Sunday, July 15, 2007

i want to believe

i love David Lynch. i have not loved all of his movies. when i first saw Blue Velvet, i was in Atlanta after a summer-long retreat to a little cabin in North Carolina, where my former hairdressing colleague and friend (and crush) Alfredo and i tried to evict our demons by working together at the salon by day (i didn't have my NC license, so i was a "shampoo girl," which i sort of loved in the humility it conferred, humility that was useful to my project of overcoming ____________). we would go hiking in the evenings (magic). back at the cabin, i would sit alone outside on the hill at night, smoke a single marlboro light, and try to stay within myself and out of Alfredo's orbit, which i had been drawn to for so long (i had, i told myself, more important work than making a man who was engaged to a wealthy woman he did not love fall in love w/ someone trying so hard to overcome _____________). it was a fabulously liberating summer, despite my desire and maybe even because of it (that humbling desire for an impossible love that forces you back into yourself).

so after my retreat, i went to Atlanta to see my sister and her husband. i was a little out of it because i felt i had been sort of protected by Alfredo, Alfredo's cabin, his dog Maggie (was it?) and our shared committements ( i think we sort of did fall in love, but we kept it all very cool and worked separately on our stuff; plus, the absent fulfillment fed my self-pity angle -- in the most therapeutic terms -- it was about humility, the kind of humility that allowed me to love being a waitress all those years. i loved refilling a cup of coffee). so now i'm in Atlanta, and the first thing Carrie and Frank (ha!) do is take me to see Blue Velvet. i think i made it to the Frank/gas scene before i, a.) asked for the keys to the car, b.) asked the theater manager for a refund (he gave it), and c.) sat outside, shaken, until Carrie and Frank emerged, elated, vibrating with pleasure over what they'd seen.

i. did. not. understand. i think i was a little angry. and i was fearful for my stay in Atlanta, which wasn't so bad but was difficult.

years later, i watched Blue Velvet and must admit that i did not feel a sense of belonging in the supercool club of viewers (many of my friends) who considered it a work of genius. the film still disturbs me in a very non-pleasurable way (mind you, i like a somewhat disturbing film. but. not. this). later, i enjoyed Wild at Heart and fell MADLY in love with Mulholland Drive (see earlier post on the Lynchian homage to Godard). still waiting to see Inland Empire.

i understand cinematic violence, how it can do things that are not wholly w/out merit, how it's problematic to cycle notions of causality between a film and actual scenes of violence. but i don't deal well w/ cinematic violence at all, and so i miss out on discussions of the brilliance of some of Lynch's work and, say, Quentin Tarantino. still, there is violence done well (ach, that rings crudely in my ears), and so Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction work whereas all Kill Bill iterations were/are just awful, un-processable in any pleasurable way. i hear friends talk of the brilliance of Grindhouse and can't bring myself to it. heard that as a filmmaker i must see Sin City . . . didn't finish that either.

one friend was at the Sundance Filmmaker Labs when Martin Scorcese was there (it's simply unacceptable to say it, but i'm not a big fan of his films but enjoy tremendously hearing him talk about filmmaking). apparently, at that time, Scorcese was asked about the violence. he said something like, "there are 2 kinds of violence in the world. i choose to create violence on film," which is pretty good. but i still struggle w/ it.

it may be about the lens i bring to violence, having experienced a fairly nightmarish violent event in my 20's. some ghostly affective residue hovers over/around/through (Grover?) my experience of cinematic violence; i simply can't take it.

i began this post as a way of talking about Lynch's work with Transcendental Meditation. i remember trying to "astral project" when i was a pre-teen. my parents had bought some books (this was in the early-mid 1970's), and i read them, which lead to other, similiar books, and i was completely taken with the idea of "flying" about, disembodied spirit vibing out pleasurably and travelling to places where real life would likely never take me, like the lobby of the hotel in Amsterdam, where David Lynch talks to the press about TM, that fabulous old-world mirror framing his disucssion:

but i'm also thinking about what "diving within" may mean. because i'm not sure i've ever done it, although i do meditate (spotty and infrequently), but maybe i'm just "not doing it right," . . . although i recall feeling *almost* as though i was elevating toward that magical astral highway, but then my mind's voice would recognize it -- "i'm doing it" -- and find me laying in my bed, not elevating in the least but playing a game in which i am seeking to escape my body, my life. i'm all for it, especially at certain times when my body/my life are not cooperating with my sense of the "pure bliss" that TM and other meditative techniques promise. but so.

i'm not writing to be (or because i want to be) skeptical. i can't help it. it seems naive and dishonest to avoid it. i'm writing to say, more hopefully, that i want to use meditation in the ways Lynch describes; i want to transcend. i want the kind of expansive experience certain interactive art projects are after. it's problematic, however, this belief in and desire for transcendence (?)

but the wanting has got to be -- is surely -- worth something.

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