[UPDATE] Essays for Edited Collection: "'Their Lives a Storm Wheron They Ride': Writing With the Affective Disorders"

full name / name of organization: 
Stephanie Stone Horton, Georgia State University

The link between the affective disorders (depression and bipolar illness) and writing creativity goes back to Aristotle, who famously asked, "Why is it that all men who are outstanding in philosophy, poetry and the arts are melancholic? Indeed, a fifteen-year study at the Iowa Writers' Workshop found that 80 percent of the writers lived with affective illness, or had experienced an episode at some point in their lives (this compared to only 30 percent of non-writer controls). Writers and poets with known and suspected affective disorder span the centuries; the twentieth gave us Woolf, Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, David Foster Wallace, and scores of others.

I am seeking submissions for an edited collection of essays on writing with affective disorders (depression and bipolar disorder), to be published in late 2012 or early 2013. Affective illness is, in part, neurophysiological and genetic; too often, it is deadly, its extreme turbulence truly "a storm whereon we ride," in Byron's words. Writing with an affective disorder presents unique challenges, from writer's block (depression) to hypergraphia (mania). Rich metaphors abound. For William Styron, depression is "a fiercely overheated room"; Marya Hornbacher compares mania to a "cyclone of words."

Writers with affective disorder (as well as non-affectively ill people who study, teach, or care for these writers) are encouraged to submit essays exploring/recounting their own writing processes. The essays should be personal accounts of academic or creative writing with depression and bipolar, and will represent a wide variety of theoretical views. Essays may address the following areas, but are not limited to:

Writing through the episodes (or "writing the waves");
Writer's block and hypergraphia;
Writing and the body;
Rhetorics of mental illness;
Rhetorics of disability;
Mania and invention;
Rhetoric and composition studies of writing with affective illness
Affective difference in literature;
The ethos and stigma of mental illness;
Metaphors of mental illness;
Questioning mental illness;
Gender, culture and affective disorder;
Psychiatry, neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and the anti-psychiatry movement;
Writing and memory;
Writing and the emotions;
Suicidality and writing;
Anonymity and "breaking the silence";
The role of support (family, therapists, colleagues, audiences) in writing.

The new deadline for a 500-word proposal is March 1, 2012.
send to: Stephanie Horton, Georgia State University, at shorton7@gsu.edu.