Artist’s Corner: Alan Moore on Language, Magic, and Mental Disorder (Warning: Restaurant Post)

AM: I’ll give a brief recap in case we feel we missed anything. Magic and language are practically the same thing, they would at least have been regarded as such in our distant past. I think it is wisest and safest to treat them as if they are the same thing. This stuff that you are dealing with – words, language, writing – this is dangerous, it is magical, treat it as if it was radioactive. Don’t doubt that for a moment. As far as I know, the last figures I heard quoted, nine out of every ten writers will have mental problems at some point during their life. Sixty percent of that ninety percent – which I think works out at roughly fifty percent of all writers – will have their lives altered and affected – seriously affected – by those mental problems. I think what that translates to is – nine out of ten crack up, five out of ten go mad. It’s like, miners get black lung, writers go bonkers. This is a real occupational hazard. There’s plenty of ways to go bonkers, some of them a lot quieter, some more insidious than others – drink, heroin, there’s lots of other sorts of things – but this is dangerous – we’re dealing with the unreal. You’re dealing right on the borderline of fact and fiction, which is where our entire world happens. We’re living in a world of fact and we’ve got our heads full of fiction, the characters that we’ve invented for ourselves – we’re all writers, we all invent characters for ourselves, roles in this little play that we’re running in our head that we call our lives. With a writer, you’re dealing with the actual stuff of existence, you’re playing the God game. All the things that you will have to consider before you write a story are exactly the things God had to consider before he created the universe – plot, characters (laughter) and what’s it mean, what’s it about, what’s the theme here . . . motifs. A lot of them suns, they’ll do, we’ll put them everywhere – hey, snakes! These are easy . . . (laughter). (p.125)

Alan Moore Conversations (2011)- Eric L. Berlatsky

QOL: human

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