Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alien Dreaming and the Widening Gyre: Sidebar

Hilariously NSFW

I have a lot of LA and SoCal readers- I wonder how many of them are in the film industry. And I wonder if one of them is Clerks director Kevin Smith. I did happen to notice that he titled his Batman series The Widening Gyre, quite coincidentally considering the connections I was drawing in the Alien Dreaming and the Widening Gyre series between UFOs (which I know he's interested in), The X-Files (which he's a major fan of) and hallucinogenic drugs (which he's a major user of).

This series began in March and Smith announced his series in May (and it was first published in August). It could be a coincidence*- a synchronicity, rather. I've not read the Batman series, so I don't know if there's any more Secret Sun-type material in it. Additional sync: the cover there is by the great Bill Sienkiewicz, whom I know from the old Kubert School days. Bill redefined the psychedelic approach to mainstream comics in the 80s (Bill's bravura collaboration with Frank Miller- Elektra:Assassin - gets my, uhh, highest recommendation).

An interview with Smith appeared on Harry Knowles' site last week where he talks about his disappointment with Zack & Miri Make a Porno, and his subsequent collapse into Mary Jane's warm, tingly embrace to soothe his wounded ego - and kick-start his creativity:
I started smoking weed like f**kin’ crazy after ZACK AND MIRI collapsed, and that really, kind of like, became a great filter. It didn’t filter out life; it just filtered out bullsh*t. It kind of opened up the third eye. I didn’t have that period in high school. I skipped it, I didn’t get stoned in high school, or I didn’t really have a college experience and sh*t like that. I was off making movies and whatnot.
"Opened the third eye"- interesting. Smith again:
But, honestly, I found I’ve been more…I mean, this is not news to anybody, I’m not telling you anything new…I’m far more creative now, you know. I’ve been writing this “Batman: The Widening Gyre” miniseries, and I’m stoned all the time when I’m writing it. And, I swear, I’ll write it, and then, it’s not so much blackout, but forget, so much so that the next morning, I go to read what I wrote, and it’s, like, I’m that f**kin’ little cobbler and elves came and f**kin' wrote it in the night, because I’m, like, "This is better than anything I’ve ever written before." I mean, like, I’ve done comics, but this is way better.
Hmm, elves or leprechauns? Again, I can't speak for the comic but I must say his podcast has gotten a lot funnier. I wonder if it will open his first and second eyes as well; his visual style has always been his primary weakness as a director. I just hope Smith's whip-cracking wife will keep him from going too overboard. There is such a thing as a weed casualty...

*I myself lifted the "widening gyre" line from Robert B. Parker, who lifted it from Yeats' The Second Coming. Bonus factoid: that poem is a pivotal plot point in the first episode of Millennium.


  1. I am in a sharing mood. I think you may understand why my old blog was called Order of the Stars now.

    Me and Kevin Smith

    Me and Jason Mews

    IMO that movie was pure shit [Zack & Miri] I am getting a little tired of the same 10 actors in Every movie. Find me a recent romantic comedy without Elizabeth Banks as the love interest. I loved 'Clerks II' I think it is one of the best movies ever made. With that being said, where was the announcement of 9 Alien species? lol

  2. Could you ellaborate on "there is such a thing as a weed casualty."

    Kevin Smith a major user of hallucinogenics and started to smoke weed, juss made him way more cool to me.

  3. Interesting information on the creative process there - I knew about the series but not how he was writing it, that would have rung big bells for me too!! In some ways it sounds similar to the way Grant Morrison wrote some of his comics in his fully drug-fuelled phase (Doom Patrol but not The Invisibles so much, I think - Really & Truly was written in one night after he took an E).

    More Widening Gyre's here (I started it to track the occurrence of the term as the names for various works):

    It is also pivotal in V for Vendetta, which seems the most obvious place for Smith to have stumbled across it.

    And yes there are "weed casualties", I've known a few. However, I've known a lot more people who have found it helpful and many more who just had a good time on it. Weed is also easy to come back from - I know too many people who have screwed up their life thanks to harder drugs (and booze) and a few who have died (at one point so many of the people I knew were dying after one funeral I made everyone promise not to shuffle off this mortal coil and no one has done since). It certainly doesn't sound like Kevin Smith has lost the plot - in fact it seems he has found it ;)

  4. Holy Ganja fire is the dance of smoke. A plant that talks. Believe me there are copious amounts of over indulgence of the psychotropic Cannibis here around Eugene. All in all I would say it has a profound impact here. Mellow, home grown, laid back, come to mind. The Dude abides. It's creative side is LEGION. Shine forth syncromystic seekers! Dennis

  5. The main issue I think of the weed is for some it disables the drive to live vigorously. Not everyone but some. It could be the wrong type of escape. But to each their own and I have had many revelations and transformations from drugs and here I am now celebrating my life everyday without worry and without the need to take drugs...but I do enjoy high potency foods and natural herbs to heal me so I think its shades of a feather.

    I always had good laughs at Kevins stuff so this miniseries I will be interested to read. It must be good if he is claiming such things.

  6. Y'know I've mentioned my suspicion that I'm a 'Person of Interest' for TV sci-fi-ish scriptwriters due to Episode 8 of THRESHOLD and 'Allison From Palmdale' on SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES... These fellas must follow certain Strange Attractors as a potential mine for ideas... lately I'm supposed to be taking Ritalin 3 times a day and I wonder if it's opening up old neuron pathways originally channelled by 15 years of chainsmoking cannabis back in the SUPERFLY/OFFICIAL UFO days... I'll look at stuff written in my Graphic Novel Outline notebooks from 2 weeks earlier & have no memory of half of it...

  7. My way of thinking is Smith seems to be on the right track- like I said his Smodcast has been piss-your-pants funny since he came out of his post-Zack and Miri depression. My only caveat is that I've seen a lot of sharp minds get dulled with too much of the schmokedy-smoke. All things in moderation, as a wise man once said.

  8. I'm surprised we don't see the phrase "Widening Gyre" more often given it's relevance to our seemingly out-of-control post-modern world. I first stumbled across it in Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem and then later in Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

    Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" is probably (IMHO) the most prophetic piece of literature in modern (western) history. This is interesting given Yeat's deep and abiding interest in all things occult. One of these days I want to try and tackle "A Vision."

  9. "It kind of opened up the third eye"
    that is interesting. interesting word with many interpretations.

  10. "It kind of opened up the third eye" I think what he says about writing is really interesting, because I've always found that when you try to write you're always trying to lose control to a certain extent. Whenever you feel like you're writing well, its like a voice in your head, like something else taking over. I think the classical notion of the Muses is a very apt description of the writing process.

  11. via

    "Alanis Morissette has no qualms about publicly discussing her love for the herb!

    Let your green flag fly hiiiiigh, girl!

    The 90's pop rock sensation recently sat down with the stoner elite at High Times magazine to talk about how pot helps her kick start her creative process.

    Morissette gushed to the mag:

    I'm all about moderation - as best I can be. As an artist, there's a sweet jump-starting quality to it (marijuana) for me.

    I've often felt telepathic and receptive to inexplicable messages my whole life. I can stave those off when I'm not high.

    When I'm high - well, they come in and there's less of a veil, so to speak. So if ever I need some clarity… or a quantum leap in terms of writing something, it's a quick way for me to get to it.

    Glad to know getting super stoned allows Alanis' telepathy to shine!"