Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

I lost my marbles and they went all cattywampus on me. IWSG. Origins. Weird Words. Being Thankful.


Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.
 
Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Liza at Middle Passages, Shannon Lawrence, Melissa Maygrove, and Olga Godim!

This month's question is: In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to member? The only thing I can think of is, when I want to switch to the IWSG site to pick up the question and this month/s co-hosts, I get a message warning me not to go to the site as there are trojans lurking there and it is highly recommended that I not visit it! I don't know if it's true or not...I don't know if it's just the "sensitivity" of my ante-bug programs. I don't know if it's something that can be checked or if anyone else has gotten these same messages. This has happened the last three months or so and I thought I'd mention it because I think the IWSG is about the best thing to come along since sliced bread!

Origins: is a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's phrase is: Loose your marbles
This is a simple one. It probably originated in the United States in the late 1800s. The first written record is from 1876, but it was likely in oral use before then. As you might suspect, marbles was (still is) a game played by children (and some adults). Marbles were precious items, they were collected and coveted. When you played some games of marbles you could lose them to another player. Or, if you literally lost them and couldn't find them, it was a great loss indeed. You might get very mad or upset if you lost your marbles, which was understandable. 

Young boy playing marbles - Jacksonville (14849608187)Growing up in the Virgin Islands marbles was strictly a game the boys played, jacks was for girls. However that didn't stop my sister and me. We were the only girls who played marbles. Our shooters were "steelies" large steel ball bearings our father gave to us. Steelies were coveted and sought after by anyone who was a serious player. Fun times.

But wait! There's another possible origin of the idiom. In the early 1800s it was believed that people who were mentally ill had tiny glass balls in their heads (I kid you not). Which is why, when people went crazy, they were said to have "lost their marbles." 

In these tumultuous times let us not lose our marbles, but keep them securely together in our craniums.
 
Today's Weird Word is: Cattywampous
Also spelled, catawampous, cattywampus, or catiwampus, it's related to catty-cornered. Catty has nothing to do with cats but is from the obsolete cater, (cater-cornered)  "to set, cut, or move diagonally."  Cater is from the French, catre, meaning "four" which is from the Latin quattuor.  Wampous may be related to the Scottish word wampish, meaning "to wriggle, twist, or swerve about." The Proto-Indo-European root for four is kwetwer.
However, back in the 1830s Americans loved to make up funny pseudo-classical sounding words using cata. Catawampusly, first used in adverb from about 1834, didn't have a particular meaning but added intensity to an action, as in "utterly, completely, fiercely or eagerly." "She was catawampusly in love with cad." By 1864 it had graduated to noundom and was used to describe something that was askew or wrong. Nine years later it was being used to describe something on the diagonal, was bias, or crooked.


Quotes of the Month

"Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made." Immanuel Kant

Img648-StEx-2
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Little Prince as a
little boy.


"Of course I'll hurt you. Of course you'll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence." Antoine de Saint-Exupery




Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that we've had some actual measurable rain. Not enough to break the drought, but enough to put some much needed water in the river.

My sister's second annual visit with her heart doctors went well. She's in good health and we had a lovely visit.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Shenanigans are Afoot with that White Elephant in the Room, IWSG, Quotes, Being Thankful


Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

This month's question is: How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you? I used to handle distractions pretty well, would even write in pubs and other noisy places. Any more I like it quiet and can be frustrated if interrupted.

Origins: a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's phrase is: Elephant in the room
As we all know, the elephant in the room, is a metaphor used to describe an issue that is obvious or controversial but is being ignored and the people don't want to talk about, like say, climate change. 

RoyalWhiteElephant
A royal white elephant of Thailand.
Ivan Krylov, a Russian poet and fabulist may well have been the first to have used a close cousin of the term in a story he wrote back in 1814 called "The Inquisitive Man," in which a man goes to a museum and is very interested in all sorts of small things, but fails to see the elephant on display. Fyodor Dostoevsky says in his novel Demons, "Belinsky was just like Krylov's Inquisitive Man, who didn't notice the elephant in the museum..." But it was Mark Twain, in 1882, who gave us a story about inept detectives trying to find a white elephant -- which do exist, by the way, but are rare. Myanmar had ten in 2023.

