Watching David Lynch has been a scavenger hunt of a cultural experience.
Tucked into each movie and television episode are multiple evocative items. In Season 3, Episode 3 of Twin Peaks (The Return), the interior of Gordon Cole’s office is decorated with a portrait of the atomic bomb explosion, as well as a photo of Franz Kafka.
When I was a teenager, I read the Metamorphosis, as well as The Trial and his unfinished Amerika. I’m in my mid thirties now, and many of the book I read during that time period have passed from my consciousness, remaining as unconscious material. Having read Marvel Comics extensively, monstrous transformations were a part of my visual and verbal codebook. For a man to be transformed into a cockroach, I only
Re-reading the synopsis of Amerika, I’m struck by how the main character’s experiences in New York City presaged my own experiences as an adult. Karl Roßmann comes to NYC, and people consistently take advantage of his courtesy and generosity, until he is imprisoned in a woman’s apartment as a servant. I’ve had many experiences where I’ve acquiesced to a situation out of courtesy, and subsequently suffered greatly, in a position where I couldn’t break out, I couldn’t just leave, I had to stay.
Considering Lynch and Kafka, I enjoyed an article about Lynch’s influence by the painter Francis Bacon. As my conscious mind turns in circles trying to interpret the linear story progressing in Season 3, I realize that Lynch starts with the images, and a story develops in a secondary, backward fashion. He intentionally avoids interpreting the images as he creates them, so that he’s depicting pure unconscious material. “The will to lose one’s will,” to give oneself over to the work, to get out of the way of the paint and let the paint speak for itself. I’d like to do that in my writing, and let the words speak for themselves, without trying to cram so much structure into it.
If you read Secret History of Twin Peaks, you find how hard Mark Frost worked to make a plausible story knitting together the disparate elements of the seasons. Only scraps of this seem to have influenced the ultimate product that is season 3.
I’m reminded of a passage I read in Jung’s Red Book. The Logos is the spirit of reason, and man needs to be saved from his irrationality. However, all gods become poison and snakes eventually. For a man to survive, he must protect himself from the poison of rationality, preserve an irrational part of himself.
Back to Kafka. Bacon’s portrait of Lucian Freud was based on a photo of Kafka, not Freud.
The image in the middle strikes an equine vibe, and the far right gives me “The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within” echoes