SIDE A – Entering the town…
Diane. Age 4: Childhood memory. I hear the first notes of the music intro of a TV show. It is a calm and soothing melody. I see there is a bird on-screen. I remember that it is on channel five (back when there was only five channels). I was not allowed to watch it. My parents told me that it was time for bed. I did go to bed, but that melody was haunting.
At age twenty-two I was discovering the joys of reading and literature, Diane. It was a time of disconnection with my studies, my friends and to a degree my family – with the exception of my brother –. I was contemplating the idea of going to some sort of film school, following the footsteps of writer-director Kevin Smith. I looked up to him for his charisma, his ability to express his thoughts, the message in his movies – particularly Chasing Amy –, and his lectures at different colleges throughout the USA filmed for the “Evening With Kevin Smith” DVD. I watched all his movies religiously with all the extras. I favoured the Clerks X Making Of a bit more than the others. It was, and is, inspiring to see how a kid from Jersey made his dream come true and whenever I doubted about going to film school I used that for fuel. Of course, we both know that eventually that wasn’t enough to fill the tank. In this Making Of, Smith mentions that his first idea for Clerks was very much in the vein of Twin Peaks with the store receiving visits from strange characters.
Taking everything the man said as holy writ and my childhood memory, I downloaded and watched Twin Peaks. That was my first taste of David Lynch, Diane.
That same year I also joined a film history class in college which required a year-end project analysis about a movie. In the list of films available there was “Blue Velvet” also by David Lynch. I remember I did the project with a girl I used to have a crush on and a new friend of hers that, I felt, had substituted me. He did not want to include in the analysis of the film the iconic scene featuring Dean Stockwell’s character, Ben, singing “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison. What a douche, Diane.
That was my second taste of David Lynch. (Random Trivia: watch until the end for a line that made its way to Clerks)
That year I also wrote my first short story. Remind me to send it over to you once I get back Diane. I think it is fairly decent material for a first stab. It was for a college competition titled “Tell us a remarkable experience at college”. I am of course paraphrasing but that was the main idea behind what the text should be. I’ve told you many times that I hated everything about college, but still, I felt I could somewhat connect the competition with the story about a girl I had recently broken up with, and it seemed like a good excuse to write about it – as a purge of sorts –. In that short story I
stole borrowed Agent Cooper’s joke from episode one of Twin Peaks about the JFK murder, and yes, you heard me right, I did throw in a Kennedy assassination joke on a story about meeting this girl. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking Diane.
Years later I watched The Elephant Man, Mullholand Drive and I tried to watch Inland Empire, but it was too weird for my taste. My interest on David Lynch waned until a few months ago Diane.
When I was twenty-nine Blink 182 released California. The newest album in five years and also the first one featuring Matt Skiba, taking the role of guitarist and vocalist, after the departure of founding member Tom DeLonge who had decided to focus his side project “Angels & Airwaves” and a career in ufology.
I learned that Matt Skiba played in a group called Alkaline Trio and that one of his favourite books was “Catching The Big Fish” by David Lynch, and allow me to quote directly Diane as I hate getting my facts wrong: “That’s the book that got me into transcendental meditation. Before, I always thought meditation was some hippy-cult thing, but David Lynch is one of me heroes and he’s been meditating for over 30 years“. This is the first time that this book appeared on my radar.
The 9th of March 2017 is my brother’s girlfriend birthday. I gave her as a present the Joss Whedon film “Much Ado About Nothing” and, for some odd reason unknown to me still to this day, she also decided to give me “Catching the Big Fish”. They should put a picture of her next to the definition of “cool” on the dictionary.
14th of June. I’m six episodes into the new Twin Peaks season. Lynch once again shows that nobody does television like him. I’m fifty pages into Dracula and I’m just not getting into it. I’ve tried and failed to read one page a day for the past few months of “Catching the Big Fish” with the hope that each thought and observation would sink in better. The night it is really hot. There is a heat wave and I can’t sleep. I finished the book and write to the my brother’s girlfriend whom I’d address from now onwards as the “Log Lady”. I tell the Log Lady that I loved the book and I arrange for my brother (from now on “Bob”) to give The Log Lady the Blu-Ray of the documentary David Lynch – The Art Life as a surprise. That’ll teach her a lesson to go around giving me presents without any reason whatsoever.
*End of tape*
SIDE B – Things to Come
David Lynch is a writer, a director, a painter, an actor, a musician – perhaps a mad sound engineer would be a better term –, but I think the best way to defines him is as an artist, or more specifically a very talented artist. Whether you like or dislike his output it is unquestionable that his work creates a reaction that can range from complete and total what-the-fuckness (I believe that is technical term) to awe and admiration. I tend to swing between these two as I consider myself a fan of his, but I’d be lying if I said that all his work appealed to me – I still can’t figure out Inland Empire or Mullholand Drive – .
Watching the new season of Twin Peaks I was reminded of just how exciting, refreshing, different and personal his work is. When Twin Peaks aired in the nineties there was nothing like it on TV and twenty-five years later these men (let’s not forget Mark Frost, the often unsung hero) have done it again. There is nothing like the new season of Twin Peaks on TV.
I’ve seen people go out of their way to analyze the writing, the visuals, the symbology and meaning of each scene of this new season– to be fair this dissection has been inflicted on all of Lynch’s work –, but I feel that this exercise of rationalization is ultimately futile and will only lead to a simplification of the work or to flat-out speculation – with the proverbial mix of frustration too –. As a viewer my recommendation is that you (Yes. I’m talking to you Internet) try to experience his art and forget about conventional narrative structures and intellectual reasons behind images and instead focus on the sensations, ideas and feelings they generate.
Having read “Catching the Big Fish” I’ve understood that David Lynch’s work does not always come from rationality, but rather inspiration – one day he put his hands on a warm car and suddenly he came up with the idea of the red room–,meditation or even dreams. In those instances plot is going to take a back seat to explore those ideas, and based on my own dreams I know the difficulty in finding any form of logic in them. This does not mean that the end product should not be subject to interpretation or criticism, I just think that it is important to take the right approach. A large part of the negative comments that David Lynch receives is that he doesn’t make sense and that his plots are all over the place, but that is like looking at a painting and saying that it needs more words or that the book needs more special effects. That is not the focus.
The book also deals with meditation. Unfortunately I’m in no place to talk about this subject for sheer lack of knowledge outside of what I just read, but I’d recommend this book to those also unfamiliar as it provides a nice introduction to the concept and ideas behind meditation. I also can’t verify whether Lynch found this through meditation or if it was just life experience, but I want to share a quote from the last page of the book: True happiness is not “out there”. True happiness lies within. I consider myself a man of many words and I hate reducing things to simple sentences but I think this statement nails it on the head (and there are a few of these in the book).
To end, I’d like to dedicate this post to the person that gave me this book (apparently she was none-too-thrilled with my previous dedication. I can’t really understand why). Not only is she responsible for the awesome main picture, but she is also one of the few people that encourages me to write… plus she is like this weird hybrid of a really cute bunny and a human. This post is for you, you adorable cuteness freak!
I had this book on my bedside table for a few months but I read it in one sitting on the 14th of June, because I just didn’t feel like reading Dracula –I’ll get there in a few posts–. I’ve been really busy with work hence the lack of posts but I’m having some time off soon. I can’t wait to sit down and read and/or write.
Random Trivia: this post’s structure was inspired by “The Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Cooper”. If you are a fan of Twin Peaks and you haven’t heard these, give yourself a treat! They are priceless.