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The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain by [Flaherty, Alice Weaver]
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The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain Kindle Edition

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Product description


"[Flaherty] is the real thing . . . and her writing magically transforms her own tragedies into something strange and whimsical almost, almost funny.The Washington Post "This is interesting, heated stuff." The San Francisco Chronicle "Brilliant . . . [a] precious jewel of a book . . . that sparkles with some fresh insight or intriguing fact on practically every page." Seattle Post-Intelligencer

About the Author

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4061 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (28 April 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00W0LQN6W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific explanation of the disorder, but also a wonderful guide that explains the root of creativity 10 April 2016
By Barry Freed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I developed, later in life and seemingly overnight, hypergraphia and the onset of the compulsion was one of the most frightening feelings of my life. In an attempt to find out why I was going crazy, and why I was churning out 200+ pages per day writing of nothing too specific, I began gathering all of the information available on hypergraphia. Dr. Flaherty and Midnight Disease continued to be bounced around. I bought the book and felt some comfort. Not as alone in my obsession. I also felt some hope. I was began to notice a return to the much broader vocabulary of my post-doc times. My usual fair spelling memorization increased to the point where I no longer needed to use any computer assisted spelling checker. Sadly, although I became aware of "good grammar" again, the actual grammar that I deemed acceptable in my fervor was no better than that preceding my revelation. I stopped trying. If I'm writing for personal use, such as I need at this moment!, I don't make any attempt to proof or edit.

If I write for publication, though, I go through the usual process of proofing before proofing, editing before editing, and so on.

The thing that most surprised me was that, through the deluge of words, I was unconsciously becoming a better writer. A more creative writer. I didn't notice it, wasn't aware of any change. But the members of my audiences noticed. They wrote me to tell me that my normally dry prose, always researched-to-death and accurate, was lyrical and poetic and a joy to read. Somehow, as Dr. Flaherty had "predicted," creativity had been awakened.

Flaherty goes beyond the disorder, of course, and into the neurological pathways of the creative mind; exploring the how's and why's. If you've hypergraphia, or know someone who has been diagnosed with the disorder, this is the only "must read" that I know of.

Finally, I doubt that I would have been so taken in by Flaherty's style if I didn't have the disorder. While hypergraphia is all about the writing, I had to make some adjustments to the way that I read. The only way that I've been able to explain that, and it's not something that all with hypergraphia relate to, is that it feels as if I've gone from the staccato of rapid-fire reading to a more relaxed, floating down the slower-running river style. I don't read any more slowly but it feels as if I'm taking in more, hearing with more clarity.

Finally, and this is disorder-oriented, I think, I've gained a greater understanding of the sensuality of words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs. I have a difficult time explaining that, too. Sentences that aren't easily diagrammed seem to have more impact. Words and phrases that are sensual on the tongue – Tolkien's "cellar door" – are also neurologically sensual.

I think that anyone interested in writing and creativity will love the book. It's not only about the disorder; it uses the disorder to explain a process. Can the book help you conquer writer's block and gain (or regain) a heightened sense of creativity? It's possible. It's certainly possible.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of poitns of view and lots of insightful intormation. 20 Sept. 2013
By Dustin P. Paddock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started signing this book out from the library, then decided I needed to own a copy. Love it, for several reasons. Good for writers. Good for people interested in the brain. Good for understanding moods and personality traits, motivation, procrastination - everything.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your mind has a mind of its own 9 Sept. 2004
By Conrad Coleridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everyone knows why we avoid the stuff we *don't* really want to do. But why do we avoid stuff we really *do* want to do? There are no easy answers to questions like this, but what an eye-opening experience it is to start to understand some of the tricks the brain plays on itself. This is an incredibly unique, honest book and God bless Dr. Flaherty - both for her ability to explain neurobiology to the uninitiated and, still more, for her willingness to bear her soul a bit. Buyer beware: This is not a self-help book. It's an intimate conversation with a remarkable person. It won't change your life; but it might alter some of the ways you look at life.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why we write 7 Mar. 2014
By Ashley McConnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Flaherty examines the biological basis for hypergraphia (compulsive writing) and how it relates to writer's block--and incidentally puts paid to the smug "there's no such thing as writer's block" pronouncements that some writers make. This is a fascinating description of how the temporal lobe and the limbic system work together to create a sometimes overwhelming need to write, resulting in an outpouring of words which may or may not have anything to do with readability. Flaherty's book, though, IS very readable, with flashes of wry humor, and well worth the time of any writer who has wondered (through gritted teeth) how Some Writers manage to put out so many books (I'm looking at YOU, Stephen King), while others wind up staring despairingly at the page wonder where the ability to put words on it has gone. Highly, highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Oliver Sachs -- but edgier and more daring... 23 April 2016
By P. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Flaherty wraps a compelling memoir around a fascinating premise: She believes that writer's block might be the opposite of a psychiatric disorder called hypographia, in which people cannot STOP writing. It's a thrill to spend time in these pages with a fascinating, dazzling thinker.
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