The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 307 pages
56 Reviews
Why is it that some writers struggle for months to come up with the perfect sentence or phrase, while others, hunched over a notepad or keyboard deep into the night, seem unable to stop writing? In The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain (Houghton Mifflin, January), neurologist Alice W. Flaherty explores the hows and whys of writing, revealing the science behind hypergraphia -- the overwhelming urge to write -- and its dreaded opposite, writer's block. The result is an innovative contribution to our understanding of creative drive, one that throws new light on the work of some of our greatest writers. A neurologist whose work puts her at the forefront of brain science, Flaherty herself suffered from hypergraphia after the loss of her prematurely born twins. Her unique perspective as both doctor and patient helps her make important connections between pain and the drive to communicate and between mood disorders and the creative muse. Deftly guiding readers through the inner workings of the human brain, Flaherty sheds new light on popular notions of the origins of creativity, giving us a new understanding of the role of the temporal lobes and the limbic system. She challenges the standard idea that one side of the brain controls creative function, and explains the biology behind a visit from the muse. Flaherty writes compellingly of her bout with manic hypergraphia, when "the sight of a computer keyboard or a blank page gave me the same rush that drug addicts get from seeing their freebasing paraphernalia." Dissecting the role of emotion in writing and the ways in which brain-body and mood disorders can lead to prodigious -- or meager -- creative output, Flaherty uses examples from her own life and the lives of writers from Kafka to Anne Lamott, from Sylvia Plath to Stephen King: * Fyodor Dostoevsky, the author of nineteen novels and novellas and voluminous notebooks, diaries, and letters, suffere
  

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The premise and context of the book is interesting. - Goodreads
And then she goes on about other quirks of writing. - Goodreads
Flaherty is a neurologist and a driven writer. - Goodreads
A neurologist's take on writing. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - socalnovelist - LibraryThing

A little too much peripheral psycho-babble. I liked the areas of focus on the writer's issues, with block, and hypergraphia, but sometimes too much psycho-babble, and it lost me....I can study that in ... Read full review

Review: The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain

User Review  - Melinda Jane Harrison - Goodreads

Considering that human beings are "new" to writing, five to six thousand years at most, our need to write is a mystery. I bought this book and a few others like it because I thought I might quit ... Read full review

Contents

III
17
IV
49
V
79
VI
108
VII
149
VIII
183
IX
224
X
267
XI
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XII
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Copyright

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About the author (2005)

A. W. Flaherty is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who also teaches at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain. A. W. lives with her husband and twin daughters near Boston.

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