David Lynch, the most important director of this era as the Guardian newspaper once called him, knows more than most about creativity.

For the 71-year-old director of the innovative and influential “Twin Peaks” TV series, peace of mind is the bedrock of the creative process. He achieves it with transcendental meditation.

“A lot of people can’t sleep at night in this crazy world. You’ve got to feel good to create, you’ve got to have those ideas flowing,” Lynch told the Kyiv Post in a Skype interview on Nov. 10.

Now he hopes to boost creativity in Ukraine with the opening of the Kyiv branch of the David Lynch Foundation, a global charitable organization that promotes and teaches transcendental meditation, a form of silent mantra meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.


Lynch arrived in Ukraine on Nov. 16 for the opening of the foundation’s Kyiv branch. It’s his second trip to the country, which he describes as a “lively, intelligent place.” He first came in 2009 to present his book “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.”

A lot happened in Ukraine since the director’s first visit, although he might not know that much about it: Lynch said he is not very keen of following the news.

“In general, I am trying to work,” he said.

Lynch added that he is looking forward to being done with all the traveling and getting back to work at home in Los Angeles.

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Lynch came to Europe to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award at Rome Film Fest on Nov. 4 and to present the first two episodes of the third season of Twin Peaks at the Camerimage Film Festival in the city of Bydgoszcz in Poland on Nov. 14. He also gave speeches about transcendental meditation and presented his artwork in various countries while on the continent.

In Ukraine, Lynch will have several short meetings with fans at the Planeta Kino cinema and a dinner at Fairmont Grand Hotel on Nov. 17. Tickets for the dinner cost $2,000.


Promoting meditation

Lynch has said in numerous interviews that transcendental meditation has played a huge role in his life. He’s been meditating twice a day for more than 40 years, and his book, “Catching the Big Fish,” published in 2006, is devoted to mediation. During his interview with Kyiv Post, Lynch spoke about the connection between creativity and transcendental meditation more than about anything else.

According to Lynch, meditation has helped him expand his consciousness, and overcome stress, anxiety and other problems that he gives the catchall term “negativity.”

“People who are interested in real peace, they say that peace is not just the absence of war, it’s the absence of all negativity,” Lynch said.

Lynch also believes that for artists it’s important to understand negativity and various human conditions to make great stories, but they don’t have to suffer themselves. The director said that people who are depressed don’t want to create art — they usually don’t even want to get out of bed.

He also believes that meditation helps him to “catch ideas” and “fragments” that might develop into new scripts, paintings, or other artworks.


“I thought that I might get really calm and start making only children’s movies or whatever,” Lynch said with a smile. “But it’s not the case.”

Twin Peaks

Lynch and scriptwriter Mark Frost recently finished the third season of “Twin Peaks,” a mystery drama about a small logging town shaken by the murder of high school student Laura Palmer.

The series, which premiered in 1990, is reckoned to have transformed television drama, opening the door to non-standard characters and twisted plotlines, along with powerful surreal visual elements. In “Twin Peaks,” Lynch gradually reveals the rotten side of the town and its citizens, who seem innocent and almost ideal at first sight.

While Lynch wasn’t much involved with the second season of “Twin Peaks,” he returned to the world of Twin Peaks with a full-length movie “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” in 1992. The third season, which Lynch calls an 18-hour-long movie, aired on the U.S. network Showtime from May 21 to Sept. 3. Lynch co-wrote and directed every episode.

“In the first two seasons, there was a red room and a scene in a red room where (FBI agent Dale) Cooper appears in a dream 25 years later. And we decided: Well, it may be fate. We have to do it again, in 25 years,” Lynch explained about the setting of the third season.

U.S. film director David Lynch poses at the 12th Rome Film Festival on Nov. 4. (AFP)

Asked how he came up with the idea of creating two additional characters in the third season for Kyle MacLachlan, who also plays show’s main character, Cooper, Lynch just said that “ideas come, and then you follow the ideas.”

“I think that a human being is nothing without an idea. We would just sit in a chair if we had no ideas,” he said.

On creativity

Lynch compares the process of creating with fishing: First one has to concentrate on the desire to catch an idea, while thousands of them are swimming around, says the director.

“Desiring is like focusing. You focus, you desire, and you might catch a fish — a little beautiful fish. It’s a fragment you love,” Lynch said.
He advised to write down these “fragments” on paper to remember them.

“Now, when you have something as a fragment, you have even more bait on your hook. And lo and behold, it will pull in the ideas that are married to it. It’s a process. Lo and behold, and the script or painting will come,” Lynch said.

Lynch said he doesn’t watch other TV series, because for him the process of creation is “catching ideas, and not getting worried about what other people are doing.”

Lynch is mostly known for his films, but he started out as a painter. He recalled that once when he was painting a picture of a garden, he imagined he saw the leaves in the painting moving, and heard the sound of the wind. The experience prompted him to make his first one-minute animation film.


Today, Lynch creates various types of art, using different mediums — most of which he learned about simply by using them.

“Mediums are different, like people are different. You have to get to know them. You visit them and they start talking to you,” the director said.

“Let’s take paintings: You start fiddling around and see what paint does and what the brushes do. And then you get a dialog with paint and start getting deeper into the world of paint. You’ll start getting ideas by acting and reacting. And pretty soon you get familiar with this person called painting, and finding your own voice with that medium. It’s the same with all other mediums.”

He also thinks that people who are focused on creating for money might get in trouble, because they might use ideas they don’t really believe in.

“I say be truly yourself, find your own voice, be true to that voice, don’t ever turn down a good idea, and don’t ever take a bad idea — work in total freedom,” Lynch said.

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