My students–freshmen and sophomores at an urban community college–routinely tell me they have no inspiration; they have writer’s block. I tell them that there is no such thing as writer’s block–“inspire” means “to inhale” or to breathe. Writing is just work, I say.
But that isn’t completely true. I’m messing with them because the point of the class is “critical thinking” and I want them to apply that concept to the ideas I throw out in class too.
In fact, my copy of The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus (Yes–old school) tells me “inspiration” means “a divine or seemingly divine imparting of knowledge or power.” I would bet a great majority of my students believe in a Higher Power, but, frankly, we just ain’t got time to be infused with the Holy Spirit–the paper is due next week!
So how do we get to work? One way to grease the creative wheel is to open a thesaurus or a dictionary and browse.
Look: Synonyms of of “inspiration” include “afflation, afflatus and inflatus.” Those words sound like “flatulance” which reminds me of an entire comical series of events focused around bathroom humor (or scatology or “obscene humor that is concerned with excrement and excretion) that I need to work on. Voila: Inspiration.