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Wade Davis takes the Laferrière Questionnaire

With his latest book, Into the Silence, hot off the presses, Canada's adventurer extraordinaire tackles our own 20 questions, courtesy of Dany Laferrière.

About the Laferrière Questionnaire: We asked writer Dany Laferrière to reinterpret the Proust Questionnaire for the 21st century. He put together 20 questions that shine a light on who we really are, both as writers and as individuals.

1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell your story?
I would definitively come back to tell the story.

2. If your home were on fire, what prized keepsake would you grab on your way out?
A first edition copy of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, purchased and signed by my grandfather, who served on the Western Front

3. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?
Never actually had a childhood fear.

4. Would it be okay to have a miserable childhood if that were a prerequisite for becoming a writer?
No, and I have never thought that misery begets anything save more misery.

5. Do you wake up at night to read or write?

6. Do you feel anxious or excited when you start to write?
Excited, never anxious

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?
I love darkness.

8. Do you tend to hang on to a thousand little scraps of paper, or do you regularly clean out your drawers?
I am quite meticulous, and something of a clean freak. I cannot work unless there is order in the space. Every morning before beginning work, I make sure that everything is in its proper place, every reference at hand, the floor swept.  My office is a sanctuary, with everything in its proper place, an almost Zen like aura, if you will. If the physical space is cluttered and chaotic so too will be one's mind.

9. Which animal would you rather be: a cat or a dog?
Dog, without doubt

10. Does love dry up your creative juices or make them flow faster?
Love is the source of all creativity and inspiration, but falling in love is a distraction. Who would waste time writing when reveling in the whirlwind of romantic love?

11. Do you remember your dreams?
Yes, but I never speak of them with anyone. When someone begins to tell me his or her dreams my first impulse is to flee. Little is more dull or boring than a recycled dream.

12. What's your favourite colour?

13. What's your favourite season?

14. Does pressure motivate you?
Yes, though it is not very helpful.

15. Would you rather live to write or write to live?
I live to write.

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence [see question 2].

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
Neither, certainly not paranoid, but hardly calm. My favourite word is authentic. My least favourite is mellow. The dictionary definition of " mellow" is a state of overripe fruit.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
A beautiful lover, a mystic landscape, a benign potion to carry one away to other dimensions of reality.

19. Are you more like the sun or the moon?
The Sun.

20. Do you hear voices?
No, afraid not.

Wade Davis is the bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, and his latest, Into the Silence. An award-winning anthropologist, Davis currently holds the post of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and divides his time between Washington, D.C., and northern British Columbia.

Photo credit: Ryan Hill

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