This weekend I began reading The Midnight Disease by Alice W. Flaherty. Subtitled The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain, Flaherty's book explores how changes in the temporal lobes and limbic system of the human brain affect creatvity, focusing on hypergraphia (a clinically excessive drive to write) and writer's block. Flaherty is a neurologist who has experienced hypergraphia twice: the first time after miscarrying twin boys, the second time after giving birth to healthy twin girls. Her experiences led her to deeper research and eventually to the writing of The Midnight Disease.
The similarities between temporal lobe epilepsy (a cause of hypergraphia) and manic depressive illness (in whose manic episodes hypergraphia sometimes manifests) are striking . In fact, one is often misdiagnosed for the other, even today, and anti-seizure medications are commonly prescribed for their effectiveness in bringing a bipolar person down from and preventing further manic episodes. So there's the whole mood disorder tie-in going on here, as well. The human brain is fascinating.
I'm enthralled. I had to get up three times to walk around the room out of excitement before I got out of the book's introduction. Always a good sign.