|The Disposable Nature of Nose-Blowing: An Interview with David C. White |
by B. Clifford
[ Recently, B. Clifford sat down with David C. White, his cousin and some-time artistic collaborator, at the latter's home in Leesburg, Va. After a pleasant exchange regarding the past week, Clifford asked White, budding filmmaker, writer, musician, and video store sales clerk, about nothing in particular. ]
Clifford: [microphone rustles against the couch cushions] Don't shake it!
White: Uh, I'm try...I'm sorry.
C: How are you doing?
W: I'm...um.... [sigh]
C: Yup. This is not a good sign.
W: I'm doing good, doing okay. Feeling the pressure of the interview. Gotta be witty.
C: OK, there's a word limit, so....
C: What are your goals for this exchange?
W: See I'm not really sure what the interview is covering, so as far as that's concerned I don't know. I'm here because you asked. You, aside from being family, are also a very good friend of mine, and you're not in a position to be denied something.
C: Okay, thank you. We'll start off easy. Name one place you'd like to be right now.
W: I'd like to be watching Mary Prankster perform. Just haven't seen her in quite a while. As far as a location, there's several places I'd like to go, you know. I'd like to go to Ireland, Japan, see New Zealand, Greece.
C: Why those places?
W: All of those hold an inherent mystery about them. They all have very distinct cultures, and they all interest me, those cultures, those places.
C: If you had to lose one appendage?
W: Probably one of my pinky toes.
C: Mmm.... I'm thinking larger. Let's say a limb. We're talking limbs.
W: OK, probably one of my legs.
C: Which one?
W: Doesn't really matter.
W: Walking has never been a big strong point for me, never been much of a runner [laughter]. Whereas hands are what I use to write and um...mold clay?
C: If you could converse with me for a week straight about one topic and one topic only, what would you pick?
W: Geez, probably movies, because I know more about them, so I could keep the conversation going for probably a week. If that weren't allowed, then probably music. I'd say you love music as much as I love movies, so either topic really would be a fascinating conversation.
C: Why do you think I asked you to do this?
W: You know, I asked you that, and you...I don't know if you ever gave me a clear....
C: [laughter] You notice how I did that?
C: What a punk I am. Have you ever used a handkerchief?
W: Not to blow my nose. I've...never...used a handkerchief to blow my nose. I have used it to wipe my brow during my sister's wedding. It was stifling hot in the church so I used a handkerchief quite a bit, that our grandmother gave me. But never for blowing noses. I always felt nose-blowing should be a disposable event.
C: How do you visualize time?
W: [laughter] Probably as a pit of sand, like an hourglass.
C: Like each day is a grain?
W: Yeah, well almost each second is a grain. It seems to me, as a kid, you've got this great big desert, you know? And time is infinite you know, there's no boundaries. And as you get progressively older, you notice that it's...your desert has become more of an island. It gets smaller. If I had to name one of my fears in my life, it would be wasting time.
C: I visualize time as like a wheel, or say...see, I visualize a year actually as a horizontal ellipse, with January on the upper right-hand corner of the oval, moving counter clockwise, with some months longer than the others. But say a week is definitely wheel.
W: Huh. You do know that people aren't here for you right?
C: Well I....
W: I'm just [laughter] you know....
C: [sigh] Who's your favorite cousin?
W: I'm gonna have to go with Erik. [laughter] No, I love Erik to death, and I wish he and I talked more, but we don't, and we have vastly different lives, you know? I would have you give it to you, not just because you're sitting here, but....
C: I win!
W:...because you and I are the only ones that still talk on, you know, a non-family related basis.
B: You're right, you are so right.
D: To be honest with you, for a while there it was probably my cousin Shawn, but unfortunately, he's sort of disappeared off the map and I would assume is right now either drinking himself to death, or is already and I just haven't gotten the news.
C: Let's go back a bit. What was the first thing you thought when you saw that dart you threw sticking out of my skull?
W: [laughter] The first thought was that it wasn't happening, because it was such a bizarre thing. Because there you were, up against the wall, and there was the dartboard, and I knew I threw it with enough force that, mathematically, it was impossible for that dart to have gone straight south and into your head. Looking back on it now, I see I was afraid of hitting you with a direct hit so I...pulled it a little bit, so it actually curved into your head. So I was so afraid of hitting you, that I inadvertently hit you in the head with a dart.
