Hi ho, dear diary-o.
Bryan Ray here, reporting on nothing again. The next hour of Twin Peaks airs tonight. (Skip to the post-postscript if you're smart and do not care about the new Twin Peaks.) Instead of waiting, as I normally do, for the episode to end before I smear it with words, this time I want to venture a brief prediction while I'm still in possession of my ignorance, so as to have something to be wrong about. We've seen 11 of 28 episodes, so far; tonight will be number 12. That's two-thirds of the way through the season. Special Agent Dale Cooper is the show's main attraction, its lead character, its structural wall – or at least he was in the original show. Now this new Twin Peaks starts out devoid of its Cooper, because it attempts to follow the final plot point from the final season's final episode (WHY, by the way!? Why ever let a plot point dictate the content of any art you make?), where Cooper enters into the surreal realm and...
On second thought, I don't care to explain the silly reason why this newest season of Twin Peaks begins with no Cooper. The fact is that it does. So OK: here we are, beholding our favorite religion without its deity. Where has he gone? I see that the silly reason will not allow me to leave it unexplained: After being trapped in the surreal realm for a certain amount of time, the good Dale Cooper then escaped into the body of a guy named Dougie, who is new to the series, which is to say, he's a cipher: the audience knows not one thing about him. ...Haven't I explained this already? I feel like I've said all this before. ...Anyway, during our agent's act of commandeering this cipher Dougie, he (Cooper) apparently lost his memory and most of his physical functionality; so for well over HALF of this present season, subtitled Twin Peaks: The Return, Dale Cooper basically acts like the titular character from the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands (but without the cool costume).
My point is this: We're fast approaching the final third of the season, and there's STILL no hero. How long can this possibly last? It's not suspenseful; it never was. There's nothing at all of interest in a semi-comatose Cooper. It ranks null on the fun-meter. Therfore here's my prediction:
- Special Agent Cooper will revive this evening.
I mean that he'll snap back in full effect: razor-sharp consciousness. No more Dougie the sleepwalker. ...Also I want to make one other prediction, with regard to the fact that, so far, only hours 3, 4, and 8 have been sublime, and all the other hours of the show have been tedious. Here's my other prediction:
- This twelfth episode will be the sublimest yet.
You'll note that both of my predictions are made of 100% pure desperate baseless HOPE, nothing more. And, being predictions, they may or may not pan out. Here's how much I care if I'm right: Not much. Now here's how much I care if I'm wrong: Not much. So place your bets. It's a shrugging existence where few things matter.
I'll write a second postscript after this one, where I'll touch on things that haven't been touched on yet; but first I'll share the passages that I aborted during the process of gestating the above. I kept cutting out the flimsy parts and filing them in a sidecar folder while writing, not intending to let them into the main-course entry, but now I've changed my mind. Not because I think what I've written is precious; on the contrary: my aim with this blog is ever to reveal more flaws, lows, missteps, ugly decisions, crashes and burns of composition; because any success speaks for itself, whereas a failure is like a signpost denoting a pitfall, and I'm in the business of rushing foolishly about, to mark the way for angelic prudes. In other words: You critics can't mock and deride me, because I wanted to stumble. My crucifixion is your checkmate.
The only reason I'm keeping a record here of my reactions to the new Twin Peaks is that it's one of the two or three TV shows that I've ever admired. Most of what I find naturally attractive is considered unattractive by everyone else, so I'm eager to overemphasize my compatibility with the masses whenever a genuine fluke of my whim can be spun that way. And since Twin Peaks was a popular show, which I truly fell in love with (and then quickly learned to be skeptical of, and even rose into hate with (during lags of Season 2), then at last learned to accept its overall unevenness and always look forward to Lynch's contributions), I am happy to talk about it as much as I can, in hopes of luring normalfolk into my...
Nobody normal is stepping anywhere near my web of obsessions, at least not on account of the present entry: Who am I kidding? It's way too wordy. Too involved. It has already failed. You've got to set out your trap in the very first paragraph, the first sentence if possible, like the good old newspaper men used to do, and keep the text at an elementary school reading level (I was assured that this was the case, by my elementary school teacher; she said: if the daily news is written simply and clearly enough that a baby can read it, then the populace will read it, because the populace is a planet-sized baby)...
