The Letter

September, 2015

Dear David Lynch,

I am a New York based artist and cultural organizer. Five years ago, I developed a performance, “The Search for Agent C,” attempting to bring your extraordinary character, Agent Cooper, back from darkness. The performance began as a lecture, but over three years transformed into a sort-of-séance. This “Search” reached a stopping point until recent news of the return of Twin Peaks.

As a teenager in the 90’s, Cooper filled the empty place in my psyche for a positive male role model.  It turns out, I somehow never saw the conclusion of the show until 2008 when the entire series was released on DVD and, recovering from a sad breakup with a fellow Twin Peaks lover, I binge-watched the show in one weekend, seeking solace in dear Coop. To my great shock and despair, I discovered, for the first time, Cooper’s unthinkable fate. He had been defiled years ago. How had I never known? I found myself inconsolable over what was now a ghost. 

A year later, I had a real-life parallel experience. My father had a complete mental breakdown. My brother and I, after a very distanced relationship with our father, had to step into a world of crisis and psychiatric hospitals, of panic and nightmares. Over the span of a year, I lost all space and lightness in my life.

Eventually I realized that within this mixture of paternal pain, there was one strand that could be teased out and controlled. That strand was my lingering, unresolved feelings about Cooper. I decided to use Cooper as a vehicle and a mask to explore my fraught experience, while  investigating the profound fracture that occurs when we attach to fictional characters. This was not merely an inquiry — it was a necessary action. I needed to breathe magic back into my life. To save Agent Cooper meant to be saved by him.

Channeling my father’s legacy as a motivational-speaking sales executive, I began the Cooper project with a PowerPoint lecture. I performed the lecture at an art space, and then I was invited to perform it again, then again, and again. Each time, I re-watched (and re-lived) the entirety of Twin Peaks in order to push the performance further. This immersion caused my real-life world and Cooper’s fictional one to start melding, leading to numerous magic-seeming occurrences as the performance began to shift and evolve. Something was happening. The project was no longer merely art. It was life.

Last October, I revealed my personal story behind the “Search for Agent C” for the first time in a live storytelling show. On this same day (the 6th), news of Twin Peaks’ return was publicly announced. Coincidence? I don’t know. On stage, it felt cosmic. 

Please, let it be.

I met Kyle MacLachlan three years ago at a wine tasting in my neighborhood. For a moment during our exchange, I saw the real Agent Cooper looking back at me. Reality had been intercepted by dream. Perhaps he sensed something too, as he autographed his photo to me with the words, “Cooper is alive.” I showed MacLachlan my photos of Agent Cooper appearing around New York City, explaining my project to bring Cooper back. He replied, “you should speak to David Lynch about that.”

Agent Cooper has provided me strength, wisdom and perspective to endure trials with no resolution. What we cannot manifest in life, we can manifest in art, then feed back into life. Here is my appeal: please help me realize the logical next step of my Cooper investigation. As Cooper communicated to me, in glimpses, through the veil of reality, I must now enter the fictional realm to meet him and complete the act that had been set in motion. To do so, I boldly ask for an appearance on Twin Peaks Season 3.

I don’t know what my next role will be in the life of Dale Cooper, but I hope it will involve a chance to speak with you. I will meet you anywhere.

With so much gratitude,

Michelle Levy

P.S. Accompanying this letter are a video message from me and 44 statements of support.

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