The Significance of the Blue Rose

All Things Have An End And A Beginning

What many fans of Twin Peaks: The Return may not know is that I am a life-long musician and David Lynch and I were introduced in 1999 under the context of being potential musical collaborators. We hit it off beautifully in the recording studio, “love at first chord” as it were, and wrote a song together the day we met. Since then our musical partnership has yielded 2 releases: a full length record called This Train(2011) and an EP entitled Somewhere In The Nowhere(2016). The music is dreamy, sensual, mysterious, and teeming with a reflective darkness. It would certainly be right at home in a Twin Peaks episode, and, in fact, one of our most popular tracks, “Real Love”, clearly finds it’s genesis from the song “Blue Frank” from the soundtrack of season two.


Over the years of song writing, recording sessions and countless cappuccinos, David and I bonded over a mutual fascination with the Great Unknown and various flavors of esoteric and metaphysical subjects. These themes definitely influenced our music and formed the foundation for many of our most stirring discourses shared during coffee breaks while making music. Between the artistic and emotional fulfillment of creating beautiful music with someone I genuinely admire and care for, and the soulful satisfaction of our cosmically caffeinated conversations, I always felt my life was enriched and my consciousness was expanded after spending time in the studio with David, and I cherished those experiences deeply.

As thrilled as I was when I heard the rumors that Twin Peaks was (perhaps) returning, both from the standpoint of being a fan of the show and in excitement for David, I was also aware that as a result there would be an indefinite hiatus in our music making and coffee talks as he focused on this important endeavor. More likely, this part of our lives together was coming to a permanent close.


When One Door Closes

I had never indulged in one moment of fantasy about being in Twin Peaks if it did actually return. Even after all the years of collaboration with David, it just never crossed my mind that he would ask me to be a part of it. But I had been short sighted. Looking back, I can see now that the process of creating two albums together was also a 15- year audition for a different gig!

During a coffee break in one of our final recording sessions for Somewhere in The Nowhere, David coyly revealed to me that “there may be a role for you in my new project”. I had been emotionally preparing for the chapter of our artistic collaboration days coming to a end, and suddenly David presents a riveting plot twist. True to form, he kept pertinent details about the role shrouded with intrigue for a long time after initially approaching the subject, dispersing small, tantalizing morsels about my character over the course of many months. The drip feed of intel left me starving for answers to my burning questions: Was it a walk-on part or a larger role? Does the part involve me singing at some point? Who would I be working with? Am I going to die on the show? I was fully lit up by this unexpected development and my excitement and curiosity were all- consuming from that moment forward.

“The drip feed of intel left me starving for answers to my burning questions: Was it a walk-on part or a larger role? Does the part involve me singing at some point? Who would I be working with? Am I going to die on the show?” quote=”The drip feed of intel left me starving for answers to my burning questions: Was it a walk-on part? Does the part involve me singing at some point? Am I going to die? – Chrystabell on David Lynch asking her to be a part of Twin Peaks: The Return” theme=”style6″]

The Number 8

Many months passed before I was finally invited to read the script and get some of my questions answered. I drove to the Rancho Rosa office in Van Nuys, California, on August 25, 2015, bubbling with nerves. After checking in with reception I had a quick meeting with David who was all smiles. He knew I was about to dive in and was quite aware I was dying of suspense by that point. He sent me to the office next door where a friendly brunette man handed me a thick script. I asked him if it was for the entire show. When he smiled and told to me that no, these were only my scenes from the full script, I had my first inner meltdown of the day.

I noticed my character name had the number 8 next to it (I happen to have this number tattooed on my inner left ankle) and I asked the man what that meant. He told me it referenced how much screen time my character has, thus, Tammy had the 8th most screen time of all the characters in the show. I tried to stay cool but I am sure the look on my face was anything but. My heart started beating triple time and I could feel my body heat rising. My biggest fear and simultaneously my grandest hope had just been revealed to me: I have a big part in this thing. As I walked out of his office with the stack of papers in my sweaty hand, I dissolved into a nervous euphoria which devolved into raging self doubt: How am I going to pull this off? Has David lost his fucking mind?