This Cooperless experiment worked for the Twin Peaks movie Fire Walk with Me (1992) – apparently Kyle MacLachlan, the actor who plays the agent, didn't want to participate much in the film, so writer-director Lynch was forced to invent the protagonists Chester Desmond and Sam Stanley. I mention this detail only to show that such a setup need not result in ruin.
The other shows I like? Hmmm, I have to think about that. As I said, I know that there are at least a few of them. Ah yes, First Person is an American TV series produced and directed by Errol Morris.
The REAL entry
(no Twin Peaks allowed)
Why do people still write poems? But I guess I don't mean ALL poems, because I understand why one would write prose poems, for instance; but what about verse: Why participate? If you live in a time before radio... No, even before the pre-radio days: way back before pencils and paper, in the era before writing itself was invented. The pre-literate ages. In other words: BLISS. If you live back then, you publish your thoughts by simply speaking them. If you want to get your words out to a larger number of people, you just speak louder. You climb up on a hill and yell down at your village: that's what you must do to be heard. Yet if you want your friends and family to remember certain of your teachings, so that their children can pass them down to their great-grandchildren, how do you assure that they send-and-receive your message as accurately as possible? You can't write down your words, because even if you find a feather quill pen lying on the ground next to a sheaf of college-ruled paper, with an ink jar nearby filled to the rim with fresh blood, you couldn't transfer your words to the future this way, because you have no alphabet.
If some rich kid would have thought to buy the copyright for the alphabet itself, way back before the beginning, then even God would have to pay that kid royalties, because the Word of God is made with letters from the alphabet. I'm just trying to show that poems were born from the distress of needing to SAVE one's thoughts but having no...
But it wasn't just the saving of thoughts, was it? Poetry comes as much from goofing off, screwing around, experimentation, as it does from the necessities of preservation.
No, that's wrong. I think that only LATER, AFTER poetry became written and collected and printed in books, only THEN did it begin to become intentionally wild weird zany and exuberant. I think that poems in the beginning were all pretty serious. People needed to remember how to properly hook on their war helms, and it was important to fix the codes of moral conduct, and to note the farming techniques that brought the luckiest results. And attribute all this to God.
So it makes sense that pre-literate civilization would employ verse, meter, rhyme, etc. to help them remember which brand names to buy at the supermarket. But what about the people who write verse today? I'm not talking about those who care about meter, because meter is important: you can't have rhythm without meter; and rhythm is fun. I'm not talking about rhyme either, because rhyme doesn't need a religious tract to defend it against the Truth: even solemn Reality loves to rhyme. But verse: why do we keep verse around? I guess I'm making an argument against line breaks and in favor of the period. Because the whole big deal is about whether you end your line with a dot, like a respectable sentence, or press the Enter key to make a hard carriage return.
I'm out of my league with this topic, I can tell. But I'm glad that I wandered this far, because otherwise this entry would have lacked the battle wounds that'll assure its entry into paradise. For on the last day, the sky will unzip like a vinyl catsuit, and the LORD (or LADY) will emerge to look everything over, to see how the things that (s)he created have fared in the interim. And he will wave cloudward all that hath scars and defects; and she will ignite a bonfire for everything eminent.
English, good: French, bon. Peppermint bonbon: peppermint good-good. Bonfire: good-fire. (This last deduction is false, I know, the word's actual root is BONE-fire; but I just like the thought, because it reminds me of Blake's "walking among the flames of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity.")
I'm comfortable composing in the so-called prose format. That's why almost all my books are like that. But I did use verse to compose just one small work, which I titled Even Silence Nods (available on its own or in a variety pack). It's my attempt at heroic couplets, which are rhymed lines of iambic pentameter. Since modern readers hate this type of formal writing, I knew that it'd be all right if I botched the job. Not that I tried to be sloppy, but because this manner of verse is not my forte, I knew that I could relax and any naive mistakes would match the conception.
