Thursday, June 4, 2009

Are You An Eccentric?

(Juliet Bewicke, Northumberland, England, 
photographed by Tim Walker)

I'm willing to bet that you are. At least I hope so. I much prefer people who stray from the flock rather than cling to the status quo, don't you?

Come on, let's find out.

I discovered this quiz on the ever-fascinating Tavarua The Traveler's blog and was immediately enthralled. Apparently if you have five or more of the following characteristics, you qualify. (Yes, yes, I realize that some of the attributes are highly flattering, but try to answer impartially anyway.)

1. Nonconforming attitude
2. Creative
3. Strongly motivated by curiosity
4. Idealistic
5. Happy obsession with a hobby or hobbies
6. Knew very early in their childhood they were different from others
7. Usually the eldest or only child
8. Opinionated and outspoken
9. Noncompetitive; not in need of reassurance or reinforcement from society
10. Unusual living or eating habits
11. Not interested in the opinions or company of others
12. Mischievous sense of humor
13. Highly intelligent
14. Not a good speller
15. Usually single

Did you escape unscathed? Please tell me you didn't.

So many people I wish I could have met -- Edith Sitwell, Cecil Beaton, Ottoline Morrell, Diana Vreeland, Paul Bowles, Winston Churchill and Isabella Blow, to name just a few -- would have run low on ink before they were done checking off everything on this list. 

According to author David Weeks, "Eccentrics live longer and are happier than the rest of us. It's a combination of an optimistic outlook and low stress. Eccentrics don't give a hoot what the rest of the world thinks of them. In fact, eccentrics revel in the fact that they make people laugh. I think we can all learn a lot from them about holding on to the dreams and curiosity we had as children."

Hurray. Weird is good.
(Boat in library, Northumberland, England, 
photographed by Tim Walker)

Are you a black sheep? Were you raised by one? I really, really want to know.


JanelleGrace said...

Strongly motivated by curiosity
Happy obsession with a hobby or hobbies
Not interested in the opinions or company of others
Mischievous sense of humor

Darn, I almost got out of it.

Unknown said...

Square pegs never fit in a round in a word,

Roberta said...

Always knew I was I know I am...
Nonconforming attitude
Stongly motivated by curiosity
Happy obsession with hobbies
Knew very early was different
Noncompetitive..need no reinforcement from society
Not interested in opinions/company
SO not a good speller

Mrs. Blandings said...

I was nervous - fearing I would be frighteningly conventional. Relief, an outsider as I always thought. Someone told me once that poor spelling is a sign of a highly creative person - I thought they were being nice, but apparently it's a marker!

Design Cupcake said...

Lisa, You are such a delight. I am so happy to know someone who makes it their purpose to make others feel more welcome and inspired in the world. I am SUCH an eccentric (answered yes to all but TWO: Nonconformist/Not interested in others)), which shows I have simply been afraid to show my 'quirks' to the world. Thank you for reminding me that embracing who I am with abandon makes the world a better place. Tea soon? xx r

hellebore said...

I'm afraid I am boringly conventional as I could only honestly answer yes to four on the list. I am an excellent speller (though a rubbish typist, which produces the same results).

Though I do think that eccentricity is an intrinsic part of the English character: those people who are noted for their 'Englishness' are nearly always remarkable likewise for their eccentricity: Oscar Wilde, Alan Bennett, Helena Bonham Carter, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

home before dark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenda said...

Nonconforming attitude.
Strongly motivated by curiosity.
Noncompetitive; not in need of reassurance or reinforcement from society.
Mischievous sense of humor.
Not a good speller.
Usually single.
Opinionated and outspoken.

Well as you can see unscathed and loving it.


Kelly said...

Yes, count me in. Only child, felt different from the get-go, creative, etc. etc. BUT, I am a rockin' speller. Am I still in? :)

My husband fits many of these, too. Our poor children!

Anonymous said...

