The Evil Twin of Writer’s Block

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May 20, 2018 by bradcharlesbeals

Writer’s Block has an evil twin. Her name is hypergraphia.

 

Hypergraphia is the compulsive desire to continually write or draw. For the writer, this malady shows up as two – less clinical – variants: wordiness in narration and close detail in action. Charles Dickens (and all of Victorian England, really) suffered from the first form. I contracted the second during a Cormac McCarthy binge a few years ago.

 

I suspect that there is no cure for my form. It’s chronic. A way of life now. Whereas Dickens, if he had been so advised, could simply have foregone pieces of the narration (he could easily have cut half the words from any narrative paragraph of any of his books), I have gone beyond all remedy. I now both see the detail of action and require it as my primary material for bringing the plot forward.

 

And (so my transformed mind goes) there is just so little to cut.

 

And yet I will live out my days managing this ailment, wondering if I’ve gone too finely in close action. Do I really need to track the fall of that cigarette ash? Is the direction of the wind that takes it away too much?

 

Now that I’ve been exposed to hypergraphia, I’ll say to internal questions like that, No, it’s not too much.

 

Now that I’m infected, I will see it as the only option that seems right.

 

(The wind that takes the ash blows from the east, by the way.)

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