Brad Smith takes the Laferrière Questionnaire
The author of Red Means Run 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’d have to return to tell the story. The telling would authenticate it.
2. If your home were on fire, what prized keepsake would you grab on your way out?
My jalapeno-stuffed olives. Of course.
3. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?
Fear of beets. I hate beets.
4. Would it be okay to have a miserable childhood if that were a prerequisite for becoming a writer?
Would it be okay? I don’t think it’s ever okay to have a miserable childhood.
5. Do you wake up at night to read or write?
Neither. I might wake up to think about the next day’s writing, and that might keep me awake, but I never write at night. Gotta be the morning.
6. Do you feel anxious or excited when you start to write?
In truth, I feel like procrastinating because I know once I start I won’t stop until the first draft is done. So my windows might get washed or my kitchen floor scrubbed while I’m putting off that first day’s work.
7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?
Darkness soothes me. Stephen Harper frightens me.
8. Do you tend to hang on to a thousand little scraps of paper, or do you regularly clean out your drawers?
I hang on. Often I’ll come across phone numbers with no names attached.
9. Which animal would you rather be: a cat or a dog?
A cat. Cats go their own way. Someone once said, “Show me six cats willing to pull a sled across the frozen tundra.” Never going to happen.
10. Does love dry up your creative juices or make them flow faster?
On the subject of love, I will defer to the late, great Warren Zevon, who wrote: You can’t start it like a car, you can’t stop it with a gun.
11. Do you remember your dreams?
Usually. Particularly the strange ones.
12. What’s your favourite colour?
I have several. It’s a tie.
13. What’s your favourite season?
Spring, when baseball starts. “That hope which springs eternal in the human breast.” (Thank you, Mr. Thayer.)
14. Does pressure motivate you?
15. Would you rather live to write or write to live?
You pretty much need to do both.
16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
Paranoid pretending to be calm.
18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
Um will kids be reading this?
19. Are you more like the sun or the moon?
The moon. But just the dark side.
20. Do you hear voices?
Definitely. I hear Dean Martin. Norah Jones. Lucinda Williams. Leon Redbone. And sometimes Phil Rizzuto.
Brad Smith was born and raised in southern Ontario. He has worked as a farmer, signalman, insulator, truck driver, bartender, schoolteacher, maintenance mechanic, roofer, and carpenter. He lives in a eighty-year-old farmhouse near the north shore of Lake Erie. His novel, "One-Eyed Jacks" was nominated for the Dashiell Hammett Prize. His latest novel is Red Means Run.