Antonio Banderas: Proust Questionnaire

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  • What is your idea of perfect happiness? The very short instant right after accomplishing something very challenging.
  • What is your greatest fear? The death of my loved ones.
  • What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My pathological incapacity to say no.
  • What is the trait you most deplore in others? I don’t like fake people, impostors.
  • What do you dislike most about your appearance? I would like to be four inches taller. (He’s 5′ 9″)
  • What is your current state of mind? Excited and calm even if it is a contradiction.
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? The age. I would like to be 30 years old now.
  • If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? I wouldn’t change my family for anything in the world.
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement? I survived Hollywood.
  • If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? A mountain.
  • If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? The ocean.
  • What is your most marked characteristic? People always say my eyes.
  • What is the quality you most like in a man? Integrity.
  • What is the quality you most like in a woman? Compassion.
  • What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.

~ Antonio Banderas, excerpts from “Antonio Banderas Answers the Proust Questionnaire” Vanity Fair, December 12, 2019


Photo: Actor Antonio Banderas attends the “The Skin I Live In” premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the 64th Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2011 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Toast

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What do we need to know about a person in order to like them? Before she wrapped her leftover buttered toast inside a paper napkin, I didn’t know whether I liked her or not. Then, when she wrapped up her toast in the napkin, I suddenly loved her. Before she wrapped up her toast, she had been making an effort to show herself to be a sophisticated and an impressive young editor from a respected magazine. Then, when she did that, the performance dropped; not only was she underpaid, the gesture said, but she really liked toast. She liked toast even more than she liked being admired.

~ Sheila Heti, Motherhood: A Novel (Henry Holt and Co., May 1, 2018)


Portrait: Sheila Heti

A Few Honest Words (Please)

If you’re gonna lead my country
If your’e gonna say it’s free
I’m gonna need a little honesty

Just a few honest words
It shouldn’t be that hard
Just a few honest words is all I need

I don’t need no handshake
No firm look in the eye
Don’t tell me what you think I ought to hear…

~ Ben Sollee, from “A Few Honest Words.”

The tune was the opening track in his 2008 debut titled “Learning to Bend” which was an open letter to political leaders in the U.S. that perfectly captures what we’ve all been pleading for in a year of national turmoil: the truth. “I try to never be too specific,” Sollee says. “I’m trying to agitate the idea of what is happening. [“A Few Honest Words”] is not directed at one politician, but the culture of politics. (From Team JamBase: A Few Honest Words with Ben Sollee, November 5, 2008)

Ben Sollee, 34, is an American cellist, singer-songwriter, and composer known for his political activism. His music incorporates banjo, guitar, and mandolin along with percussion and unusual cello techniques. His songs exhibit a mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and R&B elements. Sollee has also composed longer instrumental pieces for dance ensembles and for film. And don’t miss the video:


Photo of the White House: by kenziemoney15

Truth

You can’t transform mountebanks into menschen. Character is like concrete: You can make an impression when it’s freshly poured, in its youth, one could say, but when it sets, it’s impervious to alteration.

~ Charles M. Blow, Satan in a Sunday Hat (NY Times, July 31, 2017)


Notes: Image Credit

Own up.

lie


No chance.
No chance 93% didn’t lie.
Liars.


Source: NY Times Magazine

If you had to pick just one thing?

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People ask me all the time what the secret to happiness is. “If you had to pick just one thing,” they wonder, “what would be the most important thing for leading a happy life?”

Ten years ago, I would have told you a regular gratitude practice was the most important thing—and while that is still my favorite instant happiness booster, my answer has changed. I believe the most important thing for happiness is living truthfully. Here’s the specific advice I recently gave my kids:

Live with total integrity. Be transparent, honest, and authentic. Do not ever waiver from this; white lies and false smiles quickly snowball into a life lived out of alignment. It is better to be yourself and risk having people not like you than to suffer the stress and tension that comes from pretending to be someone you’re not, or professing to like something that you don’t. I promise you: Pretending will rob you of joy.

I’ve spent the better part of my life as a people-pleaser, trying to meet other people’s expectations, trying to keep everyone happy and liking me. But when we are trying to please others, we are usually out of sync with our own wants and needs. It’s not that it’s bad to be thinking of others. It’s that pleasing others is not the same as helping others.

~ Christine Carter, Ph.D.  

Don’t miss the rest of her great post here: Why It Doesn’t Pay to be a People Pleaser


Notes:

from a generation in which one was what one did, not what one talked about.

old-men-bench

Sonja said once that to understand men like Ove and Rune, one had to understand from the very beginning that they were men caught in the wrong time. Men who only required a few simple things from life, she said. A roof over their heads, a quiet street, the right make of car, and a woman to be faithful to. A job where you had a proper function. A house where things broke at regular intervals, so you always had something to tinker with. “All people want to live dignified lives; dignity just means something different to different people,” Sonja had said. To men like Ove and Rune dignity was simply that they’d had to manage on their own when they grew up, and therefore saw it as their right not to become reliant on others when they were adults. There was a sense of pride in having control. In being right. In knowing what road to take and how to screw in a screw, or not. Men like Ove and Rune were from a generation in which one was what one did, not what one talked about.

~ Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove: A Novel


Notes:

But a man’s life comes full circle; you can learn

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Laddie was a useful dog on the farm for the next few years, and there were moments when he did good things and we understood each other— once we sorted two ewes that we needed for a show off a hundred others we didn’t need in a field and walked them home. But it was a rare moment, and I always knew he wasn’t as good as he should have been. Sometimes he’d run home when I lost my temper and shouted at him. He lost trust in me. I knew whose fault it was. Mine. I knew that I’d let him down. I look back and think he would have made a good dog if I had known a bit more. But a man’s life comes full circle; you can learn, and do better than your past. I am determined not to make the same mistakes again.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

And, sometimes, it comes down to the “Third Rule”

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My job is simple: get around the fields and feed and shepherd the different flocks of ewes— dealing with any issues that arise.

First rule of shepherding: it’s not about you, it’s about the sheep and the land.

Second rule: you can’t win sometimes.

Third rule: shut up, and go and do the work.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

Tradition

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My grandfather is asleep in an old brown armchair that is for his use, and his use only. He has read the local newspaper and fallen asleep in it after his midday meal. He is old and tired because he starts early and works too hard for an old man. But I wish he would wake up. Sometimes when he is not working he tells me stories. He loves to tell stories. True stories. This is how he passes on his values. How he tells me who we are. They have morals, these stories.

We don’t give up, even when things are bad.
We pay our debts.
We work hard.
We act decently.
We help our neighbours if they need it.
We do what we say we will do.
We don’t want much attention.
We look after our own.
We are proud of what we do.
We try to be quietly smart.
We take chances sometimes to get on.
We will fail sometimes.
We will be affected by the wider world …
But we hold on to who we are.

It was clear from his stories that we were part of a tradition, that long pre-dated us, and would long exist after us. The stories left you feeling proud to be part of that tradition, but very aware that as individuals we were bound by duty to carry it on, bound to try and live by those values. His main lesson was above all to get along with people; don’t burn your bridges or they will stay down for a long time. Having the same families live and work alongside each other for many centuries created a unique kind of society with special values.

~ James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape.


Notes:

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