Where Inspiration, Identity, & Education Meet – On Foundations, Flavors, & Findings

by Jennifer Schneider Issue: 2022 Special Issue on Identity

Egg shells crackle in yolk covered hands. The sun whispers through lace covered glass panes. A red robin and an age-old question tap -- Hello. Bonjour. Shalom. xin chào. More – at the kitchen window smudged of faded fingerprints (a timeline of moments, then months, then years). Two. Four. Fifteen. Twenty. More. In the brown leather wallet stuffed of napkins and loose-leaf notes (coffee shop receipts and bookstore wish-lists, too). On the cotton clothed shoulder and the back of the necklace laced neck. The rectangular, scratched writing-desk and the circular, tin-can full of Bic and ballpoint pens. Stacks of papers. Peppered scents. The oak kitchen-table and its scratched initials, scorched rings, and stained underbelly. The upstairs stall-shower (behind the Ivory soap residue and the empty Pantene bottles). The downstairs toilet (under the plastic covered brush and the lavender satchel). The small pockets of air beneath the Volvo’s transmission (layered of car grease and oil overflow) and the seared concrete (kissed by ant families, moth wings, and unfamiliar droppings), too. In the strings of letters that mix and mingle, with salt and sugar, on palettes of many lands – then pool. The words uttered in repetitive sequences that rally and rumble. The questions repeated many times, and in many spaces – Where Does Inspiration Linger, Where Does Identity Linger – until it’s both familiar and fleeting. 

Where do you find It – this thing / notion / desire – called Inspiration, called Identity. The letters taunt – in dictionaries, electronic mails, blogs, and self-help newsletters. The labels loom – in groups of varied numbers, literary transcripts, academic charts. In classrooms. Of curiosity. On year end reviews. 

Do we find It, or does It find us – in the most unassuming of places? Ready. Set. Go.

  1. A favorite article of clothing. Plural

  2. A favorite piece of jewelry. Plural

  3. A room often found on an upper level of a home or building. Plural

  4. A room often found on a lower level of a home or building. Plural

  5. A bright color.

  6. A pastel color.

  7. A primary color.

  8. A bold color.

  9. A backyard bird. Plural

  10. A city bird. Plural

  11. A savory dish.

  12. A favored spice.

  13. A preferred weekday activity.

  14. A preferred weeknight activity.

  15. A lovely childhood memory. 

  16. A lovely destination (yet seen).

  17. The flavor of education.

  18. The color of inspiration.

  19. A sentimental object.

  20. An object stored in an attic. Plural.

  21. An object found in an attic. Plural.

  22. An object often seen on an evening walk.

  23. A late-night television-show. 

  24. A late-night talk-show. TV or Radio.

  25. The flavor of a bluff.

 

Inspiration lingers in __1__ and __2__. In upstairs ___ and downstairs ___. Identity, too. In socks of _5__ and _6__ stripes. And mugs of _7__ and _8__ handles.  In sounds of backyard _9__ and city __10__.  Inspiration simmers in flavors of __11__ and __12__. Days of __13__. Nights of __14__. Dreams of _15_ and _16_. Inspiration loiters, too. It waits. Patience always a part of its mysterious equation. Punch number. Pay respects. Pause. Ponder. Late night air seasoned of _17_. Attic boxes stuffed of _18_ and __19__. Basement bins stuffed of __20__ and __21__. Inspiration percolates in morning coffee, _25_ mints, and stove top marina. Sliced onions and sultry tears. Torn denim and demanding days. Copy that. Cover this. Curate those. In evening walks – distant sirens, sidewalk play, _22__ – and late-night television – __23__, __24__. Inspiration laughs in the most unassuming of places. From the jibberish to the cliché. Pluck inspiration from the air. From the water. From the radio waves. Smile. Say Cheese. Copy for the camera. Ready. Set. Go.

 

Subject: On Inspiration & Identity

Format: Q & A (sometimes multiple choice, though choice is always relative and multiples often deceiving)

Primary Objective: Define, Describe, and Explain (always striving to climb hierarchies)

Secondary Objective: Develop and Design. Perhaps Defend. 

  1. Which of the following words is least like the others? Why?

Muse / Maze / Misery / Mystery / Mercury

  1. Which of the following words is least like the others? Why?

Inspire / Infuse / Impart / Imperfect

  1. Define inspiration. Define perspiration. How are the two terms similar? Different?
  2. Define blank. Define page. How are the two terms similar? Different?
  3. How does a pencil differ from a ball point pen?
  4. How does a keyboard differ from a composition notebook?
  5. Define composition (noun). Define composition (adjective). Does inspiration reside most often in nouns or adjectives
  6. Which of the following items is least like the others? 

Composition / Notebook / Keyboard / Desktop

  1. Which of the following items is least like the others?

Pencil, Pen, Finger, Tip

  1. Define erasure. Define eraser. How are the two terms similar? Different?
  2. Which of the following terms is least like the others?

Pedagogy, Pedantic, Pedestrian, Pedestal

  1. Which of the following terms is least like the others?

Foundations / Findings / Flavors / Feelings

  1. What term is missing from the following list of terms?

Inspiration / Creativity / Deadlines / _____

  1. What term is missing from the following list of terms? 

Identity / Curiosity / Documentation / _____

  1. Define education. Define inspiration. How do the terms differ? How are the terms similar?
  2. Define identity. Define documentation. How do the terms differ? How are the terms similar?
  3.  How does an educator differ from an instigator?
  4. How does the source of education differ from the source of inspiration?
  5. How does inspiration differ from instigation?
  6. Define inspire. Define educate. Identify a single word (noun) that unites the two terms.
  7. What qualities (adjectives) are found at the intersection of education and inspiration?


Jennifer Schneider

Jen Schneider (she/her/hers) is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of A Collection of Recollections, Invisible Ink, On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility, On Crossroads and Fill in the Blank Puzzles, and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups.