Review: Catching the Big Fish

I seldom read books on creativity. Which is kind of stupid, I suppose, since my livelihood depends upon my being creative. But for some reason, perhaps because he is one person in film who really follows his own vision, I was interested to hear what David Lynch (of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks fame) had to say about it in his book Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.

Not surprisingly, Lynch has his own path to creativity: expanding his consciousness through Transcendental Meditation (TM). TM has been the way that Lynch expands his consciousness and thus he feels he is better able to catch “the big fish.” From the introduction:

Ideas are like fish.

If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.

Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They are huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.

Lynch details how he got into TM and what it has done for his work and life and if you like Lynch’s films he offers some interesting insights, especially about the role of the accidental during filming. (Note: I really think there are more parallels between the world of film and the world of interaction design that haven’t been explored at all. Some of the creative process is remarkably similar.)

Towards the end of this small book, Lynch offers this good advice: “Stay true to yourself. Let your voice ring out, and don’t let anybody fiddle with it. Never turn down a good idea, but never take a bad idea.”

May it be so.

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