Christopher John Clement
2. Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?
Somewhere warm and near the ocean, but where there is no risk of flooding, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, sharks or sand fleas. If you know of such a place, please tell me.
3. What is your favorite movie and why?
I have so many favorites. My dark, brooding side really loves Harold & Maude, a dark comedy about a troubled young man (played by Bud Cort) who falls in love with an elderly, adventurous woman (played by the incomparable Ruth Gordon). It’s really a brilliant story about how love cures all pain…
My light, care-free side would say Defending Your Life, with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep (and a legendary supporting cast including Rip Torn and Lee Grant.) It takes place in the after-life, where everyone must attend a trial to determine whether they have to go back to earth and live another life, or whether they have earned the privilege of moving on to a higher plane. Essentially, it’s about courage and should be required viewing as far as I’m concerned. It’s hilarious and moving… and it has a special place in my heart because it was one of my mother’s favorite movies. We watched it together one last time when she was in hospice.
4. What was your least-favorite subject in school when you were a kid?
That’s a hard question to answer… mainly because the answer is embarrassing. I hated History. I didn’t see what the past had to do with me. I would retain the facts just long enough to ace the exams and then they’d drift away. To this day I have no idea what the Nez Perce War was and if you try to tell me I will immediately forget it so don’t even bother.
5. What was your nickname when you were a kid?
Chip. Before I was born, my older brother asked if I could be named Chip, after his favorite character in a Sunday comic. My parents didn’t want Chip on my birth certificate, so they named me Christopher, which was the closest respectable name they could come up with, but I was called Chip from day one. In fact, I was pretty much known as Chip until around age 30.
6. Do you believe in God?
I believe in everyone’s right to believe in whatever they want to believe in.
7. What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound that a washing machine makes when it’s coming to the end of the spin cycle. No matter how much the washing machine changes over time, that spinning sound seems to never change — now and 40 years ago — so it feels like a kind of anchor to a simpler time. I usually make a point to stop and take a couple of deep breaths whenever I hear it.
8. If you could do anything other than what you do, as a profession, what would it be?
I’d be a musician, which is my life-long passion. I play guitar, piano and violin — all to varying degrees of awfulness, but I’m practicing.
9. If heaven exists, what do you think it is like?
It’s like a house by the beach where there is no risk of flooding, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, sharks or sand fleas. And someone cooks all your meals while you’re out by the water reading your favorite book. And dogs and cats never die.
10. Do you have siblings?
Yes, I have one brother, twelve years older than me.
11. What is your favorite memory of childhood [something specific]?
This may be because I just read Question #10, but my current favorite is wrapping myself around my brother’s leg — I am probably about 4 years old here — and making him give me a ride by walking around the backyard. That was seriously a good time.
12. If you had to choose between one week traveling around the USA by car, or one week traveling around Europe on a train, which would you choose and why?
Definitely Europe by train… I’ve seen a good bit of the USA, but there’s still so much of Europe I’ve never seen. About twenty years ago, I had the privilege of taking the Orient Express from London to Munich and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. There are numerous trains now that call themselves by the same name, but the true Orient Express, which started operating in 1883, came to a halt in 2009, a victim of the expansion of high-speed rail travel.
13. What inspires you?
Beautiful work, beautiful music, paintings… just anything that is heartfelt and good. Right now, in this particular time of my life, I’m inspired by the fans of my mother’s books — they send me so many encouraging, loving and supportive letters. It inspires me to work even harder to keep the story going.
14. Which holiday do you prefer, Christmas or July 4th?
15. What project or idea are you most passionate about, right now?
I’ve been collecting naive art, paintings by “untrained” artists, paint by numbers, sketches, etc. that I’ve come across over the years in garage sales and old antique stores. I’m not a very good interior designer, so mostly just out of fear and/or indecisiveness I’ve had them stacked up and leaning against the wall for way too long. Today I’m going to go buy some picture hooks and just start hanging them willy-nilly and see what happens. For some strange reason, I’m really, really excited about it.
16. Do you know how to cook?
Yes. But I’m lazy, so it doesn’t happen daily.
17. What is your favorite thing to cook/eat?
I’m a vegetarian, so this may sound boring to some… but there’s nothing better than some freshly roasted vegetables piled up on a bed of couscous or quinoa with some fresh arugula and sliced avocado. If you have some mango slices to add to it, you are in heaven. In fact, add that to my answer for #9.
18. What is your favorite book?
This one is easy: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I think it is sheer perfection. I keep a copy on my bed stand and read a little every night. I would venture to say that I’ve easily read it a hundred times. It never gets old. A lesser known favorite is Denis Johnson’s Fiskadoro, a heartbreaking and deeply moving novel about a post-apocalyptic society. It couldn’t be more beautifully written.
19. Who do you love the most in the world?
My partner of thirty years and my pit bull, Zoe.
20. What question has nobody ever asked you, but you wanted to answer?
Do you regret spending the millions you made from your lucrative modeling career on world-class food, luxury travel, designer clothes, and donations to children’s charities? Answer: No.