Today's Weird Word is: Shenanigans
Originally it meant, "nonsense, deceit, humbug."  Nowadays we mostly used to mean being silly, high-spirited or full of mischief.

You'll never guess where this word was first recorded. California! Not only that, in San Francisco and Sacramento!
It seems to have come into usage around 1855 and may be derived from chanada, a shortened form of the Spanish word charranada, meaning "trick or deceit". There are other possible origins: the German, Schenigelei, jargon for "work, craft." OR the Irish sionnach, meaning "fox." Take your pick. Shenanigans are bound to happen if Weird Al has anything to say about it.



***
I'm sure everyone is wondering what happened with the eclipse last month? It was cloudy, mostly overcast, but we did get a couple of very nice glimpses of totality. Hubby and I went for the experience and weren't disappointed. I'd heard that a breeze could spring up right before totality and that it would get cooler. Both of those things happened. Hummers, cardinals, and wrens that were all singing got very quiet when it got dark (and it did get dark) and a cricket started chirping. It was eerie and surreal and I admit, quite emotional. I got all teary-eyed. 

I never thought that I'd have the change to see/experience a total eclipse let alone be in the path of both the annular and total... what can I say. Awesome!


Quotes of the Month


"What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we do?" Friedrich Nietzsche

"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all lessons that history has to teach." Aldus Huxley

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful that my sister will be here 12 days.

What are you thankful for? Are you bothered or not by distractions when you're in the midst of being creative? Participated in any shenanigans lately?

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

IWSG, A Total Eclipse of Green Cheese, Quotes and Being Thankful


Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   Janet Alcorn, T. Powell Coltrin, Natalie Aguirre, and Pat Garcia!


This month's question is: How long have you been blogging? (Or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?) What do you like about it and how has it changed?
I'm not sure how long I've been blogging, maybe since around 2003/04? My earliest posts, where I tentatively put my big toe in the internet waters, seem to have disappeared. So, I can only go back as far as April 19, 2008.  Blogging introduced me to many people in the writing world and I am every so grateful to all of them. I used to blog almost every day, then it was three times a week, then once a week. Now it's once a month. And, I feel guilty for not visiting other blogs like I used to. My excuse is that I'm always at work on the first Wednesday so by the time I'm off on Friday I'm so distracted with other things that I don't get around to visiting visiting! That's not very nice of me when there are several of you who keep coming back to read my wandering words. 

As for Facebook, I think I've been on since around 2015, maybe earlier, but I don't really know, nor do I know how to find out. For me FB has been a needed place to keep in touch with my family and friends in the Caribbean, particularly after hurricanes. Lots of valuable and needed information has been able to be shared and for that reason, I stay on board. FB has gotten very political (I'm guilty of adding to it) and I'm dismayed at the amount of mis and disinformation that get's posted, but I'm also inspired by the many uplifting memes and stories.

I was on Twitter/X for a  while, but I never did get the hang of it or how to use it or figure what good it was for. So, when I heard Musk was going to buy it, I deleted my account.

Origins: is a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's phrase is: The Moon is Made of Green Cheese

Total Solar Eclipse 8-21-17
Not really a phrase... but there's a reason for choosing this descriptor of the moon.
A HUGE BIG DEAL is going to happen here in my small town. 

We are GROUND ZERO for the TOTAL ECLIPSE the universe has scheduled for Monday, the 8th. A mere 5 days away! We are starting to see an influx of traffic. NASA is already here as we will have about the longest time in the dark, 4 minutes and 24 secondRealize the total population of the town and county is about 53,000.  No one has been able to give us a reasonable estimate on the number of people that will be descending upon us, but it's anywhere from 150,000 to 500,000! We are excited and holding our breath at the same time. How will our infrastructure and facilities hold up? The "Authorities" say they aren't concerned about the people who have made plans well in advance -- hotels, motels, B&Bs etc. have long been booked with a minimum 3 to 4 night stay. But they ARE concerned about the day trippers who think they'll just be able to get on Interstate 10, Texas 27 or Texas 16 to come watch the sun disappear. The people who haven't planned are the ones who will cause the worst of the traffic jams; they might run out of gas, not have enough water and food on hand, and will be difficult to reach if there's an emergency. It could take anywhere from 5 to 8 HOURS on I10 to get from here to San Antonio a mere 60 miles away. No heavy trucks or semis will be allowed to travel on the 8th in more the 80 counties. Interstate 10 will have one lane closed in both both directions, a distance of about 100 miles -- we're in the middle of that -- to allow people to park and watch the event. 

