Monday, May 4, 2009

More Girls In Their Turning

-hey there. So a post at a blog called The Secret Sun reminded me of an essay I wrote in January of 2006 for a contest at McSweeney's website. The point of the contest was to celebrate the newly published work by Lawrence Weschler entitled Everything That Rises: A Book Of Convergences which is a fabulous book about Art and connections, and subconscious echos through time. My essay is a response to Weschler's piece entitled "Girls In Their Turning". I'd link to it if it were out there, but it isn't so you'll just have to check it out from the library if you are interested. Of course the problem is that my essay makes a lot more sense if you read Weschler's piece first. Like I said, it is a response to it. Enjoy nonetheless:

More Girls In Their Turning

Lynch / Weschler / Woolf

I waited longer than most to finally see Peter Jackson's King Kong. Part of the reason for my reluctance was an association I projected on the Naomi Watts' character in Mulholland Drive. Discerning the true meaning of Lynch's film seemed to have more to do with my life than what was present on screen. The mystery of that enigmatic film in 2001 held me in thrall for weeks yet my solipsistic reading of the film kept turning the camera on myself.

When I finally did see King Kong recently, it led me to more mystery of symbols and meaning. I followed to the jungles of 1933, to the Indian Ocean aboard the Pequod in the mid 1800s, to the New England waters around the Fourth of July in the 70s, and to the cometary night skies of the late 90s. Carried along I suppose, was Naomi Watts and that Lynchian knot of metaphor, for on this past Wednesday I decided to turn back to that old puzzle and rent Mulholland Drive one more time to ferret out its secrets. David Lynch is filled with secrets.

A convergence occurred when I found myself in possession of a pretty blue box on Friday that held the key to unlocking Mulholland Drive. And the pretty blue box? Friday afternoon I received Everything That Rises, a smart, blue, clothbound tome by Lawerence Weschler, which is the newest title in the McSweeney's book release club. Later, upon finishing watching the film that evening, I was tickled by the painting prominently displayed in the Los Angeles apartment Betty and Rita share in the film. It was not Vermeer's Head of a Young Girl (Wearing Pearl Earring), however it was close enough to suggest that painting, which then reminded me of an essay in McSweeney's #6, Copyright © 2001 that I read last year after I acquired it on Ebay. That essay was now sitting on my table in the form of Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences. And?

And one must not forget that David Lynch was an art student before his work in film. Mulholland Drive can almost be completely understood in terms of that Vermeer painting. What is even more striking is how Weschler and Lynch were on the exact same page in terms of the meaning and subsequent influence of Vermeer's work. Mulholland Drive features two prominent characters looking back. One is a blonde named Betty, and the other is a mystery for she and we both do not know who she is. The film is riddled with characters turning back to see…themselves! We also find characters frequently being filmed in reflection, both literal and figurative. In the end however, the film operates much like original painting in that it projects reflections, reflections in this case of movies and actresses and even David Lynch himself. In the end we see ourselves in the reflected gaze.

As an afterthought, I've included this nice picture of Virginia Woolf whose January 25th birthday was this past Wednesday. I'm not sure what it is about this picture, but it captivates me.

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Abe's Axe is a symbol. Like the firey wand of Hermes, it is the conduit for bringing into action manifestations from the creative imagination. He is not killing vampires so much as freeing living dead men. The great emancipator would like to bring you into the 4th dimension of consciousness. He is going to have to kill you to do this, though. Or, actually, just annihilate your ego to transport you. In this instance, his axe is the craft. A craft is both a transport and a skill. The magician's wand is both. A pen can be mightier than the sword. What's your craft? Use your symbol well. . .

Heal The King!

Heal The King!