A Waterfall as a Font of Twin Peaks Friendships and the Enduring Power of Peaks
Please take a look back at my previous column, where you met Jill, a dear friend from the Pacific Northwest, who has opened her heart to many Twin Peaks fans that have crossed her path. Today, we once again learn about her, her takes on Twin Peaks, and her inspiring life and fandom in her own words…
“Going into Season 3, I had friends who were Twin Peaks fans. I had several college degrees and a ton of life behind me. I’d been in the shit, and dug myself out several times. Often, the lessons I’d learned from Twin Peaks provided me with my golden shovel. I didn’t go into this alone.”
Jill watched Season 3 on Showtime when it aired during the spring and summer. For the premiere, she hosted a stranger named Christian Hartleben (who would become a cherished and brilliant friend), and a pair of sisters, the Ostbos, who have also become dear friends and hiking companions. Each week following the premiere, she watched both the East Coast and West Coast Showtime feeds in her living room; streaming the East Coast feed, then viewing the West Coast feed live. After meeting the Rebers (Mary Reber portrayed Alice Tremond in Part 18 of Season 3) during the Twin Peaks Festival, they were kind enough to invite Jill to their home up every Sunday afterward to watch the show with their family. They’ve become family to her.
“The fact that I have always seen my Twin Peaks fandom as something so personal, so dear, and so fragile, must have been why I never sought out other fans (previously). I had no idea that there was such a huge, welcoming fan community until this past year! All this time, the festival had been going on in my back yard and I never knew. I had a vague idea that if I ever did meet Twin Peaks fans, I’d immediately be marginalized because I haven’t been to film school, and I am not well-versed in visual symbolism. I figured they’d be assholes. Turns out, I was the asshole for not giving them a chance! As soon as I joined my first Twin Peaks Facebook group, I read through a bunch of the posts and knew I’d found My People. Soon I was posting, then became a moderator and an admin in several groups. Intense, fast friendships formed. I can say that without hesitation and with very few exceptions,”
“Twin Peaks fans are the kindest, most welcoming people in the world. If someone tells me he or she is a Twin Peaks fan, I automatically trust them to have an underlying value system similar to mine until they prove me wrong.”
During last year’s Twin Peaks Festival, Jill had the opportunity to show her hiking routes to several fans. Almost every day after she finishes her day job (She works 5 a.m. until noon as a radio producer and news and traffic reporter), she grabs her dogs and her best friend, and heads into the woods around Snoqualmie and North Bend. Jill’s favorite trails are on the “other side of the falls,” on the private property belonging to the Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater. Jill pays a yearly membership and has access to the best views of the falls one could imagine. During the Festival she took several fans (including me and Mrs. Petes) on her secret-access hike all the way down to the rocks beneath the falls. Seeing her friends’ faces as they see the water, as they feel the mist on their faces, and experience the unique feeling you get watching this ancient holy land are some of her favorite moments.
“There have been people in the [Snoqualmie] Valley for about 10,000 years, and the Snoqualmie Falls have always been holy. Once you visit, you’ll never forget why it’s sacred, and you’ll definitely understand why David Lynch decided to film here. There’s an almost magnetic draw to the land, and I love seeing people experience the joy it can bring. It never gets old!”
Jill got the opportunity to meet a lot of the actors and creators of the show, some of whom have become friends. Sabrina Sutherland, John Pirruccello, James Grixoni, Jen Lynch, Julee Crusie, and the “Huge-hearted Woodsman” Christian Calloway each occupy a special place in her heart for the kindness they’ve shown her and all of the fans. Because of David Lynch, Jill learned about the scientifically-proven benefits of Transcendental Meditation (TM). She put two of her most challenging foster care kids through the training, and it helped them immeasurably. Once Jill learned it for herself, she started drawing. For drawing practice, she would sketch Twin Peaks Season 3 scenes and characters.
“The drawings just poured out of me. Once I tapped into that pure ocean of consciousness nothing could stop me creating! I have always been a scientist, and until TM, my only drawings were lab journals, usually about marine invertebrates and their symbionts. Now I draw people, and all the time! I love it, and I love that my drawings make people happy. It brings me joy to pass along even a fraction, a spark, of that joy that I access twice a day with my meditation.”
When I asked Jill about Season 3, she shared that her biggest surprise was that we got a Season 3! Additionally, that David Lynch got to do “his thing,” and have complete control of the entire experience. The total joy in being reunited with the places and people she’d missed for 25 years, and then meeting the new places and people presented in Season 3, Jill was surprised at how deeply she felt those connections, and how grateful she was for this gift from Lynch, Frost, and all of the people whose work made it possible.
