“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself, that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” — Neil Gaiman
I have always been amused by the Proust Questionnaire that Vanity Fair regularly asks of celebrities and that James Lipton adapted for “Inside the Actors Studio,” and a little over a year ago I also discovered Nabokov’s variation, his “questionnaire for the immodest and curious.”
These famous lists of questions, combined with my desire to better know the people in my life, inspired me to create my own personal list of questions (or, occasionally, to borrow directly from the Proust and Nabokov ones) to ask people. I decided to make several sets of question lists, and to ask the same set to a handful of people at a time. I also decided to conduct each interview in person and audio-record the answers, then transcribe them here for your reading pleasure.
I am going to call the posts with these interviews “Walking Down the Street Naked” in honor of the Neil Gaiman quote above, because I hope these questions have drawn out something of the delightful uniqueness and “what exists on the inside” of each of the people they were presented to. Unfortunately there will be no actual walking down the street naked involved. Not in the first set of interviews, anyway. But who knows what the future interview sets may hold?
The following is my first set of questions, which I used to interview three people:
- What were you like as a teenager?
- What have you always wanted?
- When were you most proud of yourself?
- What advice would you give to your ten-years-younger self?
- What is your personal motto?
- Who do you aspire to be like? Why?
- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
- What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
- What would you like to be remembered for?
Come back tomorrow morning to read the first interview!