Welcome back to 25YL’s series on the biography/memoir of David Lynch, Room to Dream. This series has been written by various staff writers, who looked at two chapters at a time to examine the highlights and insights of the book. Tonight, we are ending the series as we began it, a conversation between two 25YL staff writers, J.C. Hotchkiss and Rob King. We will be closing the series covering the final three chapters.
This part cover chapters:
- “The Happiest of Happy Endings”
- “In the Studio”
- “My Log is Turning Gold”
With our final part in this series, we come to Lynch’s life during his time working on INLAND EMPIRE. The period includes his time with the website DavidLynch.com. In both the book and the audiobook versions, he praises the creators of Photoshop for their invention, which made creative magic available to many. The chapter only briefly touches on his time with Dumbland, Rabbits, Out Yonder, and his weather reports for the ten-dollar-a-month subscription site. Still, the bottom line for him was that it took huge amounts of time to create what subscribers were consuming in one afternoon, an unsustainable model for him alone at a time when the world was still learning what creative content websites looked like. Of course, Rabbits was a project that would come back to him in his work on INLAND EMPIRE, but he stayed busy in the time between the two projects. One of those projects was an album he recorded with John Neff from 1998 to 2000 titled BlueBOB, which was sold through the website in 2001. In 2002, he served as president of the jury at Cannes. Upon returning from that position, he met again with recording artist, Chrysta Bell. These are all topics many fans were previously aware of, but there are personal insights, too. In 2003, Lynch would meet his future wife Emily Stofle who had been a neighbor of horror director Eli Roth. Roth had researched a Nikola Tesla project for Lynch. J.C. Hotchkiss and I take up a conversation on these chapters here as a way of closing our Book Review series as we opened it, a conversation between two people. We hope you have enjoyed the series and have a chance to read the book yourself. Please, enjoy the conversation below.
Q & A:
RK: Over all, did you find any surprises for you in these three chapters?
JC: So, I did find all the things about INLAND EMPIRE surprising. I have yet to watch it. I know, I know, I call myself a Lynch fan, but I’m not there yet. Too fascinated by his older stuff (Blue Velvet, Mulholland and of course, Peaks). I also found it fascinating that he executive produced Cabin Fever for Eli Roth. His story about Maharishi’s funeral and how Sabrina was such an important part of getting Season 3 off and running were parts I enjoyed as well.
RK: My first question about the chapter “The Happiest of Happy Endings,” I suppose, is did you personally have any experiences with DavidLynch.com? I was very aware of it, but it was definitely a bit periphery for me. I was still constantly looking for anyone who wanted to watch Blue Velvet or my Twin Peaks international pilot or Fire Walk With Me VHS tapes with me. And honestly, most of my friends had computers at that time, but outside of email, I was very much a novice to the internet. I was using computers on my college campus. That said, my situation does kind of illustrate the environment Lynch was working in with DavidLynch.com. Did you find anything interesting in his experiences with that or his fascinations with the technology?
JC: I did find it interesting that he was on the forefront of trying to come up with content. I think that says a lot about him as a person and as an artist. He just loves to create and the creation of those things. I had just gone back to college in 2002, and worked with computers, but the Internet was still so new, so I was a novice as well. I mean, MySpace wasn’t even created yet. I do find it interesting that his shorts came from this experience, but I also remember a friend of mine, the one friend who liked Lynch that I could discuss Twin Peaks and his other work with, talking about his weather reports. So, that part of the chapter made me laugh out loud when I got to it.
RK: Oh, that’s great. I have a personal connection to his INLAND EMPIRE promotion. I was working in an entertainment retail store as a side job to my high school teaching. This was in 2006 or 2007, either shortly before or after the release of Catching the Big Fish. It’s obvious now that I think in associations, isn’t it? Anyhow, a co-worker comes up to me and says “Rob, my friend who lives in L.A. just sent this to me!” He opens his flip phone and pulls up this slowly downloading image which once completed is a blurry picture from a roof (this is before iPhones, you remember) of a guy walking a cow down the street. I ask what it is and he explains that it’s David Lynch walking around with a cow to promote his new movie. So in the book, Lynch finally explains why he did it and that he was blown away by the spread of the news through the internet, once again speaking to our learning of the internet throughout this time. And then, yeah, you mentioned from this same chapter that he met Emily Stofle, a then-neighbor of director Eli Roth because he had worked as executive producer of Cabin Fever.