C: That's love.
W: [laughter] That's something. How old were we? Eight? Because eight-year-olds can't do that kind of math of that stature.
C: Ten, actually. Ok more tough choices here: Castle Greyskull or Snake Mountain?
W: Well, in the cartoon, taken from a story basis, Castle Greyskull. But if you're talking about toys? It's gotta' go to Snake Mountain for the microphone alone.
C: Of the National Lampoon vacation movies, starring Beverly D'Angelo and Chevy Chase, which is your favorite?
W: It's gotta' be Christmas Vacation. Although European Vacation is really good.
C: Yeah, that's almost the sentimental favorite. That or the first one, but the thinking man goes for Christmas Vacation every time.
W: Yeah because we've all had those Christmases, but not everyone's been to Europe.
C: Why do you write?
W: Because I have to. I honestly don't have a choice. There are certain things inside of me that um...need to be...um...out. And it's the only...it's the easiest way for me to express myself.
C: Good. Does this whole thing here make you uncomfortable?
W: At first, but I'm kind of getting into the groove of it.
C: Please draw yourself.
W: I can't draw myself.
C: I didn't ask if you could.
W: Okay, can we keep going though?
C: Oh, of course.
C: Current projects.
W: Um, I'm working on several projects. Actually, I really actually have a phobia talking about my projects, especially to a large group of people. Now you know what I'm working on, but I usually don't like to talk about it too much, so...I can only go into it in general terms. Um, I'm doing a documentary with my friend Matthew, and I'm working on a script for a contest. And we're also looking at some other projects...perhaps looking at bringing Waiting for Harry to the screen.
C: About time.
W: It is about time, you're right.
C: Hit me.
W: Hit you?
W: Like physically? For real? Or for fake?
C: For real.
W: OK [hits Clifford in shoulder with a fisted hand] Uh...that was kind of a half-hit...maybe twenty-five percent power. I mean that was a real hit, but in the grand scheme of a fight, I dunno.
C: If you were a Care Bear, which one would you be?
W: [laughter] You know, I have no idea. I'm not too familiar with the names of Care Bears.
C: A Wuzzle?
W: "I have a Wuzzle; his name is Peanut."
C: Very good.
C: You're in a band.
W: I was. It started with myself, my friends Gavin and Ryan, with a microphone attached to a computer, Gavin's electric guitar with a crappy amp, and a chair with arms on it as percussion. In one night, we wrote three songs: "Tank", "Harvey", and ...um...that's it. "H. Clark" and "Halloween" came along after we added Charlie to the mix. The big culmination of the band, named Sun-Cracked Vinyl, was a few years ago when we played a gig in Gavin's house for um...for about ten high school kids. But it was fun. Three hours before that show, well three hours before we played for ten high-schoolers in Gavin's apartment, [my friend] Matthew came on board as our bassist, learned our complex songs in about thirty minutes, and did really a...a...fabulous job with it. Hats off to him.
C: Why do you get up in the morning?
W: Rare is the day, really. But I get out of bed um...because I'm not really tired anymore.
C: I see.
W: But to write, I often have to force myself, but sometimes I won't be able to get to sleep unless I put down what's in my head or whatever.
C: Ok, you have to get up and storm out of the room now.
W: Is this the end?
C: Well there's a word limit, and I kind of want to go home now.
W: Oh. You didn't ask about G-14 yet.
C: Fine. What is G-14?
W: It's a company I started with Matthew, basically because we knew no one would hire us, due to our lack of experience with filming and whatnot, so we started a production company. It's named for an apartment Matthew shared with [my friend] Nahal in college. Nahal went to Louisville. We've done commercials, and we've done some side work Well no one's really seen what we've done, but if you're interested, go to http://www.geocities.com/sipmovie and you'll see our site for the movie we did based on Strangers in Paradise, a book by Terry Moore.
C: Can you storm out now?
W: Can't you just write it?
C: I could, but for validity's sake...
W: Fine. This interview's over!