Recommended: Catching the Big Fish
Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity is the closest thing we have to an autobiography of David Lynch. The title refers to meditation (or daydreaming) as a way of “fishing” for ideas in the big stream of consciousness he believes exists in all of us. If you want to catch little ideas, you fish in shallow waters. If you want big ideas, you must go deeper. While the analogy might seem simplistic, it is remarkably apt, especially when Lynch begins to relate the many ways his fishing expeditions have helped him in creating his films or coping with depression or disaster (Dune, anyone?).
Broken into 82 brief chapters, each with its own title, Catching the Big Fish is very much in the concise, epigrammatic style of modern writers like Barthes or Wittgenstein. The chapter titles announce the topic and then Lynch riffs on the theme. The momentum of the book is quick and lively. Lynch’s writing style reflects the way he speaks; in short, compact sentences that gracefully – and sometimes mysteriously – illustrate his ideas.
“I went to a psychiatrist once. I was doing something that had become a pattern in my life and I thought, ‘Well, I should go talk to a psychiatrist.’ When I got into the room, I asked him, ‘Do you think that this process could, in any way, damage my creativity?’ And he said, ‘Well, David, I have to be honest; it could.’ And I shook his hand and left.”
Some of the stories in the book are ones that Lynch has told for the last decade (they are still interesting despite their familiarity), but most of the book is new. He discusses the casting process, his working methods and the development of some of his most famous films. He openly addresses personal issues like why he chooses not to record director’s commentary for any of his films (“…we’ve got to protect the film… director’s commentaries just open the door to changing people’s take on the number one thing – the film”).
“Most of filmmaking is common sense. If you just stay on your toes and think about how to do a thing, it’s right there.”
There are no great personal revelations in Catching the Big Fish. But through chapters titled “Light on Film,” “Sleep,” “Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit” and “Having a Set-up,” you get the feeling Lynch is trying to tell us some of what we want to know about him, but providing the answers couched in riddles or short tales.
This is a poet’s work of criticism and meditation; a unique creation much like its author. Catching the Big Fish is an inspiring, important book for anyone interested in exploring the creative mind.