What is the meaning of the word "block" in the following context?

Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do. And what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each other's mental health in a way that other careers kind of don't do, you know?
Like my dad, for example, was a chemical engineer and I don't recall once in his 40 years of chemical engineering anybody asking him if he was afraid to be a chemical engineer, you know? "That chemical-engineering block, John, how's it going?" It just didn't come up like that, you know?

  • Can you add where that quote comes from? The context is "that chemical-engineering block" is something you wouldn't say, so we should know more about the context of the speaker.
    – Jay
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 3:32

1 Answer 1


It's humour! The speaker (a stand-up comic or other humorist) is lampooning creative people (perhaps novelists or song-writers) for ascribing their shortage of ideas or their lack of creativity to writer's block. Or perhaps it is an actor being ridiculed, as they are (incessantly) in Britain's right-wing press, for being a luvvie.

The target must have voiced some fear : "I was frightened to start another poem", "I was suffering from stage-fright: too terrified to walk onstage" or "I was blocked: too scared even to put pen to paper."

The comedian contrasts their attitude to that of his/her father and asks why those working in non-creative professions don't indulge in such navel-gazing. His example is funny because no scientist would talk about their "chemical-engineering block".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .