Coulson says her character is "angry that nobody talks to her log."
Catherine Coulson is a little stumped. She doesn't comprehend the fascination with her Twin Peaks character. So what if she's never seen without a piece of wood, or that she's been known to chat with the timber in her arms? "I don't see her as being unusual," declares Coulson. "A log is such a solid thing to carry."
Coulson, 44, plays David Lynch's oddest cameo character by far, the mysterious Log Lady, an off-kilter Twin Peaks denizen named for the hunk of ponderosa pine she forever cradles. Two early, fleeting Log Lady appearances - mischievously flipping off the lights at the town meeting in the pilot, then insisting to Sheriff Truman and Agent Cooper in the first episode that the log "knows" who killed Laura Palmer-stoked a minicult and made the mystical widow of a woodsman killed in a fire the subject of wide conjecture. (Her mystique branches out a bit this week, when Cooper interrogates the lady - and the log.)
Coulson's sudden fame is as curious as her character, since she's the only cast member who is not a professional actor. She normally works as a camera operator, having abandoned her theatrical calling long ago. But not before planting the seedlings for the Log Lady. In 1972, playing a bit part in Eraserhead (she portrayed the title character's neighbor), Coulson somehow inspired director Lynch: "He said, `When you put on your glasses, I just saw a log in your arms. Someday I'll do a series and you'll play a girl with a log.' "
Despite the burning curiosity she has aroused, the Los Angeles-based Coulson isn't "quitting my day job." For now, she and husband Marc Sirinsky, a writer, are trying to cope with the demands of her TV fame. Even their 3 year-old daughter. Zoey, has gotten into the act, asking, "Mommy, if you're the Log Lady, can I be the Log Girl?"