Under the florescent bulbs in the empty production office where I was sent to look over the script, I sat down and tried to collect myself. I was dying of curiosity and trembling with trepidation. I took a few more deep breaths and started reading.

With every page there was an avalanche of new information and fresh mysteries unfolding. Tammy’s vague silhouette was being being filled in with bold colors and subtle shading. I was finally meeting her formally and peeking into her preordained fate. As I read slowly and intently, it was as if I was gingerly sifting through a treasure chest of information, discovering Tammy’s interactions and fascinating dynamics with Gordon, Albert, Diane! It was overwhelming enough, and then I read the words:
I’m in.
This is what FBI Agent Tammy Preston says after being invited to become the first female member of the infamous Blue Rose Task Force.
I was overcome with this development. I think I started crying and laughing and just staring into space, all at once. The significance of my character’s initiation to the blue rose task force was astronomical. Tammy would be joining an elite FBI team that included Philip Jeffries, Gordon Cole, Dale Cooper and Albert Rosenfield and be investigating highly classified projects having to do with the paranormal. I was joining a coterie of legendary artists David Bowie, David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, and Miguel Ferrer bonded by a fictional task force assigned to investigate the supernatural on a prestigious legacy TV show that was incalculably important in the history of pop culture. It was almost impossible to wrap my head around. But in the moments after reading it those words, “I’m in”, I felt Tammy Preston and Chrystabell Zucht inextricably linked and steadfast in the acceptance of the missions being presented. Tammy was being inducted into the Blue Rose Task Force and I was being inducted into Twin Peaks. In both cases, any hint of dubiousness of our worthiness of the position had been tempered once the gauntlet had been thrown down. We both would strive to pass every test. We each accepted with a sense of elation mixed with fear, but total unwavering commitment.

As I continued reading the script, waves of understanding rippled through me and my participation in Twin Peaks: The Return started to make sense. David and I, like Gordon and Tammy, have an easy repartee and strong mutual respect. David has been a mentor for me in many ways and always offered thoughtful counsel. He had championed me to others when it really mattered and believed in me as a musician and performer, just as Gordon believes “Agent Tammy Preston has the stuff.” As wild and out-of-the-blue as this opportunity felt, it was dawning on me that it was completely appropriate. As I let it all sink into my consciousness, it felt as if I was reading an ancient poem that eloquently expressed a deep and powerful emotion I had never before been able to describe in words.

I finished reading the script and left the production office in a daze. I think I said goodbye to David but I don’t remember. My bewilderment over the circumstance in which I found myself reverberated over days and months. As the actuality of this destiny began to crystallize, so did the blue rose symbol in my consciousness. It became a fixture in my self identity; the tidy icon of my wild and rampant vortex of feelings around becoming a part of the Twin Peaks Universe.


Gordon and Tammy sharing a moment while watching Albert on a date. Still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

14 thoughts on “The Significance of the Blue Rose”

  1. Delphine Barbillon

    Thank you so much for sharing this incredible post about the significance of the Blue Rose!
    It is both fascinating and touching to read your journey while entering the world of Twin Peaks and the moment when You,Tammy and the Blue Rose Task Force all merged together is so marvelously well written.
    The genesis of the creation of your otherwordly beautiful Blue Rose song could have been a Blue Rose case in itself: so mysterious and filled with secrets and unexplained elements.
    I guess you were meant to become Tammy and enter the magical universe of Twin Peaks for your own universe is so rich and sacred!
    I will never listen to the Blue Rose song the same way now that i know all the story behind it and all the metaphysical meaning of it.
    You are such an unique human being and artist, you are and will forever be my Blue Rose, so far and yet somehow a part of me.
    Sending so much love to you my dear Chrystabell!

  2. Michael O'Connor

    To continue your little synchronicity trip, have you checked the track number of Blue Rose on Rosemary Clooney and Duke Ellington’s Blue Rose album? It’s song number 8 🙂

      1. Hi Chrystabell, I just received my birthday message from you today! I was so excited that I did a little happy dance! Thank you so much lovely lady! ❤😍

  3. Twin Peaks seems to be my life & Tammy mesmerized me…..I’m pleased you were on the Blue Rose Task Force & hope to continue the journey together. Until then I’ll listen to you music & reflect……Thank you.