Oooohhh nooohhh....Is this thing for real?? I almost fainted....Santa Maria...this can't be true...(gulp).., but thank God #13 and #15 brought me back (to somekind of a "normal" person)...those 2 things I'm def. NOT!!! And yes, I know I'm wierd, but who cares!! ;-))

Meg said...

count me in too! So relieved to see that poor speller category! I still have a blog despite that! Idealistic, eldest child, bad speller, creative, happy obsession with a hobby, strongly motivated by curiosity which leads me to travel in a big way.... humm...definitely a black sheep in my conservative southern family! I love this post!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh Lord, do you even have to ask???

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

What a wonderful post-but what's new?
I came out with all but 2- I was the youngest and only girl, and have always been a great speller, however I did always sit myself down at the spelling bees because I was so noncompetitive! These two I guess will save me from Havisham fate (I hope). I was dubbed eccentric by someone in high school and thank god it

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you did this post. I've always felt like the odd ball that doesn't really fit in with the masses. I think I qualify for at least 9 of those, if I wasn't being modest I would go for 10.

pve design said...

Eccentric- perhaps more on the Creative bent than the Crank or Curmudgeon side of Eccentric. We refer to it as living a "new normal" and cheers to spell check and

A Super Dilettante said...

Bravo! Thank you so much for sharing this. Vivienne Westwood came on the top of my list of eccentric! Rumour has it that she used to travel around London by bicycle, dressed in her own flamboyant outfit "with a plastic bag protecting her hair from the elements"! Above all, the eccentrics have idiosyncratic vision without being self-conscious. A lot of eccentrics sometimes don't know they are eccentrics. One of them was Lord Berners who would dip his pigeons into basins of magenta, green and ultramarine so that when released they resembled 'a cloud of confetti in the sky'.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, baa baa black sheep. Except for I am married (to Mr. Eccentric), a good speller and am told I am competitive though I don't care what society says. My family has labeled me as odd, different and other assorted euphemisms that make me very happy.

Tavarua said...

Hi Lisa,

You make me smile as always - just back an hour ago from Geneva to a "travellers nest" (post about Geneva later) Thank you so much to mention my blog.

So - Answer - from an eccentricity family - What could they expect ??? "Tavarua" - Extremely - "Excentrique" - Black Sheep - Exile....and yes we could add an additional list with a few more 16, 17 , 18,.....What about travelling with approximately 20 to 30 oriental carpets, 600 to 800 books, trophies, 30 to 50 engravings, humidors, lapdesks etc....a long list could be written - no that is not my home that is my "travellers nest" from continent to continent ( and no this is not a joke) -

Your blog and posts is/are fantastic... and now...- Lisa and your answer is ?????????????

Have a great weekend....

Tavarua said...

See - I am a bad speller....(jet lag - No) bad speller..

The Little Book Of Us said...

11 Yesses
Should I seek a houseboat and live and dream in it now :-)

Laura said...

I would kill to have a portrait of myself on a horse in my living room. Fabulous. The only horses I've seen inside have been at the Metropolitan Opera and well, that's just not quite the same.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Lisa-

Fabulous post!

I almost dropped my coffee when I saw the horse in living room-plus ballgown. It is so glam and dreamy and English. Glorious and creative.
But it also reminded me of a similar shot in my new book, "Santa Barbara Living' in which the owner (an artist) of an ANDALUSIAN white horse (similar to the one in the shot) is standing in the living room in front of the fireplace. It's v v similar--except it is in Santa Barbara.
Check out Page 213 of 'Santa Barbara Living'-the artist is Gerald Incandela. Photography by Lisa Romerein. There are eccentric horse-lovers everywhere--especially England and California.
Here's to eccentricity and originality.

Tricia said...

The boat photo immediately made me think of my dear friend who has a full size antique stagecoach in her "family room" (think Cinderella travels West)! So good for the psyche.

Anonymous said...

I managed to make the eccentric list! I could certainly move into that wonderful library, a few cushions in the boat, fabulous book and a cup of tea - perfect.

Anonymous said...

