#wordsofwomenHH, 20 questions, blog features, march 2017, words from wise women, words of women

Words of Women 20 Questions: Claire M.


Inspired by this article from Words of Women, I decided to ask friends to take part in the questionnaire. It’s been so fun reading their answers and I’m excited to share them every Wednesday. If you want to participate, send me an email at aeallen (at) gmail (dot) com.

About the list of 20 questions by Sophie Calle:

Sophie Calle is a French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist. Calle’s work is distinguished by its use of arbitrary sets of constraints, and evokes the French literary movement of the 1960s known as Oulipo. Her work frequently depicts human vulnerability, and examines identity and intimacy. She is recognized for her detective-like ability to follow strangers and investigate their private lives. Her photographic work often includes panels of text of her own writing. (Words of Women)

This week’s questionnaire comes from a friend I’ve had since my college days. Claire has always inspired me with her fantastic humor and brilliant writing. I mean, she is a rad journalist, published NPR-ien (is that a thing? now it is), and she won a year’s supply of La Croix water. The woman is amazing.

When did you last die?

What a starting question! But it made me think about how I view my life and transformations within it. I’ve gone through many phases and chapters where not only life circumstances change, but my personality dramatically shifts. When those different versions of myself  change, it could be looked at as one version dying and a new one emerging. And with that in mind, I’d say I’m in the middle of one of those major shifts, so I guess I’m dying right now 🙂

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The paycheck and health insurance on the other end of the commute. Otherwise I’d be laying around listening to podcasts all day.

What became of your childhood dreams?

They became my adult dreams. I always wanted to be a writer, which I do now.

What sets you apart from everyone else?

My wit.

What is missing from your life?

Contentedness. I desperately want to be in a place where I’m living in a place where I want to be in long term, and in personal and professional situations where I see myself in years down the road.

Do you think that everyone can be an artist?

Of course! There’s creativity and beauty in everything. I hope there are accountants who look at a spreadsheet and see it as a masterpiece, just like a potter would walk away from the kiln feeling.

Where do you come from? Do you find your lot an enviable one?

My family is a group of very different thinkers. Our interests, world views and opinions are all very different. While that can be hard to relate to, it’s taught me the importance of listening to those different from you. It’s taught me that ignorance is dangerous, because if we refuse to be near and even love people with dramatically different views than ours, we’ll never understand our world.

What have you given up?

Making decisions because it will “look” like the right choice, the fun choice, the most “Instagrammable” choice

What do you do with your money?

Travel! I live modestly in my day to day life so I can regularly take weekend trips and vacations to visit friends and explore new places.

What household task gives you the most trouble?

Cleaning surfaces.

What are your favorite pleasures? 

Grocery shopping, being in the woods, laughing with a girlfriend.

What would you like to receive for your birthday? 

A weekend away in a cabin where I could cook, read and relax.

Cite three living artists whom you love.

Anne Lamotte (writer), Phoebe Robinson (comedian), Viola Davis (actress)

What do you stick up for?

Listening to others, even if you don’t want to.

What are you capable of refusing?


What is the most fragile part of your body?

My mind.

What has love made you capable of doing?

Recognizing my own flaws and shortcomings, and making efforts to change.

What do other people reproach you for? 

Making snap judgments.

What does art do for you? Write your epitaph.

Art reminds me of the beauty and joy that exists in all of us and in the world.

Epitaph: She always bought lemonade from kids.

In what form would you like to return?

A 9-year-old girl, who has all of the unabashed confidence, resilience, and joy that most grown women long to get back.

Thanks so much, Claire! Come visit Hamburg!


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