Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Mark Frost at Texas Book Festival; Austin, TX



My wife and I drove from Dallas to Austin on November 6 to hear Mark Frost read from--and answer questions about--his new book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks. Frost was appearing as part of the Texas Book Festival, and this would be his last appearance promoting his book in the US. We were quite happy he was visiting our neck of the woods before heading overseas.

Mark Frost at the Texas Book Festival

We arrived about two hours early and decided to grab lunch in the hotel where the event was taking place.  Not long before we finished, I looked up to see Frost entering the restaurant. Now, I have had about half-a-dozen encounters with Mr. Frost over the past twenty years (some in person, most by phone) but I was still a bit intimidated about going over to say hello and re-introduce myself. Luckily, my wife encouraged me . . . and so I did.

Well, Mark Frost couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. I apologized for interrupting the start of his meal and he graciously asked me to come back and join him for a chat after he finished. So, about half-an-hour later, I did. We had a wonderful visit, basically talking about our favorite television shows (he and I are both big fans of Fargo season 2), and the changing nature of television over the past 25 years.  We spoke very briefly about the new Twin Peaks (it was all off the record but, honestly, he didn't reveal anything that fans don't already know) and how the old show raised a high bar for all others to meet.



Fargo Season 2

Soon after, Frost appeared on stage, read from his book and answered a great many questions from fans (season 3 was an off-limit topic). One of the nice take-aways, for me, was Mark's description of "mysteries" versus "secrets."  I'm paraphrasing, but the gist of it was: mysteries help us access the beauty and wonder of life (and can be akin to religious experiences) whereas secrets are a creation of man, often in an effort to gain power. There is a yin-yang, here, (and a possible spectrum, of sorts) which Frost highlighted by reading the "Opening Statement" of the Archivist from The Secret History.

Frost, preparing to read (w/moderator, Barbara Morgan)


This discussion really helped me appreciate the book in a new way.  We all knew it was a puzzle (and yes, I believe there are answers hidden inside it), but maybe it is something more--a cautionary tale of what can happen when we try too hard to find all the answers, when we try to define, in exact terms, all that we find curious and enigmatic. In short, the book supports the Lynchian axiom that "there's a beauty in not knowing."

I think it is safe to say The Secret History of Twin Peaks is a great preamble to the upcoming new season of Twin Peaks.  I have a good feeling that we are going to be quite surprised. :)

Mark Frost and a Fan

8 comments:

  1. Hi M. Thorne,

    Just started reading your book last week, being a big fan of Wrapped in Plastic, it's an exciting read.

    One question: didn't you find it weird in Mark Frost's book when Major Briggs decided to call Cooper, learning he went to Glastonbury Grove during the night, while in the show Briggs knew it since he was at the Sherrif's station?

    I have serious doubts that this "difference" is on purpose; I might be really wrong here. Who knows? :)

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    1. That's a really interesting point. I'm probably missing something, but most of the fan sites, blogs, and podcasts I see REALLY want to hold out hope that this book is filled with mysteries that will be revealed in due time. But I think Mark Frost's understanding of mystery is contrary to Lynch's. Frost looks at mystery as leading us to knowledge. I feel Lynch's understanding of mystery is more "mystery for mystery's sake." We just bask in its glory for its own sake. Thus, when I find little errors like the one you mentioned, I'm inclined to think one of two things: 1. it is probably just a mistake because not even Frost is obsessed with the details like we are; or 2. It is intentional and then I am still frustrated because dozens of little mistakes are not interesting to me! Like I said, I'm probably missing something!

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    3. It is interesting that all of the Twin Peaks books (Secret Diary, Cooper Bio, Access Guide, and Secret History) contain errors and contradictions. Did Frost think about this? Is TSHoTP a deliberate effort to fold all these works into the over-all narrative, despite their "errors"? Something to think about.

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    4. On a side note, I'm currently reading The Essential Wrapped in Plastic, and it's a fantastic read, I love it. There's so much I had forgotten about. Thank you.

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    5. Seems like I made a mistake, Briggs was not at the Sherrif's station the night of Miss Twin Peaks ��

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    6. Thanks for your nice words about The Essential Wrapped In Plastic! I am glad you are enjoying it.

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  2. I think some of it is intentional, namely Norma having a mother who is not M.T. Wayne and no sister named Annie BLackburne :) Well, I hope so.
    For the other ones, like Briggs never mentioning being kidnapped by Windom Earle and brought back to the Sherriff station, or Nadine's eye accident being different from what Ed told Cooper in the show, I think these are mistakes actually. I hope I'm wrong.
    But since this happened before (I sound like an angry fan lol) with the Laura Palmer Diary and Cooper's autobiography, and the Access Guide to Twin Peaks, It might indeed be happening again :)

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