  4. I love the song Blue Rose. I loved you as Tammy Preston. Hearing the links between the two is fascinating.
    Can’t wait to hear you sing again Manchester!

  5. Cool track. You may be interested in my description of my blue rose vision of Sept. 6, 1991 on my Salmon on the Thorns web page which I have put in the Website box.

  6. It is such a spiritual song, Chrysta! A song that captures the inner soul’s most secret heart. Few, so very few, are able to do that. While I was reading your personal post, I nodded inwardly with a smile, thinking to myself : “Great artists are co-creators, they collaborate with their “subconscious” (says the psychologists) with the Great Unknown that is within each of us (says I). They know that everything, every living being, are connected to one another. Your album is splendid, a gem!

  7. I’m agnostic about synchronicity, but even if I discount it, I find such beauty and warmth in this theme being carried together among persons and generations, among genres, fictions and realities. It couldn’t be more perfect. Thank you for sharing this. Your story expands Twin Peaks even further beyond the boundaries of ‘TV’, which is part of its transformative power. It really has the power of myth.

    The relevance of what I’m about to say will become clear. But yeah, this will be a long-ass comment, so I hope you have the time for it at some point.

    I am roughly your age. I have always had creative impulses and dreams, but I got a rough start in life. Not that I know what kind of start you had–I just mean that (for reasons I think I now have a firm grasp of) I did not have the psychological foundation to work steadily at a craft or to build a good life in general. My mind and emotions were jumpy, and my ego was too fragile to aim as high as I wanted to aim–to learn from falling short. If something really mattered to me, and I couldn’t do it perfectly right away, I couldn’t stick at it.

    Many years later… the creative energy has survived, and I don’t get in my own way so much any more. When the concepts of Karuna and Sunyata shine brightly in my heart-mind, it’s not about proving something, and there’s an authentic purposefulness. The purpose of the moment is enough, no matter whether I am good at the thing I’m doing or a novice.

    But when I feel weak and afraid, I look to others–others who seem to be living my dream life, to have been living so fully from the get-go–with envy and painful longing. I slip back into thinking in terms of personal gain and loss. I’ve recently been challenged by new physical health problems that may become disabling in the near future. I worry that I will be the butt of a cosmic joke: to set my house in order just in time to sicken. “What would be the meaning of this?”, I wonder in these moments. I realise this is wrongheaded, but these habits die hard, I find. They seem gone for a while then flare up again.

    Now I read about the Blue Rose at a time when I’ve been returning to a thought, a kind of meditation: “What is the meaning of a flower’s life?”

    It’s a popular image in Japanese poetry and Zen: the beauty of a flower that blooms and dies unseen by anyone. Abbot Zenkei Shibayama writes about it in his essay, A Flower Does Not Talk, which he introduces with a verse:

    Silently a flower blooms,
    In silence it falls away;
    Yet here now, at this moment, at this place,
    the whole of the flower, the whole of
    the world is blooming.
    This is the talk of the flower, the truth
    of the blossom;
    The glory of eternal life is fully shining here.

    There’s nothing to add to this–no recognition or reward could make this flower any more ‘fulfilled’. As folk say these days, “You do you”. I think you do you very well. 🙂

    1. Can’t help but giggle at the serendipity of your name with regard to the post, or perhaps that is just your great sense of humor! I have trained myself to be open to and search out these synchronicities, and when they come in strong I get a gentle blissful dizziness and feel a deep peace wash over me. In certain moments I can allow it to consume me, unsullied by reason, logic, conditioned response or statistical feasibility. Just accept it for the profound gift that it is. Maybe a little like the desire of a whirling dervish seeking to spiral endlessly into enlightenment. I truly and deeply appreciate your comment. I love what you shared and have contemplated it several times since reading it. That this post could generate such thoughtful, insightful, and reflective response such as yours fulfills and excites me immensely. Bless you, Gordon.

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