Writing

The Creative Potential Of The Mentally Unhinged

  • April 25, 2012

Today I read this book titled Requiem For A Paper Bag, when I came across a simple anecdotal story of how Herman Melville was writing one of his many lengthy letters to his friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Apparently in the letter, Melville states how he wished that a paper mill existed in his house so that the seemingly unending letter to Hawthorne could, in fact, be endless.

Herman Melville

Herman Melville

Soon after, I realized that a modern-day term for writing obsession such as was the case with Herman Melville is graphomania. One might even go so far as to say that Melville is crazy or somewhat unhinged, although it is possible to theorize that he simply had a lot of thoughts or insights to share.

Nathaniel awthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Whatever the case may be, Herman Melville, like most writers, was able to become so prolific as a writer simply due to the fact that he sought a deeper meaning in life. Most writers, artists, photographers, and other highly creative people are constantly in search of a deeper meaning behind that which most others dismiss as simply commonplace or mundane. In modern society, art and insights that speak of a deeper meaning are often dismissed as unimportant by a world full of people who are interested only in the exterior appearance. As a writer myself, I am far more interested in deeper meanings and insights.

(See Also: Why I Believe In Things Unseen)

I think my curiosity for the unknown started when I watched a movie from the 1980’s where a group of kids break into an abandoned apartment (as I recall, through a window?). For the life of me, I can’t remember the title of the movie. Anyways, as the years went by, I sought out these kinds of places to see what others left behind; it is almost like a modern-day archology with time measured in decades instead of centuries.

With all of this introspection, observation, and exploration that is necessary to facilitate creativity and/or creation itself, I cannot help but to wonder what Mr. Melville was seeking to create, communicate, or achieve. I can only speculate what the end result would have been if an obsessed compulsive writer like Melville lived in this century and wrote a blog. In his time, his writing was limited to his supply of ink and paper, whereas today it is limited to the scarcity of our time.

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