Amidst a flurry of concerns about a new and deadly virus spreading from China, Patrick Cramer, a writer living in New York City, was stricken with a debilitating case of the ideas.
"It wasn't quite as bad as Ebola," said Cramer, who is still recuperating after his near-fatal bout of inspiration, "but it was close. No one wanted to be around me - not that I could blame them."
According to Cramer, the ideas hit him just after finishing up a hot yoga class, and sent him running for the men's room. "Blog posts, op eds, flash fiction, letters to the editor," he recounted. "Even a twelve-book children's series about a flock of New York City pigeons. They were running out of me like a raging river. Of course, none of them was any good. Total s***."
Too embarrassed to call for help, Cramer simply sat there in the lavatory, paralyzed, until he had run out of ideas - or, more accurately, until the ideas had run out of him. At that point, he gave the toilet a good flush - and another, and another - and rose unsteadily to his feet. "I thought most of my ideas came from my brain," he commented. "But I saw very clearly that most of them come from my other end."
Not yet fully recovered from his case of the ideas, Cramer is seeking help from a therapist - although he hasn't conveyed to her the full extent of his condition. "She doesn't need to know all the gruesome details," he said. "She knows I have a chronic problem with ideas, and that they cause me enormous suffering. That's really all that matters."