10 Random Questions: From One Creative to Another

Annie Leibovitz Portrait

Annie Leibovitz by John Keatly

Moment of truth. Today I couldn’t bring myself to write about anything social, trending, controversial, educational or overly deep.  So coffee in hand I let my thoughts tumble around, and they landed (bullseye) on something I’ve always wanted to do.

Shoot Me, Annie.

My secret wish has long been to appear in Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire column.

I’d be witty, honest, and bang-on with my answers. My sparkle would mesmerize the writer. In a flash, they decide to break tradition of using a caricature. The creative director would come careening into the room with an unexpected Annie Leibovitz in tow. My hair would have it’s best day EVER, and my skin would be clear and creamy — no Photoshop needed.  The published piece would paradoxically leave me awed and humbled. My mother would wipe a proud tear from her crinkly eyes as she read my words.

Well, some dreams come true and others — ones like my tongue-in-cheek Vanity Fair fantasy — may forever be a fable. So what’s a creative girl to do when she still longs for some good Q&A? She whips up her very own questionnaire for all those people who — like her –don’t mind peeling back the layers and sharing who they are.

So here you have it. 10 very random questions I’d ask YOU if we had a sit-down to compare the minds and ways of being right-brainers.

10 Random-ish Questions for Creatives

  1. Your irrefutable talent is?

  2. Teachers say the darnedest things about students.  What did they say about you?

  3. You wanted to grow up to be a …..

  4. A brilliant idea pops into your head. How do you capture it?

  5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used to capture a thought?

  6. If you could trade vocations for 30 days, what would it be?

  7.  You know you’ve been in The Zone when …

  8. In one word, what describes you during a creative slump?

  9. This one’s personal. Is your significant other a Right-Brainer or a Leftie?

  10. Your work has the power to change lives in any way you choose. Your pick?

Are You In?

Share your answers in the comments or — if you post your answers on your own blog please share your link in the comments. I can’t wait to read them, and — should Vanity Fair ring me up — you’ll be the first to know.

By the way, if you’re interested in the backstory to the Proust Questionnaire column, it’s right here.

Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz portrait by John Keatly. Used for Esquire magazine, Spanish Edition (Jan 2012) 
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13 thoughts on “10 Random Questions: From One Creative to Another

  1. 1) Talent: Honest as I know how, writing.
    2) What teachers said: Doesn’t do his work, daydreams, bothers others, fidgets, and chews pencils like a dog.
    3) Wanted to be: A wildly successful actor to support myself as a wildly successful writer. And a poet. And a cowboy.
    4) How do you capture brilliant idea: Find pen under desk, dig legal pad out from under bills, to do lists, and yellow sheets of past brilliant ideas, rip off most recent on from pad and look for my pen again.
    5) Weirdest thing used to capture thought: An open and prepped Word doc.
    6) Trade vocations for 30 days: Can’t think of one that interests me that I haven’t done or tried out.I would like a 30 day vacation, though.
    7) I sit down at my desk in the morning with tea and toast, and I look up when my cell phone alrm goes off at 2:30 reminding me to pick up my daughter from school and my tea and toast sit untouched. And my fingertips hurt (I’m a keyboard pounder)
    8) 1 word for creative slump: Angry
    9) Partner’s brain: She’s an analytical right brainer – a R/L combo I guess.Way smarter than other humans.
    10) Work has the power to change lives how: Win hearts and minds. Like we did in Vietnam.

  2. 1. (Irrefutable talent). An urge to explain by simplifying.
    2. (Teachers say). Doesn’t he ever shut up?
    3. (wanted to be a). History professor.
    4. (brilliant idea). Add it to my Idea Tracker mind map or an ever-present pad
    5. (weirdest thing you’ve captured a thought). Felt tip marketer on my hand
    6. (trade vocations 30 days). Conduct reading hours for grammar school kids)
    7. (in The Zone when). I can’t type fast enough and it doesn’t need editing.
    8. (you during a creative slump). Dark.
    9. (significant other). A patient blend of both.
    10. (change lives in way you choose). Awaken enthusiasm for positive change and possibilities based on existing qualities.

    Great questions! Thank you.

  3. 1. Pissing people off.
    2. “He pisses me off.”
    3. Lawyer, Investment Banker…anything but a Creative Director.
    4. Write in a moleskin in handwriting I can’t read.
    5. iPhone camera, often. That’s something “weird” that I never imagined in 1986 when I started in the business.
    6. Surgeon. Some of the tech we use is as precise as a surgeon’s tools. No, we don’t do brain surgery, but we do use rocket science.
    7. When a good logo comes out of the ashes to connect with real visual cues, invoking an emotion.
    8. Doubting.
    9. Right brainer.
    10. Providing good-paying jobs for thousands in a new, inspired industry.

  4. 1. Irrefutable talent? Finding a silver lining/learning opportunity in every challenging situation.
    2. What teachers said – Stop daydreaming/writing poetry/reading a book, and pay attention!
    3. You wanted to grow up to be a ….. Xenobiologist.
    4. Capturing brilliant ideas? Notebooks or sketchbooks.
    5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used to capture a thought? I use junk mail envelopes the most frequently. Then I have to remember where I put them…
    6. If you could trade vocations for 30 days, what would it be? Acrobat.
    7. You know you’ve been in The Zone when … I hear Spouse’s key in the door, and I realize I’ve been writing this one piece all day.
    8. In one word, what describes you during a creative slump? Depressed.
    9. This one’s personal. Is your significant other a Right-Brainer or a Leftie? Right-brained. (I’m more ambi-brained.)
    10. Your work has the power to change lives in any way you choose. Your pick? I’d like more people to fall in love with their watersheds.

