Friday, August 03, 2007

The Midnight Disease

Enough on mental illness, drug abuse, and all that jazz… I got a new disease to ponder - hypergraphia. The Midnight Disease. The primary symptom of this condition is an overwhelming urge to write. A compulsion to write. Although hypergraphia is not actually a disorder, it is associated with temporal lobe changes seen in epilepsy and manic episodes.

Hypergraphia often strikes without warning. On January 1, 2006, I contemplated my modest goals for the upcoming year (which did not include writing a novel). The next day, a mysterious impulse entered my then-tranquil mind and screamed, “WRITE!’ I obeyed. For three months, I catharsed. Nights, after work, dinner, and kiddy time, I’d sit at the kitchen table, oblivious to the blare of the television, to the crick in my back, the gurgling of my stomach, the late hour, and write. Words streamed from my fingertips, effortless, and onto the computer screen. 183,000 of them. It was exhilarating. Thrilling. A rollercoaster of immense emotion. I wrote with fury, afraid the ideas and images and words and conversations would disappear, without warning, as suddenly as they arrived. I rode my story with a manic rush to the end.

A year and one-half later, I'm still riding. And writing.

(I wonder: Is it any coincidence that Ben, my protagonist, is bipolar?)

This was the genesis of my novel BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT. The need to write continues. And so I do. I’m on my sixth and, I hope, penultimate revision. Two more novels sit in the recesses of my brain, waiting impatiently for their turn. But instead of being exhausted, my hypergraphic nature fuels me: I walk with a perpetual zing in my step, a new lightness and clarity to my life. And every day I pray this funny ailment remains my constant affliction, niggling always at my mind, stretching me, transporting me to places I never dreamed possible…


  1. There was a CSI or Criminal Minds episode where someone had hypergraphia, and while watching I wondered if that might apply to me as well. I love the way you describe it, makes it sound much more like a blessing than a curse.

    Care to share a little sketch of your novel, or the other two swimming around your head?

  2. This is such a peaceful place for you and the readers. Wish you the best.--Jingjing