“As someone whose entire professional life is about hard and fast reality, it’s such a treat to be able to watch truth unfold through fiction.”
Every scene, every sound, every minute, was a surprise. Jill remembers laughing in surprise many, many times, especially during Part 8. Also, the tidbits that could only come from the imagination and collaboration between Lynch and Frost; like Jacoby’s podcast. When watching the premiere, Jill could only equate it with a feeling she had during summer camp:
“When it was so hot outside, the counselor threatened to toss us each into the river. Most kids scattered and ran away. I ran up to him and demanded he toss me in. When he did, and the cool water rushed up around my entire body, shocking every inch of my skin into refreshing goosebumps? That’s kind of how it felt being immersed in Twin Peaks again. Seeing Mr. C for the first time? That stands out. The array of humans in Buella’s and Otis’s house was also a delight. The artistry is truly extraordinary in that I’ll be thinking about Season 3 for years and years to come, much like the original series and movie.”
“I’ve never been one to take myself too seriously, and this year I decided to go to the Twin Peaks Festival AND enter the costume contest. I was drawn to the silent beauty of Senorita Dido, and dressing up as her and doing my makeup in grayscale? It was incredibly fun! I won 3rdplace. I’ve never done that kind of cosplay before. I also haven’t done any acting since my turn as Rolf in my all-girls’ convent school production of “The Sound of Music,” but jumped at the opportunity to fill in as Sylvia Horne in Chris Mathews’ production of “Twin Peaks Live 3” at the West of Lenin theater in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood this summer. My big scene was during Andy and Lucy’s wedding, and I got to yell at Ben Horne to stop flicking boogers at people. Totally wacky, wonderful creative experience, and I made some wonderful and creative friends.”
Jill’s best friend growing up, Cara, lived next door to the Palmer house during the filming of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Cara and Jill would hide on her front porch and try to catch glimpses of James Marshall, as they both had big crushes on him. Jill seems to think she and Cara were 14 or 15 at the time. So when Jill met the Rebers, who own the Palmer house now, she was delighted to find them to be warm and inviting. They invited Jill into their home, and they have been good friends since. Jill took their daughter to the Festival of Disruption in Los Angeles, where they hung out with fellow fans Gideon Bonaparte and Blake Morrow (who did the incredible “Return to Twin Peaks” photo project). The four of them have been close friends ever since. Jill and the Reber girls have enjoyed wine and pie girls’ nights. As with most of the Twin Peaks folks she’s met, she simply clicks with the Rebers. She’s also become close with many of the other locals, like superfan and supernice person Mary Hutter, who built the Red Room in her basement and bought the original counter and booths from Hap’s Diner (along with several other locals, including Amber Sievers and the Reinches). She’s also met Erin Craver, whose office is across the street from the Double R, and a couple of doors down from the room that once served as the Twin Peaks Jail. She also met Shelly, who runs Selah Gifts in North Bend and who sells lots of great crafts from local artisans. Rumor has it that Shelly might soon be carrying some prints of Jill’s Twin Peaks-inspired sketches!
“There’s a certain understanding that’s implicit when you live locally and are a Twin Peaks fan. We all share a passionate love for a show that is essentially about the torture and murder of a local girl. That makes us a little odd, but also a bit more empathetic than someone who isn’t a fan. I say that because although we may not have a film school or industry-level understanding of all the cinematic and narrative tricks employed by David Lynch, we all have the ability to see Twin Peaks as an envoy of love. We all see past the darkness to the beauty and joy that’s to be found even in the simple act of thinking about watching a dude sweep a floor for a few minutes.”
Jill has been an inspiration to bunches of Twin Peaks fans like me and my wife. While we only met Jill through social media a short while before the 2017 Twin Peaks Festival, she opened her world to us and others so that we could share in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and all that world has to offer. Jill’s work with foster youth, and the way she has chosen to make a difference after some earlier struggles in her life is yet another way she inspires Twin Peaks fans and others.
Connect with Jill!
Jill is active on both Twitter and Instagram @pie4jill
Next Time: Ivan’s Road Trips
Twin_Petes is a 27 year-plus fan of the show, music, merchandise, and emotions that emanate from the woods surrounding Blue Pine and Whitetail Mountains. He and his family now reside in what can best be described as the Purple World. His favorite response to most questions is: “That…cannot be revealed.” He loves all things Lynch and Frost. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @Twin_Petes.