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Marianne Martin Takes the Proust Questionnaire

From Issue 80 • Introduction by John Wilcockson, Illustration by Matthew Burton.

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As soon as Marianne Martin heard there was going to be a Tour de France for women in 1984, she set her sights on being there. She’d only been riding a couple of years, but from her very first race she knew she was a strong climber. She was also very determined. A rare form of anemia kept her from riding her best early that year, and she missed out on qualifying for the U.S. Olympic road team. Nor was she selected for the national team destined for the inaugural Tour Féminin—but one spot was still open. A cycling friend, multi-champion Steve Tilford, went with her to see national coach Eddie B. in Colorado Springs to plead (and win) her case. Martin paid for own airfare to get to Paris; three weeks later she was on the podium alongside men’s Tour winner Laurent Fignon. Winning the Tour was the highlight of Martin’s cycling career and it took a couple of years, working two jobs, to pay off the debts she’d incurred getting there (there were no female pro cyclists back then). In the years since, Martin worked as an advertising executive before becoming a successful portrait and wedding photographer in Boulder, Colorado. Like a true champ, she tackled the Proust questionnaire for us….


What is your idea of perfect happiness? Laughing with friends.

What is your greatest fear? Losing my health.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Procrastination.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Inconsideration.

Which living person do you most admire? No response.

What is your greatest extravagance? Pedicures.

What is your current state of mind? Overwhelmed.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? I don’t think virtues can be overrated.

On what occasion do you lie? No response.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? Concern lines.

Which living person do you most despise? Trump.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Respect for a woman.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Humor.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Can you stand it?!”

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Rob.

When and where were you happiest? Anytime I’m with people I love.

Which talent would you most like to have? Pastel painting.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My age.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Making a living as a photographer.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? An eagle; I’ve always wanted to fly.

Where would you most like to live? Southern France.

What is your most treasured possession? My dog.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Not being able to take care of oneself.

What is your favorite occupation? Artist/painter.

What is your most marked characteristic? Sense of humor.

What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.

Who are your favorite writers? John Lennon.

Who is your hero of fiction? Spenser [the main character in a series of detective novels written by Robert B. Parker].

Which historical figure do you most identify with? No response.

Who are your heroes in real life? No response.

What are your favorite names? No response.

What is it that you most dislike? Anger.

What is your greatest regret? Not telling people how much I care for them.

How would you like to die? Laughing.

What is your motto? “If not now, when?”

From issue 80.