We will be staying put at home.

I'd like to say I'll be posting pictures on Facebook the day of, but the Authorities have warned us that cell and internet connectivity will likely be non-existent for the day because we only have 4 cell towers and they'll quickly be overloaded.  However, those of us with Spectrum and WiFi, may be ok. 

All that said, I'm excited as I've never experienced a total eclipse.

Now on to the curious idea of the Moon as Cheese

Le loup et le renard Chauveau
Cheese of Brazil (20298711736)
Since the moon is going to be covering the sun I thought the idea would be interesting to explore.

Thinking the moon is made of cheese is an old metaphor used by many nationalities in folktales to describes a simpleton who, upon seeing the moon reflecting in water, believes it is a wheel of cheese. The general population never actually believed the moon was made of cheese let alone green cheese -- which is newly made, unaged cheese. 
 As early as the 1520s, it has been considered an example of...to put it bluntly...stupidity to think it was.
Wolf sees cheese in moon reflection

Fables, proverbs, and children's stories about the moon reflected in water and thought to be edible can be found in Slavic, Turkish, Jewish, Zulu, French, Scottish, and English cultures. It was interesting to discover that a fox or wolf, or in the case of the Zulu story, a hyena, was often involved.





Quotes of the Month

 "In other words, if a decision-maker thinks something cannot be true and interprets this to mean it has zero probability, he will never be influenced by any data, which is surely absurd. So leave a little probability for the moon being made of green cheese; it can be as small as 1 in a million, but have it there since otherwise an army of astronauts returning with samples of the said cheese will leave you unmoved." Dennis Lindley

"If I tell you there's cheese on the moon, bring the crackers." Tyronn Lu


Being Thankful
Today I'm obviously thankful for the opportunity to watch a total solar eclipse.
We pray for clear skies, 
particularly since there is currently a 50% chance of rain for Sunday and Monday.

***

How long have you been blogging, or been on Facebook/Twitter etc.? Have you ever seen a total eclipse? (I've seen several partials). Would you/have you traveled to see a total eclipse?

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

IWSG, Gee Willikers Let's Chew the Fat Awhile, Quotes, Being Thankful


Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:    Kristina Kelly, Miffie Seideman, Jean Davis, and Liza @ Middle Passages!

This month's question is: Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?
I haven't "played" with AI at all, nor do I intend to. I'm too old for this New Age stuff. I think it's impact on the arts could possibly lead to a diminishing of human creativity, ingenuity, and imagination. 
Origins: a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's phrase is: Chew the fat
There appear to be several myths about the origins of this phrase, all of which sound quite plausible but are unverifiable. The truth came as a complete surprise to me.

Myth 1: It came about because sailors ate salted/dried fish and meat while at sea which required a lot of chewing.
Myth 2: It originated with Native American tribes who chewed on animal hides to soften them.
Myth 3: (The most commonly believed one) In the fifteen hundreds a family could show of its wealth by offering guests small bits of pork to chew. (Ewwww) 

Meat is Rationed So is Chewing the Fat Less. Gab More Guns - NARA - 533911
Here's something from 1942-43.
The Truth: We can blame it on the British army in India. "Prior to the adoption of metallic cartridges, most ammunition was composed of powder and a ball wrapped in paper or cloth soaked in animal fat, which was bitten open during musket drill. Soldiers were known to chew on these ends to pass the time and reduce nerves, and in some cases to stave off cravings for chewing tobacco." (Wikipedia)

1885 is when it was first used in a book titled, Life in the Ranks of the British Army in India by J. Brunlees Patterson, where he described it as military men  complaining, grousing, and grumbling about conditions. An earlier form (1875) "chew the rag," is American and is more about gabbing and gossiping. 

