Jeff O’Brien Answers the Proust Questionnaire

Jeff O’Brien writes fantasy and horror, weird and absurd novels and stories. For more 13508885_10154140920775926_1024170234206822858_nabout his books … actually, skip reading about them and just read them. You can find them here.

1.What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A utopia with myself, my wife, my dogs, beautiful green women, and the small band of people who grasp our concept of perfect happiness. In my backyard there would be a transport to the magical land of Xanth, and I could go and hang out with the gorgons, nymphs, zombies, ogres and puns. I love a good pun.

2.What is your greatest fear?

The possible repercussions of sharing my greatest fear with the general public. Nice try, Dickey!

3.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Probably vanity, as I can’t think of one.

4.What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Lack of conversation etiquette. I have no use for someone who talks over others.

5.Which living person do you most admire?

Piers Anthony. I mean, I don’t know much about what kind of guy he is, but his virtually endless bibliography has pretty much been the greatest thing I’ve ever discovered.

6.What is your greatest extravagance?

Books. I live rather frugally, but can’t seem to restrain myself in the purchasing of books. I have more than I can possibly ever read, but I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

7.What is your current state of mind?

Peaceful. I’m in my backyard under the moonlight, sitting on my hammock and smoking a wonderful cigar, listening to Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor. The peepers are peeping and the crickets are chirping. All is currently well in this big, bald head of mine.

8.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Detachment. I don’t think there are any bad virtues, but I think in a lot of cases we should let our emotions carry us. At least toward the good things. Sometimes it’s better not to think too much.

9.On what occasion do you lie?

When people ask me what my tattoos mean. I make up a different story every time. It’s easier and a lot more fun than telling a stranger to mind their own business.

10.What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I have no issues with it. It’s kind of irrelevant to me. It’s your swagger that carries you.

11.Which living person do you most despise?

Well, I’m all about love, really. But the first person that comes to mind is Joseph Kony.

12.What is the quality you most like in a man?

I like a man who doesn’t have to prove how manly he is. If you have a AAA card in your wallet instead of a jack and ratchet in your trunk, you’re okay in my book. Why should I know how to change a tire? People get paid to do that shit.

13.What is the quality you most like in a woman?

The quality of finding a chubby bald man sexually irresistible.

14.Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Fuck. What the fuck. Shit. Holy henpecker.

15.What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Without a doubt that is Jamila, my wonderful wife.

16.When and where were you happiest?

Home. Preferably on my hammock like I am right now.

17.Which talent would you most like to have?

Singing. I can play almost any instrument, but can’t sing a note to save my life. I’d trade all my instrumental abilities to have the voice of Freddie Mercury…in his living years, of course. Shit, he’s been dead 25 years and can probably still belt out any tune better than I can.

18.If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

The six-month-long writer’s block I’m currently six months into.

19.What do you consider your greatest achievement?

BigBoobenstein. It’s by far my proudest work. If I’m to be remembered for any one thing, I hope it’s that. And that time I ate the two-pound burger at Fuddrucker’s along with a heaping pile of bacon cheese fries. That was one for the record books.

20.If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I’d come back as me. How cool would that be to be the first person to come back from the dead?

21.Where would you most like to live?

Xanth. But since that’s out of the question, I’d settle for somewhere where the winters are not plagued by blizzards. Hell, maybe.

22.What is your most treasured possession?

The letter my grandmother (now deceased) wrote me after I put my first book out, and my wedding ring which is actually a tattoo of a pentagram on my left pinky finger. Good thing it’ll be hard to lose or drop down the garbage disposal.

23.What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Irritable bowel syndrome, getting a spinal tap, and the NORO virus. I can only speak for me, so that’s about as bad as it gets.

24.What is your favorite occupation?

Aside from serving as editor for New Kink Books, working that People’s Choice video when I was 19 and 20. Renting porn to local politicians was always a hoot.

25.What is your most marked characteristic?

I hope it’s my sense of humor. I thrive on making people laugh. I think (hope) that people see me as a funny guy. But mostly people seem to point out how big my feet are. Could be it’s part of my charm, though.

26.What do you most value in your friends?

The love of dogs. I don’t think I have any friends who don’t love dogs. I’d like to keep it that way.

27.Who are your favorite writers?

Piers Anthony, Douglas Adams, Douglas Clegg, Richard Laymon, Danger Slater, Robert Rankin, David Weber, Dean Koontz, Oscar Wilde…I could go on and on.

28.Who is your hero of fiction?

Not to get repetitive, but Piers Anthony. He breaks all the rules. A writer can take a lot more away from that than Stephen King or Elmore Leonard’s ten rules every writer should follow. Eff that noise. Do it your way.

29.Which historical figure do you most identify with?

George Costanza.

30.Who are your heroes in real life?

Real life heroes probably aren’t the writers I love, but the people who have personally shaped and taught me. My parents did all they could to make sure I never went a day without being cared for and well fed. My grandparents showed me the same unconditional love. My wife saved me from a life of misery and depression. My dogs make sure I’m never sad. I guess I could have just said family and left it at that.

31.What are your favorite names?

Greta. I always thought that was a really sexy name. Adelaide too.

32.What is it that you most dislike?

Ignorance. It’s pretty much the root of every bad thing in the world. Sure, I’m ignorant to a great many things. But I’m sure you get the point. And squash. That shit is vile. I’m nauseous just thinking about it. Why must you torture me like this?

33.What is your greatest regret?

I have none. I’ve fucked up many times and in many different ways. But each fuck up brought me right here to my hammock under the New Hampshire stars.

34.How would you like to die?

Peacefully, but in a way that will spawn countless conspiracy theories.

35.What is your motto?

Read books and don’t take shit too seriously. In fact, take nothing seriously. That way the joke is never on you.


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