Slow week last week and I fear this week will not be much different, as I am in class starting tomorrow afternoon and lasting until Friday. It’s kind of frustrating, as this is typically the time when I ramp up my word count heading into the productive months of September and October. Unfortunately, the move, this class, and something else (that I currently can’t discuss but is potentially very exciting) have been eating up my time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still writing about 8,000-9,000 words a week, but it’s not the level that I’d prefer. Anyway, just wanted to vent some frustrations.
On the writing front, I’m taking a break from editing and am digging into the all-new Chapter Four. Quite the fascinating chapter, as this is the first real glimpse at Dean interacting in more of a real-world environment and not being controlled by his addiction. We also meet fellow sex addict Peggy, who previously served as a sponsor for Lindsay, Dean’s future wife. She still serves in that role but gets a much-expanded presence in the latest draft, providing Dean and Stephen with information on sex addiction and why they should consider going to a recovery group for it. The reader learns more of her history and it sets the stage for what happens with Lindsay and Peggy later in the novel.
It’s always fun when bit characters step up and fill an expanded role. Sometimes it happens because they’re interesting and deserve to share the spotlight; other times it’s a necessity of the story. This one is a bit of both, and I think it ultimately strengthens the novel. Hoping to at least get that chapter knocked out this week.
In other news, Mary and I have been re-watching Twin Peaks and recently discovered that Mulholland Drive was not only supposed to be a television pilot but also would have starred Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horn, a Twin Peaks character. David Lynch had also made statements that the movie still shared a common universe with TP, so we decided to watch it (in my case, re-watch it). This led to watching Lost Highway last night, as Mary had not seen that one either.
I’ve spoken before about my love of David Lynch, but re-watching the show and these films has cemented it. Watching this many of his films back-to-back also reveals a common language and approach to storytelling, such as the use of red and blue to denote different emotional/spiritual states, red curtains, and yes, even bare breasts (wow never realized how much he has those).
It finally occurred to me that it’s pointless to ask whether his stories actually “happened” and have supernatural elements or whether they happen in the characters’ heads. In Mulholland Drive he almost explicitly states that any alternate worlds/dreams are one and the same as a character’s thoughts. He does this a lot, actually: see any time a character talks about having a dream and it comes true, such as the Winkie’s scene at the start of Mulholland Drive, which informs the viewer that this is not all fantasy or dream.
To me, this is key to understanding all of his films: a person’s emotions and thoughts might as well be reality or some form of it, as they ultimately leak out and have an impact on everything surrounding that person. He just presents a more literal form of this “leakage”. It lines up with the old magickal theorem that a magician can direct what happens in his or her life by altering patterns of thought, behavior, and ritual (otherwise known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in more base terms).
So his films, to me, are essentially an attempt to show you a character’s inner world via the literal language of film, almost a new approach to bridging film and the written word.
With that in mind, I suspect that, much like the circular portion of Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive is a story told in reverse – we see the events that lead up to the start of the picture toward the end, and those provide the key for understanding what comes before. I’m convinced that the world of the movie’s first two hours is the afterlife, but an afterlife that is driven by the emotional states and experiences of the main character. It flirts with some Buddhist principles, specifically that individuals are a combination of habits, memories, sensations, desires, etc., which come together to present the illusion of a single, unified being.
In Mulholland Drive we see Diane’s pieces broken up and scattered to form different personas and situations that also appear to be singular, unified beings but are ultimately part of a bigger illusion. These parts are being directed around by a higher power (represented by The Cowboy) and need to be combined in certain ways for Diane to understand who she “was”. In this way, she can be set free of the cycle of reincarnation, represented by the blue box.
I don’t know, just a theory. The best thing about these films is that Lynch leaves a lot of answers waiting for you to find them, but you have to seek. Again, much like magick. That’s why he’s so influential on my own more fantastic works.
Now I’m itching to write something like that again. Perhaps soon.