Monday, June 11, 2012

Love the leopard, said the redwoods

ooops... this post was published instead of 'saved' by accident... and you know how that goes, you can never undo it. You have to roll with it, grab some screenshots and hope for the best. These are lost thoughts from 2002, from before the meds and the madness, never meant for others' eyes. But since it's TWIN PEAKS, it's meta, like Laura's, like deeply personal journals found in old myspace limbo orbit, describing lurid scenarios and desperate emotions, and Alice in the Wonderland tableaux of incestuous desires, the daughter camouflaged as the queen of diamonds, the dad looming with his expensive Freudian cigar. My memories aren't quite that subconscious, but pretty close.

11/2002: If you don't heart it, it kills you.
Love the leopard said the redwoods
as he chomps you and the pain turns into roses.
The electric saw sees your rings around them, falling into the truck bed's arms in perfect trust;
resentment against your woodsman, captor or murderer is not an evolutionary trait.
That's the dark secret of masochism, and Stockholm Syndrome,
repetition compulsion disorder, survival tricks for the not-fittest; spilled milk tears move not to or from them.
The already silent cannot be silenced.  bed with a cold watching Twin Peaks, the complete set. The opening movie/series premiere was missing for a long time except on Japanese bootlegs. Seeing it now, restored, was like a dream come true, literally -- the show is so rife with dream symbolism that if you are in a fevered state and are prone to shamanistic near death trances then you can fall right into it like a rabbit hole. At one point this guy who is shot and dying is watching a TV show where a guy is shot and dying. I wasn't shot but you do the math, just don't do it too close or you'll be the next face looking into the bullet cracked mirror lens.

Season two starts and you sense a slight slippage of gears. The summer gave us too much time in which to wake up from the dream. You have to remember that this sleepy little brain twister of a series was suddenly a HUGE hit and everyone was wondering who killed Laura Palmer the way they used to wonder about who killed J.R. First thing they did is dump a load of who cares characters and subplots in our lap, more of that awful cropped curly, moussed late 80s hair. Seeing it now you can tell from the start that the killer's identity is not meant to be the crux of the show. Instead its a myth awash in mist and logging dream symbolism. Obviously the answer is you killed Laura Palmer, as you are integrated into the events as a disembodied spectator and all characters you encounter are aspects of a single psyche. Isn't this true of all narratives?

Well yes but don't pack up your fractals just yet... because once the John Q. Public takes an interest things have to get nailed on the pointless concrete cross of dogma. Suddenly characters are extra weird because the masses demand it not because it came from the subconscious of anyone but a writer or director who just thinks the show's weird for weird's sake, weird as an empty signifier rather than as a surreal finger pointing towards archetypal depths. Guest stars show up. Everyone wants a piece of the phenomenon, and nothing's left for the leopard. Instead there's a shark and a Fonz who needs to jump it. Only this time it's not a shark, it's a woodcutter, and he's coming out of the Pacific Northwest to sell you coffee. Would there even be gourmet coffee, a Starbucks on every corner, if not for this show? A veritable Johnny Appleseed or George Washington Carver of the freshly ground blend.

But the girls of Twin Peaks were all so beautiful and vulnerable and rare and sweet and everyone in America had their favorite. Mine was Madchen Amick and Sherilyn Fenn... there were so many, and through that burnt lipstick, rose-tinted wood paneling, old-growth forest and steaming coffee, sweaters and plaid skirts haze we all were in love, on some level, with someone or some flavor.

Starbucks followed in Twin Peaks' log-strewn wake along with Nirvana and me coming east from Seattle after losing Paula  to a man twice her age. I remember watching the show while boomeranging on my parents couch, looking for jobs (shh) by day. In those early empty days of the unformed 90s we all were either coming from or going towards the Pacific Northwest.

Somewhere in this building someone is cooking turkey and biscuits or chicken or mashed potatoes or all that crap. I have nothing against food, but smelling that oven steam-damp, sickeningly wholesome American family smell makes me think I'm back in the suburbs, upstairs in my room, bored and alienated and lovelorn, desperately losing myself in some comic book or other while mom made dinner. This is the smell I've gone to great lengths to avoid, and yet if follows me like a bad dream. I deliberately steer clear of Thanksgivings. It's the smell of white meat, stuffing, and gravy and insipid tabletalk chatter, the tedium of televised sports and talk of jobs, wallpaper, school tomorrow, engine troubles, and church picnics, careers I should look into. Some neighbor of a friend's aunt got a job at blah blah and I should send her a resume to give her to give him to give her. Yeah, mom, if I had the ability to reach out to strangers like some door-to-door vacuum salesman, I wouldn't be upstairs lost in comic books instead of pounding the flesh, or whatever the politico slang for handhshakes is.

