do you believe in a heaven and hell? do you think there really is a after world? wheres the beef?

Zek J Evets said...

haha, i like your answer for the last question.

Jasmin said...

I'm still tooling around looking for the name explanation, but I had to comment on this because I collect keychains too! Never met anyone else who did it. :-)