And I like the tension that exists between the prose synopsis of a section of verse and that verse section itself. In Paradise Lost, John Milton provided an "argument" to precede each separate poetic chapter, and this argument is a prose explanation of that book's plot, and the goings-on thereof. I thought to myself: Why not provide an argument IN VERSE purporting to give the gist of, say, a PROSE essay. But then I realized that, albeit with large-soul'd sincerity rather than belated deviousness, my friend Waldo did that already. I mean Ralph Waldo Emerson: many of his essays are preceded by verse poems of his own composition. And this practice didn't begin with him; I just choose him as an arbitrary starting point, for the best reasons available (I'm a monoglot from the United States of America). But whereas Emerson's essays are prose-heavy, and Milton's epic is verse-heavy, I tried to balance my prosaic synopses with the versified sections, give them equal time, to maximize the potential for discrepancies. Also my mood-style-attitude is late-decadent-comical.
Is all well that ends well? I'm thinking that the label "comedy" used to denote simply a work that concludes on a positive note, as opposed to having all the work's characters die of the plague; in other words, a comedy wasn't necessarily supposed to cause the audience to laugh aloud incessantly. So when I say that I write in the comic mode, or that my books are comical, I only mean that they...
Actually maybe I don't know what I mean. I just know that my books have a spirit-lifting lightness about them; a brightness about them. And a darkness about them. Therefore they are jovial. Terrifyingly inconsequential: I am shocked they exist. They are sincere and droll at once. I'm offended at their contents. I laughed when I wrote them, and I laugh when I read them; but it's not the laughter of a joke, it's more like the release that follows the realization: We just snuck into Heaven and the guards didn't notice.
But is all well that ends well? I hold a grudge against possibility that it was not manufactured so as to prevent much of the loneliness I've endured. And the indifference from almost everyone. I say ALMOST because I've met a happy few friendly souls out here in the wilderness. So when I become God, they'll be given choice rivers to stand by. I'll greet them personally, and speak to them audibly. I'll even offer them fruits, which I've polished myself with the sleeve of my tunic. But the problem is that most of the population of my world will end up in the eternal detention center, if I am allowed access to my earth-brain while judging their ghosts. So that's why I'm in favor of death, because it erases one's memory; and I'm also for enforcing a dress code requiring anything deific to wear flesh, because nothing bodiless should be able to sway the destiny of the full-bodied.
Be absolute for death: either death or life
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep. A breath thou art...
Those are the first four lines from the Duke's famous speech in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. The initial line ends after the first instance of "life"; although there's a period after "sweeter" which concludes the sentence. Now I see why lines of verse are still important, even after the invention of the full-stop dot. The carriage return, or line ending, emphasizes for the reader those aspects of the rhythm of both thought and word which would otherwise be unapparent or less-noticeable. So the verse form offers all sorts of subtle magic that is good to continue experimenting with in the present. I bet the verse form will even have taken over all of futurity. I imagine that our faroff descendants, one and all, will sport prescription sunglasses and only speak in rhymed, metered, verse; but this will come naturally to them, because of their big brains. At first when you see them they'll just look like brains in a vat, but then you notice the vat has wheels, and that there are little limbs on the brain, and the eyes are like snails' eyes.
One last question: Do I mention my publications so frequently because I want to make sales and top the bestseller list? Yes, that is the reason that I say... No. I couldn't care less how much money is made from my books. I'd be happiest if some smart hackers out there would figure out a way to get copies for free from Amazon (the seller), because I hate Amazon and I'd be happy to know that the multitudes have awakened and become The Giant Albion again, and are beating the pulp out of all the transnational businesses. It's like that monster movie where the giant lizard battles the giant moth. Except there's finally a real god among the beasts: the Human Form Divine.
So if the hackers hack Amazon and get quintillions of copies of my collected writings (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) delivered to their homes, and they distribute these all around the world, the LAST thing I'd do is complain about losing my cut of the loot; for first of all, I'd be dead, so not even the prophet Ezekiel himself, if he co-wrote a teleplay with David Lynch, could claim that my dry bones got electrified up from the surreal realm back into clocktime; but second, and more importantly, I care solely about igniting futurity's imagination.
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
(That's from near the end of Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind".) So help fan the flames. It's the only way all this is gonna end. Jesus said so. No deluge this round: the rainbow bars that boon.
My single reservation about exclaiming as I did above, when I said "the LAST thing I'd regret is losing my share of the spoils," is that I hope the pure evil corporation Amazon does not force me to work so as to recoup their losses, the way that restaurants will punish their own employees for a customer who escapes without paying their bill by deducting the amount from that table's waitress's paycheck.