While I was recently working my way through Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, I read a bit of conversation between two characters where one of them uses the word Mythomania. I had to read it a couple of times because I’d never see the word before. So I looked it up.
Turns out that Mythomania is a psychological term for pathological lying. I like that word. Sometimes I hear or read a word I’ve never before encountered and I become mesmerized by it. I know, weird, right?
I actually think I’d prefer to use mythomania, rather than pathological lying. It has an ancient feel to it, like something from ancient myth. Pathological feels more deadly, darker, more psychotic. Which, in a way, may be more appropriate depending on the person being labeled.
Mythomania sounds robust, all-encompassing, even a bit like it could be contagious. Wouldn’t that be something? Contagious lying. Might be something to explore in a piece of fiction. Would it be a disease? A viral infection? A devious spell?
Or perhaps it’s more akin to a fictional storyteller. Like, a character who cannot stop telling stories. A manic writer. Creating myths, fictions, imagination run wild. I could see that as a type of psychological disease. So many possibilities.
And maybe that’s another way to describe fiction writers in general. It could be argued that we have a pathological need to make things up, to let our imaginations run wild. In a very broad definition, wouldn’t that make us liars? And if we continue to make up stories, then doesn’t that make us pathological?
I know, that’s a stretch, but it’s also an interesting idea. Perhaps I should start a support group for writers. Mythomaniacs Anonymous. Or Unanimous. It’s not something to be ashamed of. We’d support one another, give constructive critiques, and help promote each other’s work.
No, we’re won’t be a cadre of liars. We’re storytellers. Tale spinners. Mythomaniacs!