Now, it’s kind of the elephant in the room, not the surprise that he did any kind of work with Roth, but how does his and Emily’s relationship read to you in these recollections we find in the book–both from her and him? Well…let’s hold off and come back to that shortly. I think that comes back around in the chapter “My Log is Turning Gold.”
Both the INLAND EMPIRE and “In the Studio” chapters are fairly short in comparison with the earlier chapters. That’s a noticeable trend in the biography/memoir we’ve noted in earlier parts to this series. Given that, let’s just briefly touch on that later chapter, then get into the chapter I suspect a lot of readers will be wanting to hear about, “My Log is Turning Gold.” We’re all about the highlights, and I love the section in the studio portion where they discuss the Idem lithograph studio that Lynch has been working in in Paris. I can’t help but want to picture that he did some litho work the week of their shooting the Monica Belluci dream sequence during the filming of The Return. But we have to discuss his yet-to-be produced screenplay Antelope Don’t Run No More. Any thoughts on that one?
JC: Well, my curiosity is, and I always get this confused. Did the Dougie stuff come from Ronnie Rocket or Antelope Don’t Run No More? Because it seems as though a lot of ideas that David had for other projects and his art is in The Return. I do wish from reading about Antelope that someone would pick it up. Maybe we can hope that Netflix will.
I would love to think he was creating lithos as well that week. Amanda of The Bookhouse Babes was on vacation and sat where they filmed the Monica scene and has been in that studio. It’s how she met David, by accident in Paris.
RK: That’s unbelievable. Randomly meeting Lynch in Paris, that’s too much. Still, the facts are laid fairly bare in this book. I still have a gnawing feeling that Frost and Lynch included some One Saliva Bubble humor for Dougie. All of the electrical socket stuff is definitely Ronnie Rocket in my mind, though. Let’s look at this Antelope Don’t Run No More. According to the book, “Set mostly in Los Angeles, Antelope Don’t Run No More braids threads from Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE into a narrative fantasia that incorporates space aliens, talking animals, and a beleaguered musician named Pinky; it’s impressed everyone who’s read it as one of the best scripts Lynch has ever written.” In that one sentence description, we have a lot to tease apart–Mulholland and INLAND threads (a sequel of sorts), space aliens (didn’t we think that was Frost’s territory?), talking animals (that continues the Rabbits shorts and INLAND EMPIRE threads). Pinky appears in a song he produced on one of his albums. I have to say, I still hold great hopes that this was injected into this biography to stir fans into maybe bolstering its cause. I have to say that I think just about anything he’d continue to do would be for Showtime.
JC: Could be. David Nevins is a huge proponent of Lynch. I think that Mulholland, to me, has always been David’s take on Hollywood. So to combine that with Inland and all the other components would be an interesting site to see. I, for one, would be all over that.
I agree about One Saliva Bubble. Interesting side note: wasn’t David L. Lander’s character in TP, Mr. Pinky? We could be the first to head the cause of bringing it to the small or big screen!
What did you think about the interviews and coverage Kristine got about The Return? I see why they held the book back. A lot of spoilers would have been given.
RK: Absolutely. I feel like she did a great job. I appreciated how well she laid out the Showtime negotiations. We all had a good idea of the outline, but I think it spoke to Nevins’s dedication to Lynch’s work and a willingness, however forced, to negotiate it to the best of his powers. I also loved Dern’s willingness to discuss the difficult love-making scene. We get a true sense of her interpretation of the scene, which I suspect has to be informed somewhat by Lynch’s direction. Then, I know we all love that Lynch was brought to tears shooting Big Ed and Norma’s big day. We already learned that he had an affinity with that particular song and recording of it, but he clearly loves those characters as we do. Then, to read him openly discussing some of his inspirations. What all did we learn? I was flabbergasted.
JC: Me, too. Reading the Ed & Norma part, I started to tear up. These characters were so real and a part of many of us for the last 25, 27 years. So, to see these inspirations and to hear right from the actors themselves makes us that more invested in Lynch’s process and his direction, but also in the story they had to tell us. I’ll tell you what, I want to be cast in Lynch’s next project whatever it is. I’ll take “girl that stands in corner of post office” if it affords me the chance to work on one of his sets.
