Um, sort of. I actually hadn’t dreamt of putting out a book for years. Back in my university years, when I was doing my undergrad in English and Creative Writing, creating a novel or short story collection was pretty high up on the priority list. But time and ambition changed my thoughts on pursuing that avenue. I’m an impatient person, so the whole process of sending out short stories for potential publication and waiting to hear back was just not in my make-up. Had two of the ladies from ECW Press not suggested I make a pitch for their Pop Classics line, I don’t think I ever would have considered it. I’m so thrilled it worked out, though. There’s something pretty damn surreal about holding a book with your name on it.
What have you been dreaming about?
No word of a lie, every six months or so for the past 25 years, I have a Twin Peaks nightmare where BOB, the malicious entity that inhabits the woods surrounding the town, runs right up into my face—exactly what happens in the final episode of the series. I wake up in a cold sweat and the end up nudging my wife awake to tell her I had a nightmare. Because why should she be sleeping if I’m not. I kid, of course. Mostly.
Wait, Twin Peaks gives you nightmares? Why would you want to spend all that time writing a book about something like that?
Well, lots of things give me nightmares. But I love that show, what can I tell you? When I thought about what I might want to pitch for Pop Classics, the first and only thing that came to mind was Twin Peaks. The characters, the stories—I’ve been living with them since the summer of 1990. I just can’t quit that world.
What was it like then, working on your first book? It must have been easy, if you knew the show so well.
Yeah, no. Anyone who says writing a book is easy probably hasn’t done it. I’ve been very privileged to have written for some pretty high-profile outlets, and talked to creative folks I’ve admired, but writing Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks was definitely the toughest gig I’ve ever taken on. It was time consuming, first and foremost, especially when I was also managing a full-time job, an after-hours job and, most importantly, family time. The creative process was definitely a juggling act. Rewarding? Yes, absolutely. Easy? Not so much.
Then there’s a devoted fan base that’s going to be reading this book—I want them to love it and I wanted to make sure I gave them facts or readings that aren’t obvious. I also wanted to make sure that whoever picks up the book, whether they’re fans or newcomers, understood by the end why we still talk about Twin Peaks after 25 years.
Ok, tell us then, why ARE we still talking about it today?
Read the book!
Come on, just a taste.
Alright, alright. Here’s the thing with Twin Peaks—it really did have an incredible impact on television. It was art-house filmmaking on network television at a time when there had never been anything like that ever. David Lynch was this R-rated, eccentric director whose one flirtation with the mainstream was a visually stunning, unmitigated disaster (I’m talking about his adaptation of Dune). Lynch on ABC shouldn’t have worked, but for a brief moment in time it did.
What’s David Lynch really like?
I wouldn’t know. I did reach out to him when I started working on Wrapped in Plastic, and got some very encouraging words back through his assistant, but Lynch passed on an interview. And you know what, I was OK with it then and I still am. Follow his work and you know he’s not one for explaining or analyzing what he’s done in the past. He’d rather leave it to us, the audience, to figure out, or come up with our own meanings. Twin Peaks is ripe for interpretation. Just because I see something one way and convey it in Wrapped in Plastic doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong. That’s really the beauty of the world Lynch and Mark Frost co-created. I can tell you that his daughter Jennifer is a sweetheart. She was the first Twin Peaks–related person to give me the time of day, and she had some incredible insights into the show and the character of Laura Palmer. She’s also a fantastic director—her most recent film Chained is outstanding. It’s clear the apple didn’t fall from the tree with her.
Your book is completed. People are reading it. What are you reading?
Oh man, so much. I’m reading Stephen King’s Revival. I’m rereading Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. Patton Oswalt’s Silver Screen Fiend is on deck. I’m also a comic book guy, so I’ve been enjoying Jonathan Hickman’s run on New Avengers and Avengers; it’s pretty cool watching the Marvel Universe come crashing down. And like every other Twin Peaks fan out there, I’m eagerly anticipating Mark Frost’s novel that will be out at the end of this year.
Well, you’ve said it all.
You’ve said enough.
ANDY BURNS is the founder and editor-in-chief of the pop culture website Biff Bam Pop. His work has appeared in the Toronto Sun and Rue Morgue magazine, while his dreams are regularly haunted by the denizens of Twin Peaks.