Latest read: Catching the Big Fish

It was great to see David Lynch’s new book Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity with a eye catching cover to match.
As a fan of his work going back to Blue Velvet (Special Edition) and Twin Peaks…I could not get by without mentioning Wild At Heart, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and of course Eraserhead.

It was also nice to see a NYTimes article about his latest work, Inland Empire.

The focus is his experience of transcendental meditation and its effect not only on his films, but his paintings too.

He gives artists the opportunity to dig deeper and “catch the bigger fish in the river” — applying those lessons to their work. It was an opportunity to get David’s view of his own creative process including how he came up with the red room in Twin Peaks.  A must for anyone finding David Lynch creative.

Latest read: The Gulag Archipelago

I am not sure why this title The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956 came to my reading list…other than Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as author. In college August 1914: The Red Wheel 1: A Narrative in Discrete Periods of Time was on my reading list. The story of his own family and Imperial Russia’s role in WWI.
The Gulag ArchipelegoWith the holiday break at MIAD almost over I found time to finish this work’s first volume and re-examine my interest in Soviet history. For the better part of the 1900s – all too often – it delt with this type of control by the communist party in Soviet Russia.

Solzhenitsyn’s writing is so powerful. Soviet oppression beginning after the 1917 revolution and extending into Stalin’s post WWII Russia is one of the most horrific periods of the 20th Century. The amount of suffering and the power of the Checka was overwhelming to read story after story. And reading how many ways the Soviets could torture people…made me think about the amount of suffering and torture that occurred in “break away” Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact nations in 1968. Czechoslovakia and Poland come to mind.

So is it actually possible to torture someone by forcing them to standup for four or five days? Solzhenitsyn clearly proves this was just one of so many terrible treatments people faced for not supporting the communists. His writing provides too many details of the number of vivid examples…all based upon his own stay in a Gulag and the interview with hundreds of fellow prisoners. Solzhenitsyn wrote this in volumes and multiple sections. This is only Volume I Section I “The Prison Industry, Perpetual Motion.” As much as the first section is horribly depressing, his writing in section two is even more compelling.

I must now also acknowledge that Volume II has been to difficult to read. The detail’s provided by Solzhenitsyn too intense, depressing and horrific. The details of torture by the Soviets… A Russian ship carrying prisoners that breaks down at sea, is offered assistance by a Japanese boat — only to be waived off. Dead prisoners were then pushed overboard. Many unknown deaths by systematic torture how all too well the horrors of the Soviet Gulags.