To this day, I cannot see Ray Wise in anything without thinking of Leland Palmer.

I don’t think I ever wrote this story, so here it goes.

In the early 90s, straight out of school, a wee teenager with a deep love of writing and theater, I found myself in medical school. Let’s leave out the details of how I ended up there because well, the people involved are no longer alive to chime in. I hated every second of medical school. I hated the smell of death. I hated touching dead bodies, which I was supposed to cut through so that I would understand how muscle tissue works, how it runs through us, how it keeps us moving. I wanted to know who these people were, how they ended up in a morgue, dissected by someone like me who had no interest in ever cutting anyone, dead or alive, open. I was supposed to study subjects that I genuinely couldn’t grasp: chemistry, anatomy, physiology. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t put enough effort or because I truly do not have the ability to learn certain topics, I just couldn’t understand any of them. Not a word. I had the books but I felt they were written in a foreign language. I tried switching to books in English to see if they would make more sense, if they would be clearer, but I had no such luck. The language of science was alien to me. (I did get around to understanding a lot of it later on, when I did switch study paths, but I don’t want to anticipate myself here). I thought if I put enough effort I could get through the seven years of medical school and eventually become a psychiatrist, which was, of all medical fields, the only one I could remotely see myself pursuing. I would then be able to talk to people, instead of cutting them open. I wasn’t revolted by blood or the body itself; I was, and still am to be honest, horrified by human pain, by this idea that people experience unspeakable levels of pain and I was supposed to witness that, day in, day out. 

So, I did what a privileged rebellious teenager does: I started skipping classes. My routine was two fold: I would alternate with long visits to the Library of Congress, where I could read and write undisturbed and I’d go to an art house cinema, which charged a very small nominal fee to see a different classic film every day. It was around this time I discovered Wim Wenders’ filmography and his collaborations with Peter Handke and Sam Shepard. It was also around this time when they started broadcasting Twin Peaks. And then I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted nothing else but to write like that. I had been writing since I was a child, mostly poetry and short stories. But it was seeing Twin Peaks, seeing Paris, Texas, seeing Wings of Desire, that I realized that words and images and telling stories were, to me, inextricably connected.

And then I went to study Literature and Philosophy, and eventually followed up with theater studies*. Which, you know, certainly beats cutting dead people open with a scalpel.

*Yes, there was a HUGE family scandal. But let’s focus on the good memories and the epiphanies.

For the past decade and a half I have been making all my content available for free (and never behind a paywall) as an ongoing practice of ephemeral publishing. This site is no exception. If you wish to help offset my labor costs, you can donate on Paypal or you can subscribe to Patreon where I will not be putting my posts behind a lock but you'd be helping me continue making this work available for everyone. Thank you.  Follow me on Twitter for new post updates.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top