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Proust Questionnaire Guest Blogger Jamie Brisick

Well, hello again! Excuse my absence… reality got in the way. As much as I would like to while away my day writing my blog, doing my shop, policing my family, or spending the day outside in the Palais Royal, sometimes my life gets in the way. As much as I like to pretend that I am “normal”, alas, I am not. This week as I was packaging up all of your purchases from the sale, my beautiful little feeding tube started to interrupt my life and I had to “tend” to it. Hell on earth is an understatement. Not to bore you with the details or the gore… let’s just say that I survived… barely. Painkillers are my new best friend. I don’t even need them anymore as the pain has subsided… but I’m gonna continue our friendship, regardless.
While I am recuperating for the 100th fucking time, let’s continue our Proust Questionnaire with my friends because at this juncture they are far more interesting than this chick over here in Paris with stupid ALS.

Today’s Q & A is from my friend, Jamie Brisick. Truth be told, Jamie is my first crush. I was 16 or 17 years old and I met Jamie at the beach and fell head over heels in love. How could I not? He was a dashing intellectual… surfer. Usually intellectual and surfer do not go hand in hand but in Jamie’s case, he was exactly that. On top of this, he was also the funniest, wittiest, most handsome man on earth… still is to this day. But don’t tell him that I said any of this. For our 1st date, if you could call it that, Jamie took me to Zooma Sushi in Malibu for dinner and as the waiter asked for our drink order Jamie looked at me and said, “Care for a Fresca?” I was in love. I like to call him Dogface just to keep his ego intact. Jamie went from surfer to editor of Surfer Magazine to brilliant author penning 2 books. His latest book, Becoming Westerly, is a beautiful tribute to a delicate subject. “BECOMING WESTERLY is much more than a book about a celebrated surfer who becomes a woman—in this case, a dude who becomes a diva. Brisick presents us with a case study of narcissism, of the pathology of celebrity, and a detailed look at the complex world of competitive surfing. It is a funny and painful book, too, and one I greatly enjoyed. —Paul Theroux, Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories, The Last Train to Zona Verde, The Great Railway Bazaar and Mosquito Coast


Discover Jamie more through his website,, and I am sure you will become as smitten with him as I was am with Dogface.
Proust Questionnaire for Jamie: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Jamie’s Answer: For me, the lowest depth of misery has been doing something that feels wholly out of line with who I am, what I believe in, what makes me happy. This can come in many forms. I have felt it in a shitty relationship, where I feel like everything is compromise. But most terrifying for me has been when I've felt it in my work.

 I'm spoiled. I've been fortunate enough to align work with the things I love. But every once in a while that gets skewed. A long while back I took a job as the editor of a surfing magazine. I thought it would be "playing in the sand box." Instead, I inherited a nightmare of Excel spread sheets that were far beyond my skill set. I was exposed to the harsh truth of compromised magazine making: advertisers called the shot. I was also expected to be a kind of glad-handing puppet/frontman, a smiling and baby-kissing politician of sorts. That felt dishonest. It felt like I was trying to live someone else's version of me. That was miserable.
As a writer I feel this on a simpler, more immediate scale when I take on a gig that I have no connection with. Writing is tough enough as it is, but writing about something you don't care about is torture. It's a microcosm of falling out of your own flow, losing your mojo, disconnecting from your instincts and intuition.

I have experienced severe loss (my brother many years ago, my wife just recently), and that's more painful than any of the above. But I wouldn't quite call that misery. That's something else.

Thank you, Jamie. You never disappoint.  

Ellie’s Question: What is your favorite charity?
Jamie’s Answer: Waves 4 Water.


  1. To be forced to be something other than ourselves is quite awful, isn't it. Thank you for another interesting Q&A. Also, your package from the shop arrived and the items were splendid. The Herculean efforts to wrap it all so nicely are greatly appreciated. xo

  2. Ellie sending you love and peace. xob

  3. First, hope you are much better...I know I am happy you are up to the blog. Hope you get to the garden soon, that's such a beautiful garden. Second, what a character your friend is, grounded on the right values, i.e. being who he is. That is tough sometimes. You are too. Probably why you are such good friends. Blessings to you!

  4. Thinking of you, Ellie, as always. Sorry for all the crap you're going through, but so glad the pain has gone. You have such interesting friends, and Jamie Brisick is no exception!

  5. Sorry that you had to deal with serious feeding tube issues recently - glad that is behind you.
    Jamie Brisick - another interesting guest blogger.
    Take good care. Hugs from Olivia.

  6. Ellie,I have been thinking of you lately. You are missing the wind here in Provence. The fields are green and the sun decided to come out this weekend. There is a festival in Aix next weekend and I intend to go unless this stupid gas strike continues. As I looked at your photos of the Palais Royal gardens I remembered the last time I was in Paris in the spring. I think it must have been at least 30 years ago. I don't think I will be up until next fall. I promise to ring your door bell then.
    I really enjoyed Jamie's post. Thank you.

  7. "DO YOU WANT A FRESCA!!!!!!!!!'

    1. Jamie, a wise and insightful "keeper"'re irresistible dogface...
      So glad you are getting to the garden in Springtime Paris...sounds as though
      you are also feeling a bit more feisty.. good for you! Keep pushing those boundries.

  8. Keep popping pills and corks as you see fit and we will be here when you can post. I'm headed to do something right now that feels like a lie and betrayal to my soul (working out). Jamie is right, I should have a mimosa and catch up on housewives instead. Carpe diem, you know?

  9. The Reluctant SalonniereMay 29, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    You had me at surfer. My teen years were spent on Zuma, best time ever

  10. Oh La La Jamie ~ Fresca was a favorite of mine, dolled up with cuts of citrus...he had me at the fresca, LOL....
    XOXO hope you got some mail from across the pond in FL.

  11. Jamie's post truly rung clear to me...the world would be a different place if we all stuck to our ideals and dreams...especially when they come together...but I am truly sorry for his recent loss. My best to you both...

    Stay strong, beautiful one...