  5. 1. Your irrefutable talent is? // I’m exceptionally coordinated. Driving, running, etc… If it requires great eye-hand-coordination, I’m your man!

    2. Teachers say the darnedest things about students. What did they say about you? // He’s so smart, if he would just apply himself…

    3. You wanted to grow up to be a // Surgeon

    4. A brilliant idea pops into your head. How do you capture it? // audio recording on my phone.

    5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used to capture a thought? // My camera

    6. If you could trade vocations for 30 days, what would it be? // Buddhist Monk

    7. You know you’ve been in The Zone when // hours fly by and they seem like minutes.

    8. In one word, what describes you during a creative slump? // Boring.

    9. This one’s personal. Is your significant other a Right-Brainer or a Leftie? // Lefty – Major Lefty.

    10. Your work has the power to change lives in any way you choose. Your pick? // Genetics and Biology – Curing disease, specifically cancer. The best scientists are the most creative and imaginative thinkers!

  6. Alright – Alright. It’s my turn to answer my own questions, eh? Here you go.

    1. Your irrefutable talent is? Writing from the gut.

    2. Teachers say the darnedest things about students. What did they say about you?

    “Kelli is a smart girl and though she completes her assignments quickly, she distracts her fellow students who need to finish their own work.”

    3. You wanted to grow up to be a ….. Writer. Go figure.

    4. A brilliant idea pops into your head. How do you capture it?

    (Laughing) Any way I can. In a notebook, on an envelope. I’ll text myself, call myself. My iPad and iPhone are chock full of mental tidbits. Problem is, they’re strung out everywhere.

    5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used to capture a thought?

    Toilet paper.

    6. If you could trade vocations for 30 days, what would it be?

    A safari guide, minus the honey badger.

    7. You know you’ve been in The Zone when …

    Time evaporates and hours have passed. I look at the work I’ve created and say to myself “damn, girl, who knew you had that in you.”

    8. In one word, what describes you during a creative slump?

    Frustrated.

    9. This one’s personal. Is your significant other a Right-Brainer or a Leftie?

    Left. So very very left.

    10. Your work has the power to change lives in any way you choose. Your pick?

    I’d teach or help people use writing as path for emotional healing.

  7. 1. Your irrefutable talent is?
    Making others feel welcome

    2. Teachers say the darnedest things about students. What did they say about you?
    You’re a smart girl – why are you dating him?

    3. You wanted to grow up to be a …..
    Lawyer – what the hell was I thinking?

    4. A brilliant idea pops into your head. How do you capture it?
    I write bulleted lists – lots of lists.

    5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used to capture a thought?
    When I realize that my brain is on a roll with some really good marketing copy, I’m usually driving. I grab my iphone and record my brilliance, but rarely ever listen to it again.

    6. If you could trade vocations for 30 days, what would it be?
    I want to be a meteorologist to see what it’s like to do a job, be wrong most of the time, and never be held accountable. I also want someone to fix my hair, makeup and give me free clothes. They do get to keep the clothes, don’t they?

    7. You know you’ve been in The Zone when …
    Your middle school daughter says from the backseat of the car, “Mom!! Why do you keep talking out loud to yourself? You do that all the time! You’re so weird (eyes rolling).”

    8. In one word, what describes you during a creative slump?
    Bored

    9. This one’s personal. Is your significant other a Right-Brainer or a Leftie?
    Total leftie, so we balance each other out.

    10. Your work has the power to change lives in any way you choose. Your pick?
    Mentor others and give them a sense of optimism.

    • It was entertaining to compare your answers with what I thought you’d write. Answer #6 had me rolling!!! The rest of your answers are exactly I think you rock. Thanks for taking a breather and sharing.

  8. 1.Your irrefutable talent is? Being irrefutable of course! Doh!

    2.Teachers say the darnedest things about students. What did they say about you? “Crap, he’s in my class AGAIN!”

    3.You wanted to grow up to be a- PITA- Nailed it!

    4.A brilliant idea pops into your head. How do you capture it? Hmm tried a plastic dry cleaners bag. After I woke up decided that wasn’t the best method. Am open to suggestions on this one.

    5.What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used to capture a thought? A dart gun. It fell out of the tree pretty hard though.

    6.If you could trade vocations for 30 days, what would it be? Any vocation lasting longer than 30 days.

    7. You know you’ve been in The Zone when. You see the redlights in your mirror. I’ve seen them in school zones, construction zones etc.

    8.In one word, what describes you during a creative slump? Very slumpy as in not upright at all. Mostly asleep. In other words pretty much my entire day.

    9.This one’s personal. Is your significant other a Right-Brainer or a Leftie? She’s a both brainer. It works because according to her I’m a half brainer.

    10.Your work has the power to change lives in any way you choose. Your pick? I choose sparkly. Everyone should be more sprarklier. Just like my pal Kelli :-)

    • Your answers just gave me a bigger smile than my mid-day coffee. Well done, Charlie! My favorite response if the one you gave for #7.

      Thanks for playing. :)

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