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Sources of Inspiration: A Word

To me, the word ‘inspiration’ evokes beauty, a sense of connection to the universe and other creatives. Of being part of a higher power that I can draw upon and give power back to, becoming someone and something far more significant than one person. 

I fall more and more in love with inspiration every time I think about it. Nor am I the only one. 

Other people hate the word. It means owing their creativity to something bigger, capable of crushing their individuality. It means being stripped of their own power as an artist. It means something is taking their talent away from them along with all the credit for what they’ve struggled to achieve. 

I’ve gotten a taste of how my critics feel, hearing the terms cyberpunk, steampunk, solarpunk, hopepunk. There’s no escaping the punk. All exits are cut off. I’m about to get shoved and knocked down. Kicked, robbed, or worse while ugly laughter rings in my ears.

That’s what I thought a punk was. A thug, a criminal, usually a young one who uses violence against those who can’t fight back. 

Punk means something completely different to readers and writers. Punk means taking a stand against a society that forces you to think and act a certain way. 

Perhaps readers and writers are taking back a word that’s been hurled in hate. Just as they’re taking back other words which have been stained with prejudice. 

Using terms cyberpunk, steampunk, solarpunk, hopepunk doesn’t just reclaim the punk. It reinvents the word, giving it more diversity than the simple bully stomping around in my associations. 

Perhaps the punk can be as varied as the reader seeing the word. Along with the inspiration. 

Perhaps when we’re disturbed by a certain word, it’s a chance to think about what it means. To ourselves and others. 

Perhaps it’s an opportunity to get creative. Any source of conflict usually is. What stories or ideas can we draw from a word that bothers us? 

It’s something to think about. 

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