Today's Weird Word is: Gee willikers
This is strictly an American euphonism, an exclamation of surprise, enthusiasm, or exasperation. Earliest citation is from 1847. "Perhaps (i) a fanciful alteration of Jerusalem! (which is probably itself a euphemistic alteration of Jesus.)" Oxford English Dictionary. 

There are many variations of this theme: Gee-Whittaker, Gee-whitaker, Geewhillikins, Gee willikers. 

Does anybody even use it any more?





Quotes of the Month from Eleanor Roosevelt 

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.
Eleanor Roosevelt portrait 1933
We shall have to be willing to learn and to accept differences of opinion and background.

In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. The choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

...freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.

It takes a good home and a good school to prepare young people for citizenship in a democracy and even then they will have to go on learning throughout life.

Being Thankful

Today I am thankful for the seemingly simple things of life:
air to breathe, food to eat, a roof over my head.
The list is long. 

What simple things are you thankful for? Have you used AI? What are your thoughts on it? Have you ever used "chewing the fat" or "gee willikers"?

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

IWSG, By the Skin of My Teeth I'm Driving that Jalopy, Quotes, Being Thankful


Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine!

This month's question is: What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of author's books? Constant mention of books? Oh gosh. Lack of information about what?  I don't recall ever visiting a blog or website that's a drone of negativity. But I'm sure that would be a turn-off for me. My own blog is guilty of not mentioning my books much, but they're there...over to your right if you'd care to check them out. Since writers have had to become their own promoters (even if published traditionally) I can't fault those who loudly toot their own horns. If they don't do it, who will? I'm an introvert in that department. I'm happy be in the chorus and sing my part, but I'm not comfortable as the soloist.


Origins: a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or  phrase.

GenevaBible
Today's phrase is: By the Skin of My Teeth
I was surprised to learn how old it is...

The phrase made it's first written debut in the 1550s in the Geneva Bible.

Léon Bonnat - Job
Job. A haunting painting
of despair... 
When Job is lamenting all that Satan has done to him and all that God has allowed to happen (it is a piteous and heart-wrenching passage to read) he cries out in anguish, "I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth." And this is a direct translation from the Hebrew. Who can say how long the Hebrews used the phrase before it was written in the Book of Job? I think it's safe to say, it's anywhere between 4 to 9 thousand years old, as that's how old scholars believe Job's story to be (give or take 5 thousand years). You can read the whole lament here at Job Chapter 19. None of that explains what the skin of one's teeth actually is. I'm kind of inclined to think it's that semi-slimy layer of scum that's on your teeth when you wake up in the morning. (Gross I know.) Or maybe it has to do with the gums.



Today's Weird Word is: Jalopy
Most sources acknowledge there's no sure source of where or how this word originated. It popped up in the early 1920s. Most however agree it might have come from Jalapa, Mexico (same place the Jalapeño is from) which, it seems, is where used cars from the US were sent to die.Old pickup 01
In my experience growing up the Virgin Islands, a jalopy was definitely a beat-up vehicle, a rust-bucket held together with baling wire and maybe duct tape, but still running, still operational. Anyone who had a good running jalopy could be called upon to go places regular vehicles couldn't go. I learned to drive in a jalopy. It was a jeep that jumped out of second gear and barely had reverse! 

We were "jeeping" and "off-roading" LONG before it became a "thing.

Quotes of the Month
"Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life." Gregory Peck

***

"Enjoy life as it is today -- it is going to change." Stephen Ramjewan

***

"Measure not men by Sundays, without regarding what they do all the week after." Thomas Fuller

***

"Those sons-of-bitches over there ain’t buying. Every yard gets ’em. They’re lookers. Spend all their time looking. Don’t want to buy no cars; take up your time. Don’t give a damn for your time. Over there, them two people – no, with the kids. Get ’em in a car. Start ’em at two hundred and work down. They look good for one and a quarter. Get ’em rolling. Get ’em out in a jalopy. Sock it to ’em! They took our time." John Steinbeck from The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 7.

