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

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.


  1. Cattywampus is how I've always seen it spelled.

    I've not received any virus warning on the site.

  2. Oh my "tiny glass balls in their heads." Hrm, why am I not surprised? LOL

    Cattywampus is a great word. I think a derivative is kitty-corner, which is an expression I love.

  3. I'll double-check, but no one else is getting warning from the site.

  4. I've never gotten that message, Bish, but who knows what settings are pulling it up for you. Loved the word and phrase today. The history of words is always so fascinating.

  5. Hi, Bish! I haven't seen that message. It's crazy. I used to play marbles too, and loved it, especially beating the boys! Great quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I hope that you are enjoying IWSG Day!

  6. Wow. I've never received a warning about trojans (scary!) but I do get redirected.

  7. Hi Bish - so pleased you're sister is in good health, all things considered and you enjoyed the get together. Cheers for now - Hilary


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!