Saturday, July 14, 2007

catching the big fish (lynch)

i'm pretty sure that there are many philosophical "reasons" for not wanting to vibe with this book, but i can't buy into them in this moment. i picked up Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006) last night at Borders, where I began reading, there, in the store, started reading (wearing, i might add, sensing it's vague relevance, serious frump -- grey-striped tank top, baggy drab olive shorts, clunky dansko clogs . . . hair in a messy ponytail, crooked glasses "resting" on my un-made face) and i fell in love.

this morning, i read Lynch speaking on Eraserhead, "my most spiritual movie" (33) and his search to discover what helped the sequences to cohere (maybe "cohere" isn't exactly it, but he does speak of seeking "a key"). he says, only slightly surprisingly, "So I got out my Bible and I started reading. And one day, I read a sentence. And I closed the Bible, because that was it; that was it. And then I saw the thing as a whole. And it fulfilled this vision for me, 100 percent." And then, what makes this passage so precious, Lynch adds, "I dont' think I'll ever say what that sentence was" (33), and I sincerely hope that he doesn't even as he has sort of obliquely (i hope) constructs my desire to hear it.

even more magical, for me, is the chapter (they are very short chapters, pithy and to the ambiguous but rhetorically effective point) on fear. Lynch talks about working on a film set, about the need to abolish fear, which is so often vibrating ghostly beneath the surface of my experiences on film sets; in fact, i'm at the point in my "acting" career where i'm ready to forget about the attempt, however sad my acceptance of this decision has been/is. it's simply too soul-demolishing (which may not be all bad -- my soul has massive fields in need of destruction and re-animation). recently, the stress of even a simple audition for what would have been a charity case piece of work (little $ or recognition . . . i just wanted to work) sent my stomach into fits of rage from which i am only now emerging (2 months after the fact). and it's sooo sad because there have been (inmylittleactingclass) moments of what i can describe confidently as transcendent joy, illumination, and a precious feeling that i'm getting close to getting it right in terms of my performance . . . and even a sense that it *is* (the work) about more than my ego (is that even possible?). maybe i'm just awful, but i don't think that's exactly it. but so, rejection, absent validation, and a feeling that i can never be tiny enough to be in any filmic event . . . it's all just destroyed my dream, mysillylittledream. and here is why Margo Martindale is my heroine and why her performance in Paris J'Taime wrung every fluid from my body and deceptively ethereal cloud of "good sense" from my soul as she presented them to me fresh and shiny and new and sort of sad but still shiny. so but anyhow, Lynch says, of fear and its destructive force on the set, "If I ran my set with fear, I would get 1 percent, not 100 percent, of what I get. And there would be no fun in going down the road together. And it should be fun. In work and in life, we're all supposed to get along. [here is the stuff i simply adore] We're supposed to have so much fun, like puppy dogs with our tails wagging. It's supposed to be great living; it's supposed to be fantastic" (73) (emphasis mine).

vibing w/ a slightly more subdued affect is the final vignette from Paris J'Taime, mentioned above. I wanted to include a bit of a review that gets at a sense of it: "Paris, je t'aime ends on an unexpectedly wistful note (though it could also be hopeful, depending on your perspective) with [Alexander] Payne's "14ème Arrondissement." Margo Martindale, a middle-aged American postal worker, wanders around the city alone, detailing in a voiceover what she did during her vacation in awkward, self-taught French. [. . .] It's not sexy or stylish or glamorous or any of the things you might assume Paris would be before going there. But of all the segments that comprise the film, it comes the closest to depicting honestly what it feels like to fall in love" (Christy Lemire, AP).

sadly, the trailer, available at the website, shows one microsecond from "14th Arrondissement" and instead features more of the bits w/ the bigger stars (the cast lineup *begins* w/ "Natalie Portman," who is neither alphabetically nor in terms of talent, the main attraction, alhtough she is good, fine, but. just. not. "it."). and this is tragic because some of the more allegedly luminous stars' performances are less than ideally enchanting from a film wanting to be about the city known to enchant. i won't name names, but i do find this missing tribute to Martindale's superb and moving work to be, well, fairly disenchanting. note: it is beyond easy to find images of NP on the web. however, even at imdb, it's incredibly difficult to find images of Margo Martindale. this is somehow quite sad.

so, but thank you Alexander Payne. thank you, David Lynch.


johndan said...

Lynch on Lynch is good as well. It's interesting to map Lynch's longer discussions in that book against his pithier descriptions in Catching the Big Fish.

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

i do go in for the short n' pithy. just read a chapter that was pretty much saying what i said at PSU -- Lynch saying not only that you should not have to talk about your film but that you should not (a larger point about the film being self-contained, which is both funny and charming, coming from Lynch). i also like David Foster Wallace on Lynch in, (i think) A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again.

stand up straight & let me get a look at you

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