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Laferrière Questionnaire

C.C. Benison takes the Laferrière Questionnaire

The award-winning mystery author treats us to some twists and turns in our very own version of 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 stay in Wonderland if it had a really, really good chef. But, as I recall, the cook in Alice was much too liberal with the pepper and had anger-management problems besides. So I would slip back into the real world, so-called, and tell my story.

2. If your home were on fire, what prized keepsake would you grab on your way out? My geek stick, which contains copies of my writing files. Second would be my wallet, simply because renewing credit cards, driver's licence, etc. would be so tiresome. (And, being newly homeless, the cash wouldn't hurt!) I otherwise can't think of anything I own that I really prize.

3. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?
Egg phobia. If it looks like an egg, I can't eat it. I would spill state secrets if someone tried to slip a fried egg between my lips.

4. Would it be okay to have a miserable childhood if that were a prerequisite for becoming a writer?
For heaven's sake, no! Everyone should have a happy childhood and if that means the sacrifice of a few good books, then too bad.

5. Do you wake up at night to read or write?
No, I sleep like the proverbial log. If I should happen to wake up, I would read, although I'm more likely to be distracted by 3 A.M. infomercials on TV.

6. Do you feel anxious or excited when you start to write?
Neither. I think it would be difficult to write if I were prone to some rollercoaster of emotion.

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?

8. Do you tend to hang on to a thousand little scraps of paper, or do you regularly clean out your drawers?
Both. I hang on to the thousand scraps during the term of a project, then I clean house before starting a new one, which always feels very therapeutic.

9. Which animal would you rather be: a cat or a dog?
A cat. I can go to bathroom myself, thank you, without someone walking behind me carrying a little plastic bag.

10. Does love dry up your creative juices or make them flow faster?
Do you really mean 'love', or are you being coy about another word? Well, either way, it tends to distract from the mighty work of prose manufacture.

11. Do you remember your dreams?
Some. I wish their content were more useful, though. Invariably my dreams feature some insane adventure in irrationality that I can't possibly include in my writing, but then I suppose the problem is hardly unique.

12. What's your favourite colour?
It was green until I was seduced by this blue scarf that Jack Nicholson wears in Something's Gotta Give. Is it periwinkle blue? I have no idea. But it's that blue. And do you think I can find a man's scarf that colour? No, I cannot.

13. What's your favourite season?
You could call it late spring or premature summer. In Winnipeg, spring is about two weeks between winter and summer. It's those two weeks, when the trees explode (really, in Winnipeg they explode) into green. It's a little noisy, but it's worth it for the visual effect.

14. Does pressure motivate you?
Yes. Deadlines are my rock, my sword, my shield.

15. Would you rather live to write or write to live?
The former, though I think many writers find that if they want to live to write they'll have to write to live.

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
The Bible. Imagine if I owned the copyright on that baby? Eat my dust, J.K. Rowling!

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
Is there no middle ground here? Okay, then put me in the latter category. I think it's at least a little more flattering.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
A nap in the sun, anywhere there is sun. And a comfortable, horizontal surface.

19. Are you more like the sun or the moon?
More like the moon, though I am not inconstant.

20. Do you hear voices?
Yes, the characters in my novels are quite chatty. Most vexing is when they chat off-topic just as I'm about to fall asleep.

C.C. BENISON is an award-winning mystery author. His latest book, Twelve Drummers Drumming, is the first in a series featuring the Reverend Tom "Father" Christmas. C.C won the Arthur Ellis award for Death at Buckingham Palace, an entrant in his much-loved series featuring Jane Bee and Queen Elizabeth II. He lives in Winnipeg.

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