About The Living Dark


“So happy I found your newsletter. Your insights on the writing process resonated deeply with me.” — Jennifer Sablich

“I’m so glad I found you, just as I was about to totally give up. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge.” — V.

“Your writing has helped me tap into parts of myself I feel very strongly but often struggle to articulate, particularly my relationship to spirituality, creativity, and what it means (or doesn't mean) to be a person.” — Andrew Sanger

“I really resonate with what you’ve written about creativity and spirituality.” — K.

“Thank you so much for all you have been sharing. I appreciate it so much. I went through a challenging relationship with my writing, and your voice is helping me find my way out of that particular dark. I think I am mostly out of it now, but you are keeping me on course.” — M. Rickert

“Your work has very much connected with me, especially the elements covering existential dread, Ligotti (of course!), and how we writers/humans can curate our own ‘meaning’ without coming apart.” — William Grabowski

The Who, the What, and the Why

Three images of me that look way cooler than the living reality.

I’m Matt Cardin, and The Living Dark is my personal online journal and podcast at the intersection of nonduality and the daemon muse. A writer’s guide to the inner genius. A chronicle and guidebook for waking up at the confluence of creativity, writing, religion, horror, nonduality, apocalypse, consciousness, and the numinous unknown.

My overarching purpose here is to share what I have learned in 25 years as a published writer and 15 years as an English teacher and professor. I also have a lifetime of experience as a classically trained pianist. Creative work, combined with education, has been at the center of my life’s journey.

I place a special emphasis on understanding and working with the creative impulse as if it’s a separate force in the psyche, an autonomous intelligence with which you collaborate: your inner genius, your silent partner, your muse or daimon.

When you learn to work with your unconscious mind like an inner partner, you align creativity with will and destiny—your whole life purpose.

This newsletter's macro-message is about following the creative daemon wherever it takes you by embracing the eternal unfolding edge of mystery. It’s about not plotting the novel of your life, but instead seeing it emerge spontaneously from the darkness of primal creativity in each moment.

It is also about the intersection of inspired creativity with nonduality, the understanding of oneself as what Alan Watts called “the supreme identity,” the aware Presence and Being in which the entire universe, including the dreamlike appearance of existing as a separate individual, is unfolding.

This means the content here is varied, as it follows the energies and inspirations that move me.

For more on this theme, see these three posts, which launched the project in September 2022.


I’m the author of six books and the editor of four more. I have a Ph.D. in leadership studies and an M.A. in religious studies. I spent 15 years teaching English composition and literature, first as a high school teacher and then as a college professor. I also taught college courses in world religions. Presently I’m a college vice president. My books have been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, long-listed the Bram Stoker Award, and praised by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and others.

You can read more about me at my author website. You can also connect with me on the platform now known as X (formerly Twitter) at @TheMattCardin.


The Living Dark tracks the same themes and interests that have animated my books.

This means it encompasses:

  • creativity, writing, the demon muse, and the phenomenon of inspiration

  • weird and supernatural horror (and fantasy and SF)

  • apocalyptic and dystopian cultural trends

  • nonduality, religion, and spirituality

  • meditation and nonduality

  • anything landing within the vaguely proximal zone of these intersecting topics

Why (to subscribe)

By subscribing, you’ll support the long-term advancement of this project, which includes both a podcast and potential (probable) books to spin off from essays published here.

I offer both free and paid subscriptions.

  • As a free subscriber, you’ll get occasional free posts delivered right to your inbox. You’ll also receive a free preview of my short ebook Transmitting Vision: Essays on the Writer’s Path.

  • As a paid subscriber ($5 per month or $50 per year), you’ll receive all posts, and you’ll help to increase my bandwidth for pursuing this project. You’ll also gain the following added benefits:

    • Never miss an entry. All will go directly to your inbox, both free and paid entries.

    • Gain access to the entire content archive.

    • Gain access to audio versions of posts. (This feature is presently in development.)

    • Gain access to transcripts of podcast episodes.

    • Receive a copy of my ebook Transmitting Vision: Essays on the Writer’s Path.

Subscribe to receive new posts and support this project.

Subscribe to The Living Dark

Writing and waking up at the intersection of nonduality and the creative daimon muse. By a cosmic horror author, former English professor, pianist, and college VP.


I'm a writer, pianist, and Ph.D. based in north Arkansas. My books have been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and long-listed for the Bram Stoker Award. I'm also a college vice president and a former professor of English and world religions.