I don't know who wrote this analysis of the quote, but it's great.   "Dehumanized by his runaway greed, the used car dealer lectures his employees on how to exploit customers. Seeing vulnerable migrants as easy money, he motivates his sales team to suck as much money as possible out of them. There is irony in the fact that even those not interested in buying a car are targets for his cynical sales pitch."

And who knew "Sock it to 'em" didn't originate in the late 1960s on Laugh-In.


Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that we survived a very hard freeze 
(at one point we were colder than Billings, Montana!) 
And, we got a little bit of rain. 
The weather has been wild and crazy.

What are you thankful for? Do certain authors' blogs or websites annoy you? Have you ever felt like you were hanging on by the skin of your teeth? Ever owned or driven a jalopy?

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

IWSG, Origins, Weird Words, Quotes, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:    Joylene Nowell Butler, Olga Godim, Diedre Knight, and Natalie Aguirre!

This month's question is: Do you follow back your readers on BookBub or do you only follow back other authors? I am not a member of BookBub. I've heard of it, I've looked at the site, but to be honest, I don't buy many new books. I go to the library for new stuff. I don't know about anyone else but going to a site like BookBub is, for me, overwhelming. 

***
So last year (already?) I chose interesting words to delve into. This year I'm going to explore interesting phrases and weird words.  I'm also going to go through my extensive collections of quotes and end each post with something pithy, humorous and/or mind-bending. Clever me. So original....
***
Origins: a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's phrase is: Up to snuff 
After three years of being careful and getting all our vaccines, hubby and I finally got one of the many COVID variants. Nice gift at the end of the year... We now call ourselves, Disease and Pestilence.  Anyway, I wasn't feeling up to snuff which made me wonder where the heck THAT phrase came from. I only knew it had something to do with snuff.

John PooleAll sources agree it does indeed have to do with the sniffing of snuff, a tobacco product, which gave a certain quality of sharpness or energy to the user. So a person described as being "up to snuff" was someone who was alert, clever, and not easily fooled. So, someone NOT up to snuff, was the opposite.

The first written use comes from a play by John Poole written in 1810. It's called Hamlet Travestie: In Three Acts a humorous spoof of Shakespeare's famous play. Poole was apparently quite popular in his day.


Today's Weird Word is: Discombobulate
We all know that it means to be in a state of confusion, or disorder. But where did it come from? In that imaginative time between say 1830 and 1890, there was a fad going around to create fanciful mock-Latin words. Discombobulate is one of these and appears to be the only one that has survived. Others include: Absquatulate
, to run away or make off with. Confusticate, to confound. Panjandrum, meaning a "pompous person of power and pretension." Love that alliteration! I like all of these mock-Latin words, particularly confusticate. 



***
I only manage to read 22 books of my 30 book Goodreads goal. But that's ok. It's always interesting to look back and be surprised by the variety and eclectic nature of my reading.

Harbor Me - Jacqueline Woodson
The Beatryce Prophecy - Kate DiCamillo
Shout - Laurie Halse Anderson
Squeeze Me - Carl Hiaasen
Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield - I LOVED it even though it took me three months to read!
Melissa - Alex Gino
The War That Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Fish in a Tree - Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Pale Blue Dot - Carl Sagan
Queen Hildegarde - Laura Elizabeth Richards
This Book is Gay - Juno Dawson
Wait for Signs - Craig Johnson
Garvey's Choice - Nikki Grimes
A Long Walk to Water - Linda Sue Park
Bellevue - David M. Oshinsky - A interesting history of the famous hospital in NYC
See You on a Starry Night - Lisa Schroeder
The Children's Blizzard - Melanie Benjamin
Harriet Tubman - Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Hell and Back - Craig Johnson
The Ranch that was Us - Becky Crouch Patterson - a family memoir about a huge ranch not far from                 where I live in the Texas Hill Country
Femina - Janina Ramirez - A account of relatively unknown mediaeval women who did amazing things
How to Meditate - Pema Chodron - A very nice book with which to end the year

2024's list begins with three books I'm currently reading

Rattlesnake - C. Lee McKenzie - a great ghost story!
The Women's West - Susan H. Armitage - A compilation of articles and stories about the lives of real                  women who were pioneers of the American West
A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living



Quotes of the Month

"This planet is not Terra Firma, it is a delicate flower and it much be cared for." Astronaut Scott Carpenter

"I'd like to read a book...I've never read a book before. I understand they have pages and everything." Frank Oz

"Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things." Frank A. Clark



Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful hubby and I didn't get any sicker than we did. The medication we got certainly stopped it from galloping into our lungs and we are definitely thankful for that.

