I've been attracted to the work of David Lynch since I first saw Eraserhead on VHS in the sweaty basement apartment of my friend Doug. The film is such a sensory experience, more so than most films. I can still call to mind the bubbling humidifier, the pathetic, wretched cries of Henry and Mary's baby, Paul repeatedly pressing the buzzer to gain access to the pencil factory. It became a barometer for people I met. If they'd seen
Eraserhead and didn't wrinkle their noses, they were in. If they hadn't, they were offered the experience. I sure wouldn't exclude anyone who didn't like it, but they
definitely weren't a shoe-in.
I've known for years that Lynch was keen on Transcendental Meditation (TM) but hadn't heard until recently more of the details. He was doing the talk-show circuit raising awareness of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. Its function is to raise money to promote TM in schools and hopefully make them a more educationally effective experience for students, and to bring bliss to the world. Catching the Big Fish touches on this subject in brief. Lynch explains how TM equips him to deal with the stress that he encounters in the world in general and in Hollywood in particular.
TM doesn't eliminate it, but it helps fortify against it. Who couldn't use that in their life?
Interspersed between the chapters on TM are chapters on Lynch's past projects and interesting bits of his life. There's nothing new here, really. If you are keen on Lynch, you've probably heard the stories before. If you haven't, you might want to take a peek. Lynch touches on
Eraserhead, The Angriest Dog in the World, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway,
Inland Empire and more.
The book is exceedingly easy to read. Short bursts of ideas in concise little chapters. My favorite chapter title is "Suffocating
Rubber Clown Suit." Another chapter is called "The Box and The Key."
It is comprised of one, short sentence: I don't have a clue what those are. If you've seen
Mullholland Drive, you'll know what it means... as much as Lynch does, anyway.
Catching the Big Fish is a really pleasant and funny book for sure, easily read in an afternoon. The only thing a wee bit frustrating
is that Lynch doesn't help his readers to discover Transcendental Meditation for themselves. I didn't really expect him to give us the TM in three easy steps, but at least he could point us in a direction
for those who want to pursue it further.