GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
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The usual ways of attempting to make sense of the narrative in Part Eight are helpful, but adult vision in the critical-theoretical attitude has a way of seeing too many things at once, anticipating too much, and leaving the present matters at hand to attend to past or future details. What would a hypothetical child--perhaps the inner child in each of us--make of what we saw on Sunday? What becomes clearer or less clear about the narrative in the present without a past full of suffering and a future full of existential dread? This experiment is an effort to get us onto a different path of looking, because where the parameters of what can be received are adjusted, so are the phenomena presented.
I sometimes find it helpful to interpret Lynch films as if I were a child reading a storybook. In doing so, I take it for granted that the fantastical and the real are best of friends, that the enchanted world of the story is an extension of my own world rather than an escape from it, and that "getting it" is more about relinquishing myself wholeheartedly to the story's imagination-expanding ride than about mastering and sorting its details and discrepancies. For me, the exercise of attempting to experience a narrative through the eyes of my inner child can help me to suspend my critical faculties and dial back my skepticism (two essential skills borne of adult experience that are crucial for coping with suffering but that often hinder my full absorption into a good story) so that I can deal more intuitively and joyfully with what's in front of me. Here are some of the things that my inner child told me about the more difficult moments of Part Eight.
So this huge fiery bomb goes off on Earth and makes these scary soot people from another planet come. The soot people love fire so much that they'll do anything to get it. They're all burnt up from it and they don't look very nice because all they ever do is try to get more fire. They don't have time to comb their hair and shave their beards and change clothes or hang out with their friends and families because they're so burned out trying to get that fire. The big bomb made a secret passage through this crazy tunnel to their hideout, which is an old burnt-up store. It looks like it used to be a really cool hideout, where you could buy stuff and get gas for your car, but then they didn't take care of it or fix it up and now it's all broken down and smoky. They're just nervous and mean and moving around looking for other people's fire to take. That's why they came to our planet, I think. When they saw the fire, they thought they could get some of ours, maybe.
The soot people go away and then I saw this wicked cool dragon lady in outer space who's kinda scary, because it's real dark and she looks super powerful and mysterious and kind of like a person but sort of not and you can't really know if she's bad or good because she's not really doing anything mean or nice. The dragon lady's not like the soot people--she doesn't have any clothes or even hair or a face and she's not burned up--she's just flying in space and everything is dark except her. Then a whole bunch of watery, sticky goop comes out of her head. I thought it was barf or something at first, but then I saw that there's all these eggs in it--tons and tons of little speckled eggs and some medium-sized ones that look sort of like these awesome robin eggs I saw in our yard and lizard eggs I saw at school. Maybe it's more like frog eggs, though, because the goop is like a comforting pillow to them and protects them like I saw in the lagoon at Northside Park on a nature walk.
But there's a really big black pod, too, with some mean guy's face in it, kind of off to the side, pushing the eggs around. I liked all the little and medium-sized eggs, but the big black pod was weird and scary. It felt like when my uncle died from cancer cells; my mom said the cancer cells got too big for the other cells and just took over like a bully and wouldn't let the other cells grow. I bet there's some cool creatures in the tiny and medium eggs, like robins or lizards or frogs, that might come out if that bully doesn't get them.
Anyway, one of the nice eggs comes out of the watery goop and flies into another fire tunnel--it looks sort of like the big bomb fire tunnel for awhile and the egg gets all heated up and hot and golden and flies through the fire. But then it goes into another tunnel that's got all these red specks and stuff and I'm kind of glad, because if it was white specks again it might go back to the burned-out soot people hideout.
But there's another hideout! It's this rad metal fortress that's way up on a mountain in the middle of a purple ocean! It looks like you could never get in, but there are these little holes on the side that are small enough for the egg to fly through it!
The egg flies into this thimble machine in this room that looks kind of like my great-grandma's house before she died with one of those super old record players (we sold hers at a garage sale because it took up too much room and can't play CDs or iPods). There's a lady in there who is all dressed up like for an old time costume party, and then this giant old man who looks like Robert Wadlow from the Guinness Book of World Records. They're very weird, but I feel like they could be nice underneath even though they're super serious and kind of mysterious.
The thimble machine is blinking and buzzing, I think because the egg flew in and any time something flies in through one of those holes, the giant who's like the caretaker of the hideout needs to know. He turns off the buzzer and goes upstairs to this old theater that seems like his Batcave where he goes to find out his missions because it has a big screen and another thimble machine and bunch of cool chutes and tubes and wires and golden metal pieces like a Rube Goldberg machine I saw on YouTube.
So the old giant guy sees the bully pod pushing in on those neat little eggs and he doesn't like it either, and then he does something really cool: he rises up right by one of the tubes that is connected to the thimble machine and he activates his superpower which I think is sort of like this really awesome kind of positive thinking that can actually make bad things happen different and good in the world--I mean, my dad is always talking about this thing called "mindfulness" where you can fight bad things in your life just by being sort of quiet inside and not always so worried about homework or bullies or something embarrassing at recess that you get mad and sad so easy and can't be happy in what you are doing right then because you're always thinking about bad or sad stuff from before or next time. The old giant's superpower is kind of like that, except not just with what he feels about stuff, but with what stuff is really like in the real world, if that makes sense.