Is it too late to post? Grrr I'm always late. 13... I'm number 4 of 5 children, and I don't think I'm opinionated, quite easily swayed actually, if it strikes my fancy.
I'm thinking about blogging but I'm terrible at follow through - too much like commitment. Love your blog.... PgH

Unknown said...

I am so glad to have found like minded souls, I am the oldest of 3and always knew I am different, creative,crazy, not to interested what others really think, not at all a competitive person, but read and sing and make music( not good enough for show and tell, but passionatly) paint and write poetry, I am an not to kill idealist, I have stong opinions, gosh, (but) I am married to a darling man, have 4 kids...that keeps the humor mischievous!
Love that post! Hurrah for eccentrics!

Au revoir, mon amour!

vicki archer said...

Love these Tim Walker shots and I love all eccentrics.....great blog and enjoy the weekend, xv.

Sarah Kramer said...

I am 14 out of 15. *laugh*

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

My personal beliefs of myself have been confirmed yet again -Different is good, and quirky is even better!

I love that I have found your great blog!

Clarity said...

Wow. I think we're all strangers in a world of our own, some just conform to fit in :)

Julie Anne Rhodes said...

Is there any other kind of person worth spending time with? I've been collecting eccentrics for years! In fact Isabella Blow was treasured friend who unfortunately did not know that eccentrics should out live the others. I miss her.

I think this questionaire may be a bit lenient...more a kind of "can you appreciate an eccenteric" than are you one....keep in mind that genius (usually creative as well as intellectual) is one of the most important defining attributes of a true eccentric. Age often plays a factor too...there seems to be this invisible line that when someone, in their younger years might have been considered a bit looney tunes...suddenly gains the respect and is considered an eccentric after a certain age. Just food for thought.


em said...

Think I can join the club even if I'm a good speller (Swedish - not English).
Margaretha the Viking,
who is sitting on the veranda with four sweaters and three blankets and a sunhat while the rain is pouring down and the thermometer tells me it is +15°C (59°F).

Anonymous said...

This is such a fun post. I love those photos and wish I could have seen the photographer attempting to set them up. The one with the horse is quite impressive.

Kim said...

I am so happy to an eccentric! I always classified myself as a geek and am happy that both of my children seem to be following hot on my heels -but to be called eccentric! I shall from this day forth wear an organic turban every monday morning. I may even try a clay pipe, like my great great grandmother used to with her Romany friends.
Thank you for this wonderful post!
Kim xx

Visual Vamp said...

I don't need a quiz ha ha
Love the post.
xo xo

Anonymous said...

Well, I'd disagree with opinionated and outspoken (family, friends and co-workers would heartily agree though) and I'm not as idealistic as I used to be but it is a good explanation of who I am.

About the bad speller, why do people always ask the bad speller to spell things for them? I'm horrible at it yet I get asked on a regular basis. There is a reason I use a browser with spell check.

Susan's Snippets said...


You will be happy to read that SEVEN of them are me!!

gotta pee


Style Court said...

Like my friends here I was thrilled to see poor spelling on the list! And I have to admit, I didn't expect to check off so many qualities. Wow, more of an eccentric than I thought.

Lisa, as Design Cupcake says, you really do make us feel more welcome and inspired in the world.

homemade said...

i love eccentric, it's the only way to be. x

Lalabibaby @ Dreaming of The Simple Life said...

Just popped over from Brigantia Designs blog ..... curious about the quiz ... here goes
1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. Yes
6. Yes
7. Eldest
8. Can be
9. Yes
10. Sometimes
11. Sometimes
12. Yes
13. Sometimes but with the odd senior moment these days
14. excellent speller
15. 30 years married

Looks like I qualify then!!!

Jackie said...

I think I'm very normal and conventional..but I don't know if my neighbours would agree. I suppose it all depends on the norm where you are.

VICTORIA said...

Loving The one with the horse is quite impressive!I'm so glad you did this post,Anyway,I don't think I need these quiz :)... Love your Site!
Love that post! Hurrah for eccentrics!


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