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Observations placeholder

Sacks, Oliver - It came to me absolutely fluidly by a sort of inner voice



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Big Idea #5: Oliver Sacks

By Suzanne Koven

July 9th, 2013


Sacks:  At one time I did read a book called The Voices of Poetry, where the thesis was very much that a “voice” is not just a metaphoric reference to the muse.

Rumpus: Have you had that experience in writing? Of hearing a voice?

Sacks: No. Yes. Although I wouldn’t call it…I’m not sure what to call it. I have it less now, but with my first book, with Migraine, there were many, many problems, including a sort of mad, internal threat in which I said to myself, in September of ’68, You have ten days to write it and if you’re not finished by ten days, you’ll commit suicide. This sounds even madder than it was. You have to know some of the background. Anyhow, under my own threat or joke, I first started writing and within hours the feeling of terror was replaced by a feeling of joy in the writing and, in particular, a feeling that I was taking the book down to dictation. It came to me absolutely fluidly by a sort of inner voice. I was excited. I didn’t want to go to bed. I slept for two or three hours a night and no more. Perhaps I was hypomanic. I’m not sure what word to use.

So that was very much like hearing a voice. I can’t say it was anyone’s voice in particular. But my verbal auditory imagery is as vivid as my visual imagery is poor. My musical imagery is somewhere in between.

The source of the experience

Sacks, Oliver

Concepts, symbols and science items


Inner speech


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps