Had you ever heard of this word? I certainly hadn’t until recently when I read it in a blog interview with Claude Emile Furones on the website The Art Point. It’s an amazing interview with the most articulate of artists. Unfortunately, the interview is no longer available on the site, however, that word has stayed with me. It’s an odd sounding word to have such a profound meaning. Accoring to Wikipedia, “it generally refers not to the usual sudden originality, but to the staggering and stunning blow of a new idea, an idea that the recipient may be unable to explain.” How amazing that we have a word for this and how much stranger when one is a ‘victim’ of afflatus. Like a strong wind on a calm day, it can almost knock you down. Real inspiration is like that and yet for so many of us, it happens so seldom. Or rather that kind of inspiration, the sudden, intense kind comes so infrequently that like a guest who visits from far away only once every several many years, you forget how they look, how they feel.
Inspiration in the everyday sense is much more like the perspiration in the phrase, “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Throughout the experienced perspiration we have lots of little inspirations, like petit mal seizures, momentary absences that when you come back to focus, you have a new thought or idea. But the ‘affaltic’ kind, well, they don’t happen often. And yet, like really hot sex with someone you just met, this is the kind of inspiration we wait for, even as we forget it’s a possibility. It’s like winning the lottery, a combination of complete incredulity and total personal satisfaction.
I, for one, pray often to the god(s) of afflatus for some sign, some sign that I’m on the right track and the light I see in the tunnel is such an inspiration rather than a train coming straight at me.