I suppose to be free of this disgust I must embrace it, but all boys need to have fully divested from it first if they are ever to be men. And I wonder.... I search my body for invisible threads of umbilical apron web and wonder...  (11/07)

Imagine if you were going to take a trip to ..Europe.. and when you got there you would have total amnesia. You knew this in advance, and it's part of the package - like TOTAL RECALL. What would you do? How would you work it to get a message through to your blank canvas self of the future? Would you send a bunch of documents to yourself? what if you were going to be so amnesiac you'd be reborn and speaking another language? You'd never even know where to send the documents or what language. Maybe you'd put them in a safety deposit box and give your daughter the key and tell her, 'these are for your great grandson.'  But by the time you got around to reading them a few centuries later, their whole meaning would be lost. You carve the message into thick rock, on giant pyramids, so it will last the millennia it takes to come back and pick up where you left off.

.. ..So you figure you need to 'show' your future self some shit, so it will be ready to hear what the documents got to say when it's time for the documents to be opened. So you arrange it so that at 13 you get hit on the head with a hammer, at 24 you fall in love but the girl rejects you -- you carve out a space of time in your future life where you will have no friends and no food, all just to be able to get you to take these documents seriously. Maybe after all that, it still wont work. You're a stubborn son of a gun, and you need to respect that. You have to communicate with this stubborn future self via obscure signs, so it takes the future you a couple days to figure out what you meant, because you know you like to solve stuff. This is why you're doing the trip in the first place, to occupy yourself... to complete a circle, like a jigsaw puzzle - once it's put together, what do you do now? You shake it up and start again, and if you could you would erase the memory of having done it the first time - why not, since it makes it more fun?


A movie that has nothing whatsoever to do with god and eternity will have more eternity in it than a film about this exact subject. Why? Because to truly understand it is to forget it, lest you remember you aren't on a path so much as cleaning a very dirty window, painted over with layers of polarized enamel through the ages, caked with soot, hardened lava, and cobwebs... through which the godhead sun is trying to shine at you As you scrape through the layers of paint and varnish you come across skeletons of issues unresolved: the time your little brother got you grounded cause he made you hit him, for example. You see how this hatred emerged as a negation of any love you might feel for people in your life who resembled or talked like your brother. You see the thousand severed tendrils of possibility that resulted, so much happiness you threw away because you couldn't forgive his smells. No retreating into a false womb of guilt and regret now, that's for suckers. Look the world in the eye and admit defeat. Throw down your tendril-shearing sword of censorship and instead pick up the rosined bow of music and its endless variations. Scrape madly at the hardened tendrils that do blacken up this strange and ancient window. A window that is also a mirror, you see, as you get down to the last few layers of gook.

.. ..When the window is finally clear, what then? There are some who soon grow reddened from being unused to the glare, and so they find a nice thin enamel to spread over the pane. Just enough you understand, to keep out the gamma rays. But what you didn't know was the gamma rays had the vitamin of remembering. You've already forgotten that the layer is even there, or was to be removed when the sun went down, and now everyone thinks it's just part of the window and won't let you remove it even if you want to. They say you'll burn to death from the rays. Finally you agree that the layer isn't there, that this is as clear as it gets and when the holy window cleaning lady comes by to try and scrape the layer off, you get so mad you burn her; you burn her eyes, just to prove that she is wrong about fire.

1 comment:

  1. Erich,

    How wonderfully synchronistic it was to come across this accidental post of yours this afternoon. Literally just before I came to your blog to see if there were any new posts I was looking at the artwork from an exhibition to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Fire Walk With Me(you can see the whole collection here if you haven't already, tis definitely worth a look -

    Incidentally, would love to hear your thoughts on the film. It still somewhat baffles me that it was so critically mauled upon its release (although some suggest a backlash against Lynch was inevitable seeing as he'd been riding high for a good few years post Blue Velvet, TP etc; first they giveth then they taketh away eh?) although I suppose it's to be expected that such a powerful piece of cinema would conjure such varied and often polarised responses.

    Also, I know what you mean about the show being such a thick and heady stew of dream symbolism (and archetypes to boot no doubt). Any town where the simple changing of a traffic light from one colour to another holds ominous portents has definitely got its collective unconscious damn close to the surface.

    In fact, I reckon it'd be pretty interesting to do a Jungian reading of the entire series & film. For instance, I'm sure one could have a field day with the scene in the last episode where Cooper ends up chasing his shadow self through the Black Lodge and struggling to catch up with him as they loop through the same room over and over (eerily recalling a pretty much identical scene in Bava's Kill, Baby...Kill!).

    Sorry this turned out to be such a long response and keep up the good work! ;)


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