Happy New Year!

Are you a BookBub user? Have you read any of the books on my list? What do you think of those faux-Latin words? Got a favorite? Do you think we should make up some new ones? I'll start. Incompuhensive: The state of being almost understandable, but not quite, so that it drives one slightly crazy.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Gift of Words

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!

This month's question is: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author? I rarely critique the author unless it's to say something general as in "I found the writing a bit choppy" or "I really liked the author's style of writing." My book reviews are pretty simple, I don't give synopses because there are plenty given by other reviewers and there is the book blurb itself. My reviews are mostly about what I like or don't like, how the story make me feel, what I learned or didn't learn. They don't tend to be longwinded. I rarely get into the "psychological" or "metaphorical" meaning behind a story. I rarely give out 5 stars either. For me, 5 stars are for those really powerful and special books that leave me kind of breathless and wanting more, that make me weep or laugh out loud, a book I will want to read more than once. Being honest with myself, most books I like are good solid 4s. A few are 3s. Unless an author is well known and people are raving about a book I find particularly bad, I rarely write reviews for books to which I would only give 1 or 2 stars. If the author is not famous and I think their story is bad (for whatever reason) but has lots of positive reviews, I keep my opinion to myself and don't post a review. I don't want to hurt another author's chances at making a little money.
***
Origins: a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's words are: GIFT and BIBLE
Christmas is on it's way. What could be better than discovering the origins of these two words?

Gift, "that which is given," has traveled a long and winding road. We will go from newest to oldest: 
Old Norse gift, gipt meaning "gift or good luck".
Proto-Germanic geftiz, (which is also the source of the Old      Saxon gift, Old Frisian jefte, Middle Dutch ghifte "gift",        German mitgift "dowry") all come from the geb "to                give" which in turn comes from the
Birthday gifts
Words are Gifts
Proto-Indo-European root ghabh "to give or receive." This humble root word forms part or all of these words (this is not the full list):  able, cohabit, cohabitation, debit, debt, due, duty, endeavor, exhibit, exhibition, forgive, gavel, gift, give, habeas corpus, habit, habitable, habitant, habitat, habitation, habitual, habituation, inhabit, inhibit, malady, prohibit, prohibition, provender. 

I love that the word FORGIVE is related to GIFT.

Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009. Pic 01The word Bible comes from the Latin biblia, which in turn comes from the Greek work biblion, meaning "paper scroll" and evolved to be an "ordinary word for a book as a division of a larger work." 

It's the paper scroll part that's interesting. Biblion was a diminutive of byblos, meaning "Egyptian papyrus." The city of Byblos was a Phoenician port from which papyrus was exported to Greece.  

We have papyrus to thank not only for the word paper, but also for the long list of words that have to do with books from bibliophile to biblioteca which is Spanish for library.


LoanWord: A word adopted from a foreign language with little or no modification. Today's loadwords come from Old Norse. There are so many, it was hard to choose. Loft/aloft, Anger, Are, Awe, Bag, Bait, Band (as in rope), Billow, Bleak, Both, Boon, Bug, Cake, Cozy, Creek, Cur, Die, Dirt, Dregs, Dump, Egg, Glitter, Gun, Happy, Haven, Husband, Keg, Kid, Kilt, Knife, Lad/Lass (not Scottish!? the Vikings gave them to us!) Leg, Mistake, Mug, Ransack, Reef, Rotten, Sale, Same, Skill, Skin, Skull, Sky, Take, Thrift, Troll, Ugly, Wail, Window (which means wind-eye) Wrong.


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Merry Christmas,
Happy New Year,
Peace on Earth,
and
Broccoli on Mars