I have decided to set myself a blogging challenge; seven posts in seven days. I enjoy a challenge but of a particular kind. The thought of studying a new topic sets my heart aflutter as does a pile of as yet unread books, the prospect of an intriguing, thought provoking conversation or even working out my budget; my needs, as far as challenges go, are somewhat pedestrian. One I find difficult, however, is maintaining a daily writing habit.
So, here I go: the first of seven posts and, as you will have noticed, a new theme to aid the process.
I had an epiphany the other day. Such moments of exquisite understanding are rare and beautiful although they can be confronting. The details of my epiphany are not important; what I’d like to explore is the meaning of the word. While it is usually associated with the Christian festival of 6th January I hope to explore its secular application.
My Oxford Dictionary of English tells me an epiphany is a moment of sudden revelation or realisation. Roget’s Thesaurus rewards my lifting it off my bookshelf by providing synonyms like illumination, inspiration, disclosure and afflatus. Afflatus sends me scurrying back to the dictionary where, I discover, it means ‘a divine creative impulse or inspiration’. It comes from the Latin verb afflare, from ad ‘to’ + flare, ‘to blow’. An epiphany, it seems, could be construed as a blow to ones perceptions or, as some might say, a blinding flash of the obvious (aka BFO!).
(Photo Credit: Andrew E Weber)
What about my Chambers Dictionary of Etymology? Can it supply me with more information? Epiphany is borrowed from Old French from Late Latin from, in turn, the Greek, epipháneia; a manifestation or striking appearance. Chambers then tells me the first literary sense of this meaning appeared in 1840 although I’d like to investigate this further …
I could go on but I think you get the point. Writing can be a daily challenge when you love words, when you own a good dictionary, a thesaurus and an etymological dictionary. There are so many distractions, so many entries to explore, so many new words to imbibe … hang on, is that what I mean? Let me just check ….
Please share your favourite word, or what happened the last time you consulted a dictionary, or how you maintain a daily writing habit. In fact, you can share anything you’d like as long as the words are pleasantly phrased!