RK: How did you feel learning about the green glove and who it was originally intended for?
JC: I would’ve loved to see what Jack Nance would’ve done with the glove. I think Jake did what he was asked and it was great, but it would’ve been something special to see Pete wear the glove, or to be the one to defeat BOB because of his pure goodness.
RK: Yeah, I would have love to have seen that, but who wouldn’t have? I suppose I really just have two more questions. One I’m getting back to. There is a lot of honesty in this book, which I appreciate. It’s what you would hope for in a biography or memoir. One thing I told Ben and Bryon of Twin Peaks Unwrapped was that I almost think it is a stand-alone piece for 25YL or elsewhere, and that is about Lynch’s marriages. In these three chapters, we see his and Stofle’s marriage come together with, perhaps, some fault on both sides. Then, we get a definite sense from her that something has changed by the book’s end followed by Lynch musing on his art and spiritual journey, which we know is his focus. How did all of that read to you? I think it’s one of the stand-out themes of the book.
JC: Lynch’s personal life is interesting. He seems drawn to people who are as intense about their craft as he is—his art, his Art Life, his love of simple things: a good cup of coffee, a smoke. So, it seems to me these women who he was with understood that about him. I think when it comes to Stofle, she thought of an idealized marriage with Lynch, when really he and his work are what come first. This can be bad or good, depending how you look at it. I believe he has a huge capability to love, but he understands after all these years who he is. To love that in a person means you may not get that back. I do believe that last part of the book shows that, not that he doesn’t love Stofle, but that love means putting someone else’s needs above your own. It’s funny, it makes me recall a quote, which I used in my own wedding vows, from Katherine Hepburn: “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.” Lynch gives everything to his work, and the people who are in his life, his loves, give to him, but they may not always get that in return. You are either alright with this, or you’re not, which why it surprises me that Mary and he didn’t work out. I do feel she understood him better than most, especially in this arena.
RK: I’ve talked about his TM message figuring prominently in our previous coverage. It was no surprise that’s what his lasting message would be by memoir’s end. It means so much to him. So, I want to turn to a different topic to end our series. One of the topics Emily shares is just how much The Return took out of Lynch. It sounds like he was a juggernaut on this endeavor, but he banged his knees up. His age showed on the set, considering everything he needed to accomplish and did accomplish. We’ve all speculated on a Season 4 or even more likely, an extended feature film directly to Showtime. I believe he’s just stubborn enough to attempt a Season 4, but given everything you’ve learned from this biography and in the news—ideas from Antelope Don’t Run No More, Mark Frost’s renewed collaborative relationship, Lynch seen at different studio offices—what does it all say about Lynch’s future projects as far as you can tell or hope for?
JC: Lynch is a man who will never be finished. I think for him to say “I’m all done” would be as close to death as you could come. I think he has more stories to tell, and I think he wants to reach as many people as possible with all aspects of his work, through his art, his films, and his message about TM. He is truly helping many people with his foundation. But I believe his creative projects help people just as much. For me, personally, what he and Mark created in Twin Peaks lit a fire in me that I will always be grateful for. After a hiatus from writing, which is something I feel so lucky to be able to do, and thankful for sites such as ours to help showcase that love, Twin Peaks S3 ignited that fire again. David Lynch helped ignite that fire with his other works. So, the only thing I can hope for is more of his work. I hope more from him and Mark as a team as well. On paper, their collaboration shouldn’t work, but it does, beautifully. I would be happy with anything he’d like to put forth. Lynch makes you feel as though any idea you put forth can be possible, especially since he started out as just a little boy living in Missoula, Montana. His book title says it all: we all have room to dream and, indeed, make those dreams come true. You just have to take that first step.
RK: That’s great. Yeah, the book truly covers so much more than we were able to, even in a 7-part series. I hope everyone gets a chance to read it and feel they still find surprises. We’ll be using this volume along with so many other great works in our future articles, guaranteed. I would like to thank you and Paul Billington for helping me accomplish this series. For the rest of you, please continue to join us for more in-depth coverage of Lynch and Frost works coming soon.
 Lynch, David and Kristine McKenna, Room to Dream (New York: Random House, 2018), 449.