I'm kind of embarrassed to say the next part, because it's about the birds and the bees and some kids my age don't know about that and their parents get weird about it. But my whole family are feminists and my aunt is an activist and makes knitting stuff and crafts all the time and one time she made these little uteruses out of yarn for a craft fair to sell to people to pay for ladies who have cancer like my uncle did before he died. Uteruses are the things that protect babies while they are growing inside their mamas and my aunt says they are really powerful, and they must be really powerful, because that's just what the old giant makes when he turns his superpower on--a giant gold uterus of mindfulness just comes right out of his face and when the little egg comes out of the tube it goes straight into the golden uterus! The fancy lady in the costume is there too, and she's got a big smile on her face like she knows that egg is going to be safe and like that black bully-face pod doesn't have a chance to get it now!
The golden uterus of mindfulness gets bigger and bigger with the egg inside it until the the old giant has put so many layers of good quietness around it that the egg has its own globe of lights around it, kind of like my planetarium turtle nightlight that Mom gave me that puts stars on my ceiling and makes me feel safe because it's not dark and I'm not alone and I can count stars until I calm down and fall asleep.
The egg globe floats down to the fancy woman in the costume and she looks into it and smiles and sees a happy girl's face inside the globe of lights around the egg and kisses her. I think the happy girl is like a protector of the little world inside the egg. I'm glad there's a protector to go with the egg globe, because even though the old giant's mindful thoughts and the fancy lady's love seem great and everything, I worry that they'll go away sometimes or maybe they won't last, and so a protector is there just in case. The egg globe floats up into the Rube Goldberg machine and into a golden tube that will launch it to Earth! And it's going to my country, the United States, even though the leaders of my country made that big bomb that made the soot people come. I'm not Catholic, but I go to Catholic school, and the priest there says that there's a lot of power in helping people even though you do bad things and they do bad things and that the kindest people even love their enemies and do good to people who hate them, so I think that means that the old giant and the fancy lady are some of the kindest people.
By the time the egg makes it to New Mexico, I can't see the globe or the protector girl anymore. I worry that they burned off on a bumpy trip all the way to Earth, but I still hope that maybe they're inside the egg with the creature somehow, like maybe the creature ate them to stay alive on the trip like one of those weird placenta thingies that my friend Oscar's mom turned into a powder for soups and salads because there's so much nutrients in it.
I was right that there is a super cool creature inside the egg! It hatched and it's a frog-fly! It has these neat froggy back legs that and these cool insecty head and wings. I hope it has a lot of awesome powers, too, because in my Greek and Norse mythology books, all the animals that are like a cross between two animals are mythical and magic and can do all the things that both animals can do and sometimes much more. So maybe this creature can swim in deep water and fly to high heights, like a moth to flame! That would be so great!
My friend Mable (a know-it-all smarty pants whose mom is a professor who teaches college students about Jonathan Swift) says she's a "realist" and that creatures like this one are probably cursed because they have legs for swimming but no gills for breathing under water and wings for flying but a body too heavy to carry aloft for very long, and so "this poor creature has the worst of both worlds." She got all dramatic and bossy and said that they "must live between the heights and the depths in futile repetitions of ascent and descent," whatever that means. She's a know-it-all, like I said, but I did look up "futile" on Google and it says "hopeless."
I'm not hopeless at all, because that little creature seemed to know just what to do and just how to do it--right out of the egg, even, like it didn't really eat the placenta protector and all those stars until they were all gone, but just invited them inside to grow with it and show it where to go. Also, I think Mable's wrong that "ups and downs and all-over-agains," like my brother says, are "futile." I'm kind of like that--going up and feeling good sometimes and going down and feeling bad sometimes, but I've learned some stuff about feeling good from feeling bad and some stuff about feeling bad from feeling good.
I was really happy to see the frog-fly walk and super excited when it flew all the way up to that girl's window. Maybe it really can do all kinds of cool stuff! I wasn't expecting the creature to go into that girl's mouth at all, though. That was very weird and gross. I don't eat animals. But I didn't expect that tiny speckled egg to go into the giant's uterus of mindfulness and I didn't expect it to get that smiling girl to protect it and I didn't expect the creature inside to be a frog-fly or to have brought the protector inside of it to guide it, but all those things happened and it seemed to turn out okay. If the frog-fly can take in its protector while sleeping inside an egg, maybe this girl can take in her protector while sleeping in her bed.
I have a book about an old lady who swallowed a bunch of seeds and grew a garden in her belly and then just barfed the whole garden up and it was really nice in her yard then. And a radioactive spider gave Peter Parker super powers in my Spiderman comic. I hope the frog-fly can help the girl keep those soot people from taking her fire and I have a feeling that will happen, because the soot people did some very bad things to other people in her town that didn't happen to her. Maybe it's not so bad to be like the frog-fly, where you can fly okay--high enough to do your special thing--but not so high as the soot people. They can go way up high, all the way into the sky, and zip around in the electrical wires, and come down like lightning, but when they do, they just hurt people and when they don't they just go around in that old, smoky, burned out store. I'd rather be a frog-fly than a soot person, that's for sure.