From The Desk Of Elizabeth And The Catapult: “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & The Prison Of Belief” By Lawrence Wright

Keepsake (Compass), Elizabeth Ziman’s fourth record, began when her landlord was considering jacking up the rent and she had to move across the street into a tiny apartment, far away from her recording gear and the baby grand piano on which she loved to write. Or it began when she started keeping a dream journal, writing down snippets of visions in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning on awakening. Or it began when she started leafing through old journals and diaries, little half-finished snatches of lyrics and couplets and freewriting, and tried to see if she could shape them through to some kind of completion. Well, who’s to say where anything begins or ends? But for Ziman, who records as Elizabeth And The Catapult, Keepsake was definitely a milestone record—the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. Ziman will be guest editing all week. Read our new feature on her.

Ziman: I started reading up on Scientology because I heard that it was a cult that promised its followers not only future salvation with aliens, but also super powers! Yay! I’m a huge sci-fi and Marvel comic fan so I thought I’d at least get a kick out of a religion founded by a science-fiction writer. Then I read Going Clear by Lawrence Wright, which paints a much darker picture of the religion. The origins might be entertaining, but the reality is pretty terrifying. (It’s a lot like if you were stuck in a Twilight Zone episode that never ends.) What fascinates me is how far people will actually go for the idea of salvation. Also, spoiler alert: If you’re a Tom Cruise fan, you will never watch his movies the same way again.