13 May, 2008

Surreal. Transcendental. Lynch.

Being a big David Lynch fan, naturally I missed his lecture tour visit to Trinity College Dublin, last October.

My friend, Paul, who did manage to go, told me it was a bit weird.
Really! I said. Weird? David Lynch?

Apparently David Lynch was promoting his book - Catching The Big Fish - the work of his foundation and the practice of transcendental meditation in making people and the world happier.

I've just read Catching the Big Fish and I must say that he has written a lovely book.

Although he claims to have no skill with words - and it is plainly written (
a little like Thich Nhat Hanh) - Lynch makes some interesting observations about creativity, filmmaking - in general and his own in particular - and the nature of experience.
"I hear stories about directors who scream at actors, or they trick them somehow to get a performance. And there are some people who try to run the whole business on fear. But I think this is such a joke - it’s pathetic and stupid at the same time.

When people are in fear, they don’t want to go to work. So many people today have that feeling. Then the fear starts turning into hate, and they begin to hate going to work. Then the hate can turn into anger and people can become angry at their boss and their work.

If I ran my set with fear, I would get 1 percent, not 100 percent, of what I get. And there would be no fun in going down the road together. And it should be fun. In work and in life, we’re all supposed to get along. We’re supposed to have so much fun, like puppy dogs with our tails wagging. It’s supposed to be great living; it’s supposed to be fantastic.

Instead of instilling fear, if a company offered a way for everyone in the business to dive within - to start expanding energy and intelligence - people would work overtime for free. They would be far more creative. And the company would just leap forward. This is the way it can be. It’s not the way it is, but it could be that way so easily."

This could sound a bit pat from somebody else, but I find it a fascinating into the creative mindset of an uncompromising artist. It really shouldn't be so strange to think that the creator of Eraserhead and Mullholland Drive :

"It’s good for the artist to understand conflict and stress. Those things can give you ideas. But I guarantee you, if you have enough stress, you won’t be able to create. And if you have enough conflict, it will just get in the way of your creativity. You can understand conflict, but you don’t have to live in it.

In stories, in the worlds that we can go into, there’s suffering, confusion, darkness, tension and anger. There are murders; there’s all kinds of stuff. But the filmmaker doesn’t have to be suffering to show suffering. You can show it, show the human condition, show conflicts and contrasts, but you don’t have to go through that yourself. You are the orchstrator of it, but you’re not in it. Let your characters do the suffering.

It’s common sense: the more the artist is suffering, the less creative he is going to be. It’s less likely that he is going to enjoy his work and less likely that he will be able to do really good work…

Some artists believe that anger, depression, or these negative things give them an edge. They think they need to hold onto that anger and fear so they can put it in their work. And they don’t like the idea of getting happy - it makes them want to puke. They think it would make them lose their edge or power…

If you’re an artist, you’ve got to know about anger without being restricted by it. In order to create, you’ve got to have energy; you’ve got to have clarity. You’ve got to be able to catch ideas. You’ve got to be strong enough to fight unbelievable pressure and stress in this world. So it just makes sense to nurture the place where that strength and clarity and energy come from – to dive in and enliven that."