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Alan Moore: “Writing is a very focused form of meditation”


From an excellent new profile of Alan Moore in The Observer, focusing mainly on his rejection of Hollywood but spinning out into various and sundry areas of deep fascinatingness (as befitting his fascinatingly deep and varied person), a statement regarding the deep intertwinement of magic, consciousness, creativity, and writing:

This business of being a practising magician, which he first announced in the 1990s (about the time his beard started to grey, and he got the snake-shaped stick). Is it for real, or is he playing? “It’s a major part of how I see the world. Looking like I do, halfway to Gandalf before I’ve put a foot out the door, you’ve got to diffuse… ” And for once, Moore fails to find an eloquent end to his sentence. He tries again: “There is an element of playing. But what’s behind it is very serious.”

Pick a card, any card? No, says Moore, it’s not about tricks. To him it’s about consciousness — and quickly he gets away on a tangent about the limits of the mind, flitting through Freud, Alan Turing, Paracelsus and Twelfth Night before arriving at an explanation that makes reasonable sense. Moore sees magic as a form of meditation, an outlet for his seriously vivid imagination.

“Do I believe, for example, that by using magic I could fly? No. How would you get around gravity? Impossible. Do I believe that I might be able to project my consciousness into a very, very vivid simulation of flying? Yeah. Yes, I’ve done that. Yes, that works.”

Does it require that you take… “Sometimes you have to take drugs, yes. Sometimes you can do it with dreaming. Sometimes you can do it with a creative act. Writing is a very focused form of meditation. Just as good as sitting in a lotus position.”

— Tom Lamont, “Alan Moore: why I turned my back on Hollywood,” The Observer, December 15, 2012

For more on the same or a similar theme, see my A Course in Demonic Creativity, especially chapter three, “A Writer’s Guide to the Psyche” and chapter eight, “The Discipline of the Demon Muse.” For more on Moore, see my long essay “In Search of Higher Intelligence,” which is mainly about the deeply entangled experiences of Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary, and Robert Anton Wilson with these matters, but which also mentions Moore’s experiences and contributions (as well as those of his fellow author/magician/comics auteur, Grant Morrison). You can also find the same essay in slightly revised form, sans the Moore and Morrison references, in the October 2012 issue of Paranthropology.

Image by Matt Biddulph ( [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Rod Serling on writing, creativity, and the source of ideas

In this brief and brilliant excerpt from a series of talks about writing for television (recorded at Ithaca College circa 1972, according to the FAQ at, Twilight Zone and Night Gallery creator Rod Serling talks about the source of creative ideas. In doing so, he manages to pack more intellectually and creatively stimulating goodness into a one-minute extemporaneous statement than many authors and college teachers manage to supply in the course of an entire book, lecture, or semester. His manner, vibe, and tone of delivery also augment the content of his words to perfection. This is simply brilliant, and we thank Maria Popova, who highlighted the clip in a recent post at the ever-exciting Brain Pickings, for bringing it to our attention. The accompanying transcript is also courtesy of her.

Ideas come from the Earth. They come from every human experience that you’ve either witnessed or have heard about, translated into your brain in your own sense of dialogue, in your own language form. Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Ideas are probably in the air, like little tiny items of ozone.

The only thing Serling misses here — and it is, to be sure, a significant omission — is the fact that there’s also an innate source of ideas: the collective/daimonic unconscious or imaginal realm, where the archetypes reside, and which serves as the source of each person’s unique bent, leaning, passion, vocation, mission, muse, genius, and daemonic calling. It’s all of this, working in fermentative interaction with the swirling “external” universe of stimuli that Serling describes, that ends up producing the idiosyncratic flow of creativity that is each person’s inborn calling and birthright.

For more from Serling on creativity and the writing life, note that more video clips of the “Writing for Television” talks are available on YouTube, and Retroist has helpfully compiled all sixteen of them on a single page. What’s more, has made available the complete text of “Writing for Television,” a long and fascinating essay by Serling that appeared as the introduction to Patterns, a 1957 book containing four of his plays.


Recommended Reading 13

This week’s installment of recommended links and readings covers: the psychological, spiritual, and cultural aspects of apocalypse; a bizarre restriction on media coverage of a major event unfolding in America right now; the psychology and spirituality of creativity in art and life; a hopeful statement about the future of books and publishing; a wonderful early essay about horror films by Robert Anton Wilson; and a cool artistic remix/reimagining of a classic science fiction film.

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