I find writing exercises are good for the soul. And by that I mean often the only way I can trudge through the uninspired times is to just keep writing. I sometimes forget this and spend a few days, a week, maybe longer, entirely freaked out when words are not flowing. Barely trickling.

More than once, I’ve used Proust’s Questionnaire as a starting point for character development. Sometimes a little Q and A is exactly what is needed to get out of that place where I’m convinced I will never write again. (Also, I have failed repeatedly since college to get through the first volume of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. This is probably the only Proust I will read in its entirety.)

When Aliza tagged me in her post “It Goes to 11,” I said yes as soon as I read the Spinal Tap reference. But even beyond that, I said yes because you never know what will inspire a new story. So, here goes.

The not-a-chain-letter-blog-chain rules:

-Answer 11 questions
-Create 11 new questions
-Tag 11 brilliant minds you’d like to pick to answer them.
-Done.

First, to answer Aliza:

1. What talent do you wish you had?

My favorite artists have always been those known for their portraits, like John Singer Sargent, Amedeo Modigliani, Elizabeth Peyton, Andy Warhol. In a perfect world, I could grab a charcoal pencil or a paintbrush and do that thing they do. I do a lot of portrait photography because it comes close, but it’s just not the same thing.

2.  Who’s your favorite Muppet, and why?

Kermit for singing, “Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when wished on the morning star? Somebody thought of that and someone believed it. Look what it’s done so far.”
Love that froggy wisdom.

3.  What kind of restaurant would you open, and why?

One where I would be able to eat everything on the menu without substitutions or having to apologize for all the questions. Having food allergies, I make Sally Albright seem positively low maintenance.

4.  What’s the first movie that you remember giving you nightmares?

Time Bandits. Dark Crystal. It’s a tie between a giant floating head and a vulture king on his death bed.

5.  What sporting event have you never been to, that you dream of attending?

The Kentucky Derby or Ascot come to mind, mostly based on fashion possibilities. I think that’s indicative of the level of my interest in sports.

6.  What class did you take in high school or college that you wish you could take again now?

A few years ago, I learned a writing teacher I had in college had passed away. I learned a lot in school, but there are only a few professors whose lessons I regularly apply to screenwriting. She taught me so much. I’d love to be back in that classroom again. It was inspiring.

7.  Country Living or Architectural Digest?

Architectural Digest. I’m a city girl.

8.  What book do you hope your kids never read?

I can’t think of any. Though I know a number of banned ones I hope they will.

9.  Ringo Starr.  Good drummer or not?

I don’t think I’ve ever thought to myself, “You know, FILL IN THE BLANK BEATLES SONG was pretty good, but without Ringo it really could have been spectacular.” So, I’ll stick with Mr. Starr.

10.  Theme parks – thumbs up or thumbs down?

At this point in my life, thumbs down. As a child or when I have children, thumbs up.

11.  Are any of you still my friend?

Shared love of bringing politics and religion to the social media table – how could we not be?

And now, my questions for the next eleven. You’ll know who you are. And if you just feel like joining in, you’re welcome to. Just email me so I can link to your post.

1. What film do you most often quote dialogue from in conversation?

2. White after Labor Day, blogging about politics. I do both. What’s a rule you think is made to be broken?

3. When you win the lottery (when not if – positive thinking): one time payout or the yearly installments?

4. What is your favorite TV show theme song?

5. Taking a page from James Lipton, what’s your favorite curse word?

6. When reading the newspaper, what section do you pick up first?

7. If Zoltar could take you back to being a kid for a day, what day would you pick?

8. Do you read your horoscopes?

9. Downton Abbey – really well written or just a fabulous soap opera?

10. What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up? Or, if you were like me and liked dressing up year round, what was your favorite ensemble?

11. I know we type and everything, but what’s your favorite writing instrument?

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