The Shakespeare and Company Café Proust Questionnaire

Do you also think of your own answer immediately when you stumble upon good questionnaires? I do. I can't help to do so.
That's why I tried taking stock, and that's why I am about to post the longest post of them all. But the questions are so good, I couldn't resist! I've thought of the answers as soon as I first read this, but it took me until now to sit and write them.


1. What is your present state of mind?
Centred? I shift between feeling focused, busy, present, hopeful and sometimes melancholic, but I finally have an inside place to come back, which I'm calling my center, for  now.

2. What is your favorite way to spend your time?
For a long time, it was reading and listening to music. These days, I find no better way to spend my time than hang out with the two men of my life and our pets.

3. If you were an animal, which one would you be?
My cat. We're already so alike it's almost embarrassing...

4. What book makes you want to live in a different era?
I enjoy being taken to a different era by a book, because I can get back to where I like it the most: here, now.

5. What's the craziest thing you've ever eaten?
Rice Giblets. It is a very common dish which I used to eat when I was a child. I grew up to be a vegetarian and I fringe to the idea of ever have eaten a dish made of chicken and the blood of the chicken.

6. What is your favorite journey?
My own journey into becoming an adult and growing into a (hopefully better) human being, because I can write, and (re)write as I please.

7. Who is your hero in real life? Who is your hero in fiction?
I don't think I have any heroes.

8. Which word or phrases do you most overuse?
Tudo corre pelo melhor 
I would translate it for "everything goes for the better", but it's actually Voltaire's take on illusion "everything is fine today"

9.  What is your idea of perfect happiness?
There is no perfect happiness. But there is happiness, close to when we are living accordingly what we believe to be the meaning of our life, taking full responsibility of our actions and choices. For me, it's a matter of feeling grounded and resolved with our lives, whether we're smiling or not.

10. If you could spend the rest of your life with a character from a book, who would it be?
Now I'll have to write a book about my boyfriend, and then I can answer this question...

11. What is your theme song?
A musica (the music).

12. Who are your three favorite writers?
Portuguese: José Luís Peixoto, José Saramago and Fernando Pessoa.
Worldwide: Milan Kundera, Paul Auster and Dostoievski.

13. Where in the world would you most like to live?
There are lots of places I would like to visit, but for a living, only two that feel like home: either where I live, between Marão and Alvão Mountain ranges, or by the Douro River, where I've worked for five years and feel a connection that I never felt anywhere else.

14. On what occasion do you lie?
I like to think that I don't, and if happens, I'll beat myself to death for it. I hate all lies. If I don´t have anything honest and nice to say, I shut up. It is not always easy to find ways to stay true, but I believe it is possible so I'm working on that.

15. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tomatoes. I love them in every possible way.

16. Which poem makes your spine tingle?
Há palavras que nos beijam
Como se tivessem boca,
Palavras de amor, de esperança,
De imenso amor, de esperança louca.
Palavras nuas que beijas
quando a noite perde o rosto,
palavras que se recusam
aos muros do teu desgosto.
De repente coloridas
entre palavras sem cor,
esperadas, inesperadas
como a poesia ou o amor.
(O nome de quem se ama
letra a letra revelado
no mármore distraído,
no papel abandonado)
Palavras que nos transportam
aonde a noite é mais forte,
ao silêncio dos amantes
abraçados contra a morte

There are words that kiss us as if they have a mouth
words of love, of hope, of immense love, of crazy hope.

Naked words that you kiss when the night loses its face
words that deny themselves to the walls of your sorrow

Suddenly colourful between colourless words
expected, unexpected as poetry or love

The name of the loved one revealed letter by letter
in inattentive marble on abandoned paper

Words that carries us (to) where the night is stronger
To the silence of lovers embraced against death.

Alexandre O'Neill 

17. What is your favorite smell?
On daily bases, coffee!
But there's nothing that compares to the smell of your newborn baby... it's like smelling heaven!

18. If you could ask the leader of your country to read one book, what would it be?
Politics for a young (from the Spanish philosopher Fernando Savater), because I feel they all have forgotten the basics of it.

19. What's your favorite hiding place?
My thoughts. With the bonus of being always available and the downside of being afraid of  becoming mentally ill without noticing.

20. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Growing up. (I know, we all do it, but it still feels awkward to me sometimes)

21. Which book do you have on your nightstand but know you'll never read?
None. If I know I'll never read it, there is no place for it in my nightstand, or my bookcase for the matter.

22. If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?
To understand the meaning of the universe. I developed a meaning for my own life, but the universe is such a complex thing that I can't make sense of it by any theory, religious or scientific.  I keep thinking everything is so amazing - or absurd - there must be a greater meaning behind it.

23. What was your favorite book as a child?
The illustrated dictionary, in volumes! Oh, I still remember the pictures. I was obsessed by the aurora borealis picture.

24. Do you have a recurring dream? If so, what is it?
I have a recurring nightmare for the past three and a half years, in which my son gets lost from me on the weirdest and sometimes funniest ways possible. They are my excuse to hop into his bed and hold him for the rest of the night...

25. What to you is the most beautiful word or words?
"Mom" in my son's voice.

26. What's the worst book you've ever read?
I have been blessed with the ability to forget about bad books. But if it was bad, I probably didn't read it all anyway, so it wouldn't be fair to mention it.

27. Who would play you in the movie of your life?
My history teacher in secondary school. She was sweet and boring, just like my life.

28. What is your motto
It can vary from time to time, but I think the most recurring one would be:
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."(Arthur Ache)
29. What's the most romantic experience you've ever had?
It's quite boring, but you should be expecting that after answer 27. Every time the bread is ending, Pedro will eat the crust and leave me the bread crumb, which I prefer. This happens every other day for about five years and every time it happens my heart hears "I love you".

30. How would you like to die and in what form would you choose to come back?
I can't form a sentence with would like and die in the same sentence. As for coming back...thank you, but no thank you.  I'll simply enjoy it while it lasts.


  1. How nice to read your answers to this questionnaire! It feels like we are getting a glimpse into your own life and sensibility. Your very beautiful poem, and the list of your favorite authors made me realize that I know very little foreign (non French or English speaking) authors, apart from the most well-known ones of course. You make me want to discover Portuguese literature :)
    Also, I think I feel the same about your favorite hiding place. For sure!

    1. Thank you Florie, for posting the questionnaire and for your words. I've enjoyed answering it so much. The questions are really interesting (it would be great if they become a tag).
      And I am so glad it somehow trigger the desire to discover Portuguese literature! Our world is full of good literature, it's natural that we know very little about foreign writers, other than the well-known ones. Despite being obviously biased, I think you won´t regret if you read anything from the authors I mention above (they all have been translated to French and English).

  2. Muito interessante o questionário. E obrigada pelas tuas respostas, por abrires um pouco a tua alma e nos fazeres reflectir.

    1. Oh, obrigada, Ema! A "culpa" é das questões que na sua simplicidade convidam à partilha e reflexão... Um beijinho