• this post was first originally published on my blog, Western Daughter. The Questionnaire was published by Vanity Fair in their 2016 Holiday Issue. Read the full excerpt with DJ Khaled here.

This time of year — the holidays — is a time to reflect, to be grateful, and to give. But amidst so much hustle and bustle we can lose sight of the larger picture, and may miss out on the beauty that is this time of renewal and refocus.

Enter the December issue of Vanity Fair, a glossy tome of Arts & Culture that arrives in my mailbox monthly. Their Proust Questionnaire — which shows up as the very last page near the back cover of the magazine — is one of my favorite recurring features in current magazine writing. Apart from Jim Nelson’s monthly Editor’s Letter in GQ and Vogue’s reliably astute books round-up, Vanity Fair’s ‘Proust Questionnaire’ is always a breezy, affable, and wholly digestible bit of celebrity interview that is both illuminating and hilarious. This month’s featured celebrity, DJ Khaled, offered an optimistic and wise perspective that I hope to adopt in the coming months of 2017.

We cannot deny that 2016 has been a smack-down of a year. We were having a hard time at the start with the loss of Bowie and the tragic demise of Prince. Then we lost Sharon Jones, there was Orlando, there was Philando Castile, there was Brock Turner, there was the rise of fake news, a flurry of un-friending across an entire country’s Facebook page on November 9th, and we learned of a terrifying man named Steve Bannon and his equally terrifying news site, Brietbart. We saw the rancor of a country divided throughout a divisive election and all of this was book-ended with the election of Donald J. Trump to the highest office in the land, and the death of musical heroes Leonard Cohen and now, today. George Michael. When the people that brought a country feel-good classics like ‘Hallelujah” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” are gone after such a tumultuous and anxiety-ridden time, what is one to think? Surely, 2016 was not the end of time, but at some points, it certainly felt that way.

We must remain optimistic, and we must become stronger and more sage-like from our losses. We must, as DJ Khaled says, remain exultant and extravagant in our celebration of life, remembering to wake up, rise up, and breathe, seeking out positive vibes and keeping those who bring negativity at bay. So with that, I bring you DJ’s Khaled’s answer to the ‘Proust Questionnaire’, first published in the December 2016 Issue of Vanity Fair. I hope you find it as inspiring and motivating as I did.



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