I’ve been planning to post that I’m taking a blogging break until January other than a year-end recap and, hopefully, a good update about Shawn’s surgery, but I’ve been putting it off because I’m tired and I have a lot of things to do.
But I find myself particularly heartbroken just now hearing about the passing of Angelo Badalamenti.
It’s been a rough few years for Twin Peaks fans, but this one seems especially dark given Julee Cruise’s death in the summer as well. Music was as much a character in that show as anything else, and now it’s quiet.
I don’t get particularly attached to celebrities and everyone is always incredibly disappointing (my relief at finding Kyle MacLachlan was not a 45 supporter, and mostly posts Dad Jokes on Twitter, is still felt today), but Twin Peaks is so foundational for me that I’m still delighted to see the cast pop up on other things and always a little saddened at their passing.
But the music. The music.
As should be apparent with my Soundtrack Sundays, music is important to me. It’s crucial in the development of stories, and I also used to write a lot of songs when I was a moody teenager–I’m a self-taught (badly) guitar player and self-taught (even worse) on piano. I still fall back on my 90s playlists when house cleaning, or I go back to Tiffany when I’m particularly stressed.
But the Twin Peaks soundtrack was everything to me when I was a kid.
I had chronic insomnia (basically since infancy) and usually listened to music to try to calm my brain and fall asleep. For Christmas, my great-aunt would give her nieces and nephews money to buy the great-nieces and -nephews gifts, so when I was eight, “from” her I was given the Twin Peaks soundtrack in cassette. I still remember my excitement upon opening it the family Christmas party (and one of my older cousins laughing at me, which is also foundational in why it’s extremely hard for me to show excitement/enthusiasm for things now; it makes me feel vulnerable and I avoid it). I remember the little fold-out insert with the full cast, the feel of the plastic in my hands. How I played it over and over, often at night, when I needed to lull my brain into feeling safe so I could sleep. That was where I did my earliest storytelling, in my brain, creating a safe place to sleep and what I still do today. Julee Cruise and Angelo Badalementi were a huge part of giving my brain a safe place to retreat to (both with the Peaks soundtrack and Julee’s Floating Into the Night).
And that music still has that effect today. It instantly brings me to a place of calm–so much so that this is literally a playlist on my phone and it’s nothing but Twin Peaks music:
Because I’m a night person and mornings are rough, “Falling” is set to play instead of a typical alarm–I literally wake to Cruise and Badalamenti every single morning. And lately I’ve had this weight of anxiety in my chest that keeps expanding and pushing against my sternum; it’s Cruise’s ethereal voice and Badalamenti’s composition that dials it back again. (“Audrey’s Prayer” really helps with that, as does “The Nightingale“.)
I am so grateful for this music, and it’s not hyperbole to say it’s probably saved my life on more than one occasion–I know there are so many others in my position. I hope both were aware they impact they had.
It feels extremely strange to be losing these pieces of Twin Peaks just before my new series starts next year; Waverly Jones very obviously has Peaks‘ influence sewn right into her DNA (because I’m still angry about Audrey). Maybe this is how it is, losing the things that were foundational to us as we launch into the world what we hope will be just as important to someone else. Maybe one day some other creator will hear of my death and feel a little heartbroken as they’re about to put their own creation into the world with some of my DNA in it. It’s a bittersweet thought.
Thank you, sir, for bringing that feeling of calm and safety to my childhood–and adulthood.
If you haven’t, please check out this video of the creation behind “Laura Palmer’s Theme”.