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, 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. 

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?


  1. Funny I hadn't thought about it, but I used to be great at keeping focus when distractions were everywhere. Now, not so much. Hrm.

  2. I've never been able to write when it's noisy. Enjoy your visit with your sister.

  3. That's cool you got to see some of the eclipse.

  4. Interesting history of that saying, Bish! Have a great visit with your sister.

  5. Happy IWSG Day! I can block out noise pretty easily. Probably because I still have young kids in the house. I've literally completed a blog post with a kid jumping on the couch next to me. It's more the obligations of life that get me out of the zone. Dinner needing to be made, phone calls etc.

  6. Always enjoy learning from you, Bish. Enjoy your visit with your sister! I'm looking forward to seeing one of my sisters in July. She lives in Australia. With Covid and other issues, it's been seven years!

  7. I was in Nayarit during the eclipse and wasn't privy to much except a moment of eerie dark gloom. Our grandchildren in New Brunswick had the best view. Happy IWSG Day, Bish! Hope you're doing well.

  8. That's cool that you got to see the eclipse! Hope you have a nice time with your sister.

  9. Hi Bish - enjoy the time with your sister ... not long now. The eclipse is a wonderful experience. Sometimes one just ploughs through ... if I change my mind - then life gets a little challenging - but I'll get there, distractions eventually disappear! ... cheers Hilary


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!