First published in 2007, Catching The Big Fish is a 177-book full of very short chapters in which David Lynch writes things that feel very David Lynchian.
The back of the book describes Catching The Big Fish as being the story of where David Lynch gets his ideas from. And it is true that, in a few chapters, Lynch does describe how a certain sight or sound inspired some of the scenes in his films. (For instance, he describes how he came to cast Frank Silva as KILLER BOB in Twin Peaks. It’s a story that you’ve probably heard before but, as with most things, it’s more charming when you read it in Lynch’s words.) Lynch describes capturing an idea as being like catching a big fish. It’s not easy and it requires you to heard for what Lynch calls the “deeper water” but you feel proud of yourself when you do it. (Or, at least, I assume that’s the case. I don’t actually fish myself.) Along with discussing his ideas, Lynch mentions the pain of Dune’s failure, his love of the French, his fascination with textures and Bob’s Big Boy, and the importance of not doing anything that could possibly compromise one’s creativity, whether it be therapy or drugs.
That said, the majority of the book is Lynch discussing meditation. Lynch is a notably apolitical filmmaker but he’s always been outspoken in his support of meditation to find peace and inspiration so it’s not surprising that a book about where he gets his ideas would center on meditation. Most of Lynch’s big ideas seem to come from catching details that others are too busy to spot and Lynch credits meditation with giving him the peace of mind and the insight necessary to do that.
So, it would seem that Lynch’s main lesson here would be that it’s a good idea to pay attention to what’s going on around you and to always take a closer look at things than the people around you. To be honest, it’s kind of an obvious lesson but again, the book is written by Lynch and the most obvious of things are more charming when Lynch points them out. As you might expect, Lynch comes across as being in his own world but he also seems like he genuinely hopes that you get something worthwhile out of the book. In the final chapter, he wishes you “peace” and you have no doubt that he means it.
To be honest, I’m not really into meditation. It works for some but it usually just makes me more anxious. But I do really like David Lynch and, if you’re a Lynch fan, you’ll find this book interesting. It’s enigmatic but earnest, much like Lynch’s best films.