Narrative 10

Narrative poses a few burning questions for Ann Packer.

1. Who is your favorite character in fiction; your fave character in life?

In fiction I’d have to say Elizabeth Bennet, with Clarissa Dalloway not far behind. Is this because I encountered them when I was young? Probably. Any number of Alice Munro characters could join the party. In life? I have two children, so there’s no way I can answer.


2. Your favorite line (that you or someone else wrote)?

I’m going with the first thing that came to mind: “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” This is a content rather than a style preference and as a favorite would not stand the test of scrutiny. I had to Google it to learn its author: Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Note the comma in his name: fitting to have it here, because it’s my favorite form of punctuation.


3. The play or show you wish you could see again for the first time.

Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman’s extraordinary theatrical adaptation of Ovid. A close second would be Mark Morris’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato—also an adaptation of a kind, come to think of it. Each takes on the project of representing an array of human experience, and I remember feeling ravished by both.


4. Best part of the day?

The last half hour of work. I’m exhausted but want to keep going.


5. Your cure for when the spirit flags?

A hike with a friend.


6. Ten words you use most on the page? In life?

Actually, thinking back, I remember that somewhere deep in my mind I’ve often wondered about just this exact thing. In fact, I still do. But now, quite suddenly, I know.


7. What’s your current obsession?

Transparent, the extraordinary new TV show. It’s so good I want to eat it.


8.What’s the most useful criticism you’ve ever received?

“You tend to take criticism very personally.” It wasn’t a criticism, but it helped me free myself from a longtime source of unhappiness.


9. What did you know at age twelve that you wish you hadn’t forgotten; and/or what do you know now you wish you knew then?

“Absolutely nothing” is the answer to the first part; “It will get so much better” is the answer to the second.


10. To quote Auden, “O tell me the truth about love.” We’re all ears.

See #2.
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