Elizabeth Heimbaugh was born in Akron, Ohio, and graduated with an English Literature degree from Stanford University. She currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she is taking classes to prepare for application to medical school. In the meantime, she enjoys good books, euchre, dogs, faith, holistic healing, vegetable gardens, learning languages, and a few other things.
This blog is a way for her to share the poems, stories, and little scraps of journal entries she composes.
Write to her at eheimbau [at] alumni [dot] stanford [dot] edu.
The Proust Questionnaire.
Your favorite virtue?
Simplicity and freedom of spirit: a childlike capacity for joy and trust. Gentleness of spirit.
Your favorite qualities in a man?
A lively intelligence, a confidence that never veers into arrogance, warmth, tenderness, truthfulness, a deep capacity for love. Physically, nice shoulder-blades and jawline, thick hair.
Your favorite qualities in a woman?
Kindness, a keen intelligence, a graceful sort of beauty, an impulse to seek truth, warmth, faith, deep love for life and people and animals.
Your chief characteristic?
I’m not sure, but an onlooker would probably notice that I always carry a book and mark me as a reader. If I lived a full life—I mean, according to how I really wish to live one day—then they’d say at my funeral: Here lies a woman who loved God, loved all creation, carried herself gently on the earth, and, observing the world, put her thoughts into writing.
What you most appreciate in your friends?
Their willingness to accept and encourage me and give me a different view of the world.
Your main fault?
Excessive self-doubt and self-concern and a tendency to overcomplicate.
Your favorite occupation?
Your idea of happiness?
Broadly, peaceful union with God and participating in love to the fullest extent.
In the day-to-day ways? Having plenty of time to read; making daily visits to a quiet chapel or a beautiful church; eating dinner with my family (parents, brothers, grandparents) every week; seeing my family happy and getting along; cooking with food straight from the earth; marrying and growing old with someone I love; working as a writer whose books get read and enjoyed; knowing how to speak five languages; adopting a dog; riding horses; feeling very, very healthy and alive.
Your idea of misery?
Continuing to live in an interminable state of illness. Despairing of God’s existence. Having no one to love or be loved by. Working in a dreary, stale job. Having nothing to read.
If not yourself, who would you be?
The wiser, more graceful, more enlightened version of myself!
Where would you like to live?
In a castle in the European countryside, or in a cottage with a garden and a library. With my family close by.
Your favorite color and flower?
Pastels, like ballet pink, lavender, and a soft shade of blue. Silver and white, too.
As for flowers: roses, hydrangea, tulips. Lilies have a special emotional meaning and lilacs have a pretty smell.
Your favorite bird?
I seem to always write about swallows, for one reason or another.
Your favorite prose authors?
A question I wish I could answer better, but the response depends on my mood and my memory. Some of my favorites have been J. D. Salinger, Thomas Merton, and several writers who wrote for children.
Your favorite poets?
Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sappho, Edna St. Vincent Millay, W. B. Yeats.
Your favorite heroes in fiction?
My mind is drawing a blank right now! (Edited to add: Prince Myshkin from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot!)
Your favorite heroines in fiction?
Hermione Granger, Beauty of Beauty and the Beast, Jo March, Cassandra Mortmain, Elizabeth Bennet, Elizabeth/Betsy of Understood Betsy.
Your favorite painters?
Impressionists, mostly. Degas, Monet, Mary Cassatt. Illustrators like Edward Gorey and Angela Barrett.
Your favorites heroes and heroines in real life?
Some saints; some writers; people who live fully, not fearfully.
Your favorite food and drink?
At the moment I’m really enjoying raspberries, raw honey, and Japanese sweet potatoes.
Your favorite names?
Catherine for a girl, also Madeline. James or Benjamin or Peter or Gabriel for a boy. I also like my own name of Elizabeth, which comes from the Hebrew Elisheva, meaning “consecrated to God” or “God’s oath” or “God’s promise.”
What I hate most?
Willful evil. Arrogance. Phoniness.
The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with?
A fearless nature, beauty, musical prowess.
How I wish to die?
In perfect peace, with a heart full of love.
What is your present state of mind?
Distressed at how much trouble I have in answering some of these questions.
For what fault have you most toleration?
Faults that I have fallen prey to myself.
Your favorite motto?
With God all things are possible.