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Numina

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Numen, pl. numina, is a Latin term for potential, guiding the course of events in a particular place or in the whole world, used in Roman philosophical thoughts and writings. Genius and creative energy are both ascribed to it. The world was also used as a cult in ancient Rome and it may refer to a guardian spirit. Literally it stands for “that which is produced by nodding”, pertaining to the products of the mind. Not the power of creativity itself but its expression. This appears highly rational since everybody has a genius proper that drives their vivid imagination across the borders of the imaginable and conceivable. What distinguishes a creative person from a commoner that spends his time dreaming of bathing in money, or winning the lottery, is the writer’s ability to express their thoughts and feelings in an ostentatious, luminous way that inspires the reader and cajoles him or her to carry on scanning the essay till they reach the end. Stories depend as much on the idea behind them as the words that craft them. There is something magical about wordsmiths. Even though we all juggle with verbs, nouns and adjectives, not everyone can write. The ability to doodle does not make you an artist; humming – a singer. This conclusion was so plain to the inhabitants of Ancient Earth that they could point at a random guy at the street and assess that there is a numen around him. Numina are not usually personified but can seldom be personal attributes and they make the gap between non-creative and artistic people explicit.
I am not one who would fall for a gimmick like this because I believe only what I can see, hear or explain. Deities are not my specialty and I don’t favour fairies much. However, since I watched the TED talk of Elizabeth Gilbert I couldn’t get this theory out of my mind for a second. Every time I have grabbed a pen to write an essay, I’d sit up in the middle of a sentence and look around, scrutinizing the corners in the room. The people of Ancient Greece and Rome had been right for so many things that we still have trouble assimilating how advanced they were today. We’ve got numbers, we’ve got letters, we’ve got music, we’ve got arts and we’ve got inventions and science thanks to them. Suppose they had been frivolous and laid-back and curiosity hasn’t ever egged on them, where would we be standing now? One thing is sure, I wouldn’t be typing this in Word Processor and preparing to publish it on the World Wide Web! So what if they were right about that, too?
Imagine that a tiny frail creature makes an appearance every time you embark on painting, or making poetry. It whizzes around your head, trembling its lustrous frail wings and whispering words in your ears. I know that sharing the credit for a brilliant work is hard and the denial of furtive partnership is ubiquitous but I reckon that the universe works this way. You see a pigeon and you think “Boy! Those are the only free citizens of the city. They can fly away and come back. They can sleep till noon and cut short of streets and flats. They’ve got nowhere to go and they have nothing to live up to! They are indeed free!” Or something happens at home and you realize that “family” is not a value but a social norm. You have to create and maintain a family status to be happy and fulfilled otherwise you are an orphan or you’d die alone, which is bad according to the great unwashed!” Sure enough this is not the first pigeon you see, or the first fight you witness. How did you come up with all the grandiose intellection? Epiphany may be inexplicable but it’s a coordinated process triggered by an unknown force. It may as well be a numen.
I don’t know when I realized that I write. I’ve always thought I have an air of creativity about myself but I have never fully comprehended it. Somewhere between my first publication in TeenInk and my first award in writing, I gained the confidence that my essays are not just glum mundane posts about my life. There could be something more to them if you’d just take a closer look! Now that I proudly call myself a writer manqué, I believe I would love to have a numen accompanying me to greater heights. Of course, since I get scared pretty easily in the dark, I wouldn’t let that creature have a nebulous appearance. Her name is Felicity and she is the shadow of a fairy! I chose Felicity not only because it sounds gorgeous but because it means…
“Happiness?” – the girl in the red shirt interposes.
Well, yes! It does in actuality mean happiness but surely you didn’t think that I’d name my genius, creative power, numen after such a widespread and stark noun. Felicity stands for the ability to find appropriate expression for your thoughts, which I believe is extremely suitable in a writer's case.



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