Did I say I'm not a fan of Hollywood? Well, I'm not, and though I typically avoid film and TV like the plague, every now and then I get the inkling to swallow some moving images, much as some people get the urge to severe a limb, or drink shoe polish. I get the itch irregularly, maybe every few months. Earlier this week, though, I got it two days in a row.
It's always magic when it happens, my movie itch, despite the unpleasantry that usually precede it. It goes like this, most of the time: I'll be going along, doing my starving-writer thing, free from the shackles of The Tube; and, suddenly, my inspiration will die. Just gone, yoinked like a plug. So then I'll get up, despondent, do whatever I have to do, and be left with a couple hours to kill. Over time, I've learned to recognize this as a divine cue to take in a film of some sort, and I always heed it, because I never finish the ingested movie without getting something from it (I've ripped of -- errr, come away with many writing ideas after watching these select movies).
Before I go into the pair of films I happened to stumble across, I should go into the book I was reading at the time, Mystery by Peter Straub. It was a decent read, though I'm not much of a mystery buff, but none of that matters: what does are two elements from the book, the blue rose and, much smaller within the story, the tenor sax. The blue rose is a running element in the text, a key part of the "mystery" and something that's never fully explained, symbolically, at least; while the tenor sax is just mentioned in passing, a little one-line scrap of atmosphere thrown in arbitrarily.
Tuesday, May 4th. I woke up, ate, wrote for less than an hour, and -- poof! -- my inspiration farted out and I was left looking for a film to watch. I had no idea what I should watch, I own no movies, so I wracked my head for any possible movie that may serve my purposes, eventually settling on Lost Highway, for reasons I don't remember. I'd seen the Lynch film advertised when it came out in '97, but never watched it, even though I'd bought the soundtrack (seems like buying a leash without owning a dog, in retrospect). So I went out, rented the film, and watched it, and, having never experienced David Lynch, I was blown away, despite its incredibly disjointed and alienating narrative -- but, again, that's another post. What's important is that one of the film's main characters happened to play the tenor sax, as stated by said character near the start of the film. You may be thinking So what? but the thing is, I just happened to read the page of Mystery referencing the tenor sax barely an hour after watching Lost Highway. I can't remember the last time I saw mentioned the words tenor sax, unless you count mondegreening better sex. Neat, huh? Well, that's only half the story, though.
Now comes Wednesday, May 5th, yesterday, as of writing. I woke up, psyched to tear through a short story to make up for Tuesday's non-performance ... and the same thing happened, an hour of warming up then nothing. Soooo ... back to the untapped Lynch library, this time for Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me. Again, the film blew me away, for its sheer bizarrity and vignette-based narrative, if not its remarkable cinematography, but I'll cut to the chase: near the start of the film, you are introduced to a loose theme that runs through the length of the flick, something never explained or elaborated on -- the blue rose.
It's of note that I finished Mystery, a five-hundred-fifty page novel, on Tuesday afternoon.