Lipstick Press asked Keith to fill in the Seven of the Proust Questionnaire for his birthday. Here are his answers.
is your idea of happiness?
A dynamic balance amongst all the forces important in my life – desires,
needs, deepest values, expression of the various facets of my inborn nature and
my acquired preferences. This balance continuously shifts as I move across the
complex vector of my life.
is your favourite virtue?
toward the mystery that is in all things. Respect for the reality of each
person, but, more broadly, respect for the unexplainable mystery of universe in
which we find ourselves – a presence filled with life, physical phenomena,
darkness and sub-worlds of thought, feeling and imagination.
is your biggest weakness?
have many weaknesses and any of them can cause grief for me or others. I
include in my list impatience, self-centredness, lack of generosity, and lack
of awareness of my effect upon others, but also openness and expressiveness,
which in some contexts are not appreciated.
are your favourite poets?
I like individual poems by a range of poets more than I like all the
poems of any poet. My list is quite eclectic, including Basho, bill bissett, William
Blake, Charles Bukowski, Hayden Carruth, Leonard Cohen, Lorna Crozier, Mary
Oliver, Kay Ryan, Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas. I also like the work of writers
whose prose flows and tumbles like poetry and has a deep undertow, writers like
John McPhee, Kiran Desai, Joan Didion, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, Peter
Carey and Hiroshi Murakami. And there are contemporaries who publish sensitive
and insightful haiku, tanka and other micropoetry on Twitter and on blogs. I’m
thinking of writers who publish online under real, pen and site names like Claire
Everett, @CoyoteSings @tankaqueen and Alexis Rotella Designs.
5.Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history?
those people who work without regard for personal gain to make the world a
better place for everyone, including the artists who keep perceiving the world
anew to keep human wonder awake. I’m also grateful to scientists and scholars who
use art and science together for understanding and improving the human
condition, and to Lao Tzu for his balance, and to Karen Armstrong for pointing
us in modern times toward a path of greater compassion, and to the Inuit people
who have historically listened to the large world so carefully and respectfully
from their precarious vantage point.
What do you most dislike?
Cruelty—the wilful harming of others for pleasure—a distortion of what
is helpful for us as a species. I also dislike human carelessness and disregard
for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
What is your motto?
My motto changes as needs shift. A good one for me to fall back upon is an
old Samurai adage: “I make my mind my