A random, eclectic mix of thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences – LIFE

Margaret Atwood Q&A

I really like Margaret Atwood. She’s a great writer. An inspiration, really. I look up to her. I find her quite entertaining too. I came across this little interview and decided to share it with you. As always, I’m highlighting my favourite parts and italicizing my little comments.

Margaret Atwood, 71, was born in Ottawa and lives in Toronto. She has written more than 50 volumes, but is best known for her novels, including The Handmaid’s Tale and Booker prizewinner The Blind Assassin; her most recent is The Year Of The Flood. A campaigner for the environment, she has contributed to the Ghosts Of Gone Birds exhibition at the Rochelle School, east London, from 2-23 November.


When were you happiest?
Can’t pick and choose, it’s bad luck.

I never thought of it that way. Haha.

What is your greatest fear?
Long, lingering dementia, followed by death from choking on a fishbone.

What is your earliest memory?
Digging in mud with a spoon, 1942.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Getting too involved in too many things. It eats your brain.

This is sometimes my life…

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Begrudging mean-spiritedness.

TELL ’em Margaret!

What is your most treasured possession?
Right now, my glasses.

What would your super power be?
The flying-around thing. With a cape.

It just wouldn’t be worth it without the cape!

What makes you unhappy?
Reading newspapers before caffeine.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
The great auk, like the one I just knitted for Ghosts Of Gone Birds, in aid of BirdLife International’s preventing extinctions programme.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Somebody short. Or else Lady Gaga.

I haven’t the words.

What is your favourite word?
And. It is so hopeful.

I DEFINITELY never thought of “and” in that way. NOW I always will.

What would you wear to a fancy dress party?
A Dolly Parton wig and stiletto heels.

Imagine it. Really. Take a moment. Imagine it.

Is it better to give or to receive?
To give, definitely, because you have no say in what you receive.

Which living person do you most despise?
I don’t do “despise”, I do “annoying pity”.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
My dead friends: Angela Carter, Marian Engel, Gwen MacEwen, Matt Cohen, Larry Gaynor.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“OK, I’ll do” (your fundraiser, etc).

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
On the Titanic for the first few days of its voyage. Or at the siege of Troy.

The first one seems like a good idea! I don’t know about the siege of Troy as a quick vacation spot…

How do you relax?
What is this “relax” of which you speak, Earthling?

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
In 1948 when the brakes failed on our car. About to get on a plane to New York on 9/11. Choking on a fishbone.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The white-water canoe run I did solo at Lady Evelyn Park 20 years ago. It was impromptu. It took the skin off my knees. It was an unnecessary risk.

Pretty impressive.

How would you like to be remembered?
By members of a human race who have managed to avoid annihilating their entire species and can thus still do some reading, and remembering.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
The only way out is through.

Where would you most like to be right now?
The Canadian Arctic. Nothing like it.

Tell us a joke
What does the Canadian girl say when you ask her if she’d like sex? “Only if you’re having some yourself.”


Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/28/margaret-atwood-q-a

SIDENOTE: I’ll be having Wordless Wednesday tomorrow. I forgot to take pictures of the goodies Babe brought back from Denmark. They’ll be featured in that post. Maybe I should REALLY turn the world upside-down and do Thankful Thursday today… We’ll see how much time I have before I leave work.

Did any of Atwood’s answers stand out to you? Which ones? Have you read any of her books?


Comments on: "Margaret Atwood Q&A" (14)

  1. Is it better to give or to receive?
    To give, definitely, because you have no say in what you receive.

    I love this, not because I’d have answered giving but because her reasoning is different than mine.

    Also, I’ve choked on a fishbone and had it surgically removed as an emergency. It was a terrifying experience. Had I not been terrified, I’d probably not have been choking so badly but it’s a long story…Anyway, I’m with her on the “never again, that.”

    I have maybe 4 of her books (by books, they’re ebooks and I think 2 are actually short stories).

    • Fish is one of the (few) things I don’t eat. I was never very fond of it, with it’s many bones, but other circumstances led to me cutting it out of my diet.

      A friend gave me “Moral Disorder” for my birthday a few years ago. It was my introduction to her. Funny story: It’s a book of short stories, and I read about 4 before I realized it wasn’t a novel. I was wondering why the characters were taking so long to connect. LOL.

  2. Thank you for reminding me that I’ve never gotten around to reading The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not a huge reader of fiction, and especially not science fiction, but this is one book that I did intend to read. After reading the interview bits that you’ve shared here, I’m definitely motivated to hear more of this remarkable woman’s voice.

  3. I’ve never read any of Ms. Atwood’s novels – eek! I’m missing half of my life, I know. But she had me at this:

    “Why is it we want so badly to memorialize ourselves? Even while we’re still alive. We wish to assert our existence, like dogs peeing on fire hydrants. We put on display our framed photographs, our parchment diplomas, our silver-plated cups; we monogram our linen, we carve our names on trees, we scrawl them on washroom walls. It’s all the same impulse. What do we get from it? Applause, envy, respect? Or simply attention, of any kind we can get? At the very least we want a witness. We can’t stand the idea of our own voices falling silent finally, like a radio winding down.”

  4. aah, great find! Although I could never ask GaGa to play me…. that’d be just…. weird.
    In fact, today’s post is about the person who’d I love to play me in the movie of my life! 🙂


  5. I love Margaret Atwood, if I had half her talent as a writer I would be over the moon.

    I can see Gaga playing her in a movie. That sounds like the most awesome movie ever!

  6. Atwood is my one of if not my favourite writer. I discovered her late only when I was in university and had to read The Handmaid’s Tale for an English class. Before I was being biased against Canadian fiction so I am glad I was made to read the book. There are still many of her works I have to get through but she’s definitely a national treasure.

    • You should NEVER be biased against Canadian fiction!
      Try a Lesley Crewe novel. SO fun to read.
      I’m not done reading Atwood’s work yet either. I’m taking my time. In a good way. 🙂

  7. Ok, this little lady is just way too cool!

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