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Laferrière Questionnaire

Allan Fotheringham takes the Laferrière Questionnaire

The man called "Canada's most consistently controversial newspaper columnist" by Time magazine submits to our very own 20 questions, courtesy of Canadian author 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.

2. If your home were on fire, what prized keepsake would you grab on your way out?  
My wife.

3. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?  
Going broke.

4. Would it be okay to have a miserable childhood if that were a prerequisite for becoming a writer?  
Obviously it is correct in my case, because it describes me perfectly, although I had a poor childhood, not a miserable one.

5. Do you wake up at night to read or write?  
I write in my sleep.

6. Do you feel anxious or excited when you start to write?  
Always.

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?  
Neither.

8. Do you tend to hang on to a thousand little scraps of paper, or do you regularly clean out your drawers? 
I never clean out my drawers, nor do I clean off the top of my chest of drawers. There are things there that have been there for 5 years...in case I need it.

9. Which animal would you rather be: a cat or a dog?  
A dog. A dog is more faithful.

10. Does love dry up your creative juices or make them flow faster?  
The latter.

11. Do you remember your dreams? 
Yes. I print them the next morning.

12. What's your favourite colour? 
Red for passion.

13. What's your favourite season? 
Spring because it relates to hope and what lies ahead.

14. Does pressure motivate you?  
Absolutely. Writing is like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. Put pressure on it and the toothpaste/words will come out.

15. Would you rather live to write or write to live?  
A dumb question. The answer is live to write.

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?  
The Bible. Because it contains all the truth of the world.

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?  
In between.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?  
To make love to my wife after a splendid lunch in Paris.

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

20. Do you hear voices?  
Yes, of course. It is called inspiration.

Allan Fotheringham has been a journalist and columnist for nearly 50 years, first with the Vancouver Sun, for nearly three decades with Maclean's, and more recently with the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Zoomer. He has published eight previous books, including Fotheringham's Fictionary of Facts & Follies and Malice in Blunderland. His latest book is Boy from Nowhere: A Life in Ninety-One Countries. "Dr. Foth" lives in Toronto.

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