Discombobulated…

I went for a walk early on Saturday morning. Walking is my go-to tonic. Lately, I’ve been feeling a little confused, frustrated. Anxious about what to do next. And a couple of health issues have dragged me down as well. That word discombobulated fits my mood. An American-English verb, apparently it originated in about 1934 as a humorous word to imitate hi-falutin-sounding Latin words. Other similar words are confusticate (1852) and absquatulate (1840). I wonder what my editor would think if I used these in my next book? I do love unusual words but they can throw a reader…I’d love to hear some of your favourite, unusual expressions.

But I digress.

At this time of year, we are usually living in Tuscany but you and I know that spanners have been thrown in the works after the last eighteen months or so. I had planned a couple of research trips for my next book, which is set in southern Italy. And this is hampering me. I know that writers use “what if” as a tool for their imagination. But in this instance, that question has been leading me down the wrong paths.

‘What if we don’t manage to get to Italy this year?” Google search does not quite do it for me. I like to be in the places I write about. I need the sensory details and the stories that come to me unexpectedly: from talking to locals, coming across plaques in the street or festivals commemorating an event, tasting local food, glimpsing a corner of a town that inspires me.

“What if my imagination dries up and I can’t write another book? Will my publishers say goodbye to me?” Those two monkey words have been plaguing me recently. My walk was early this morning. The air was fresh and I could literally smell the roses in people’s front gardens. The scent distracted me from my pesky me-me-me thoughts.

There was hardly anybody else about, little traffic and a blackbird’s song was a joy as I walked to my appointment. Gardens brimmed with colour and along a footpath, wild flowers beckoned to me and I stopped to snap images on my phone.

In the park, young children congregated for a cricket match by the elder trees, their blossoms telling me it was time to make more cordial. Cricket is not played in Italy and the whole morning was turning out to be very English.

I passed a semi-derelict bungalow near the sea, weeds tangling its front path and I saw what I presumed was a dog stretched out in the sun: thin and long, its ribs protruding from a dull red coat. It was a fox. When I stopped to make sure, he lifted his head and looked at me as if to say: “Yes, I’m a fox. What about it? I have as much right to be here basking in the morning heat as you have to walk the pavements.”

My morning’s walk was giving me messages. Live in the now. Look around and enjoy what you see. Don’t banish the present through worries about the future. Stop and feel. Be grateful for what you have. I was early for my appointment and I did just that when a bench invited me to sit for a while.

Sometimes it’s hard to climb out of yourself. I needed to hear these messages. Yesterday we were at our granddaughter’s sixth birthday party – balloons, pass-the-parcel, rainbow cake and all. And my appointment this morning? To talk to the hairdresser to see how to arrange my hair for our youngest daughter’s wedding this August. How lucky am I?

This year, Italy will have to wait three months until we arrive. What is there to worry about?

On my noticeboard in the kitchen, I scrawled this sentence when I returned home. A reminder to myself to take each day as it comes.

And as if by magic, the postman dropped a parcel through the door. It was sent by a special friend. I unwrapped it and the words were like a hug. You know who you are. Thank you so much. xx

About Angela Petch

Bit of a story dreamer, written four novels - a fifth to be published on April 7th 2021. I love my little family and in no particular order afterwards: Italian culture, food, wine, walking everywhere I can and especially in the Apennines, East Africa, tennis when I can, reading, reading and more reading. So much to discover still before I die.
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20 Responses to Discombobulated…

  1. Patricia S says:

    I loved the vivid descriptions in your post and the photos that match them. I loved too, the musing on words – very much a writer’s occupation. My two current faves are serendipity and egregious but discombobulate is brilliantly evocative Of course the fox ‘owned’ the house, they are cheeky beggars. We have a visiting pair who come for supper every evening and woe betide us if we are late putting it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angela Petch says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Patricia. Egregious sounds like it really is… I like excoriating too. What do you feed your foxes?

      Like

  2. I loved your fantastic pictures. I hope you can get your books translated into Italian. They deserve to be read by people who live there.Thanks for your messages. I’ll let you know when I get a definitive reply.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angela Petch says:

      You are very welcome and it was great to see you at Elaine’s. Take care of yourself. Your books were given to Poppy on her birthday. I will try and get a photo of her holding them – if she will keep still for 2 minutes!

      Like

  3. I trust the cake cheered you up! Thank you for this post- your thoughts and photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jessiecahalin says:

    A poignant post. Enjoyed wandering with you through your tangled thoughts as you moved from feeling discombobulated to connecting with the moment.
    The late Luncinda Riley wrote:
    ‘Through the pain and joy of the journey, I have learnt the most important lesson life can offer, and I’m glad of of it.
    The moment is all we have.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angela Petch says:

      Yes – I read this on the day her death was announced. Very fitting. RIP. I enjoyed her books and they will live on now that she is gone. “The moment is all we have” and that is a treasure that we can’t sometimes see before our eyes. Thanks for commenting and for being such a lovely friend. xx

      Like

  5. What a lovely blog, Angela, and a great message to us all. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dianaed14 says:

    A good read – interesting post

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can totally relate to all of this and so jealous you met Mr Fox.

    Like

    • Angela Petch says:

      He owned the house! I think the actual owners weren’t there – the garden was very neglected. And Mr Fox had moved in! We have loads of urban foxes near us. Thank you for commenting, Morton. x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Morgan Mark says:

    A really lovely piece. The moment is all we got ! Strange words, yes. As english has a shared second place for me, there are usually several words I don’t know when I read english books. Most books I read are english though. A fantastic feature, for me at least, with reading on Kindle, is that you can hold your finger on a word and several definitions/explanations pop up, dictionary, wikipedia etc etc. We, me and my wife, read the books in parallel and discuss the story and characters as we read along. Really fun. Crossing my fingers that you can go to Italy. Here it is opening up a bit and we can now; being vaccinated, go to France without tests or quarantine. Suppose you know that the word quarantine comes from the Italian number quaranta/forty. Suspect ships in the old day had to wait forty days outside the port in fear of sicknesses. Looking forward to your next book and how come your books are not translated to Italian. I tell Italians about your books, but as you know, they are often not very good in english.

    Like

    • Angela Petch says:

      Grazie, Morgan! Thank you for your reply. Yes, reading on Kindle has many advantages and I buy loads of books this way and it is great to support other authors. But there is nothing quite like the feel of a book in my hands. I find it easier to flick backwards and forwards. My Italian friends ask me why my books are not translated too. They have been in Hungarian… it is a dream that one day they might be. Stay safe – yes – quarantena comes from the word forty. Words are fascinating! Carnevale is another one! Goodbye to meat – before Lent. I appreciate your engaging with me about my writing. Grazie!

      Like

  9. A lovely blog. Walking, gardening and baking has seen me through these months. I can’t get back to editing while the sun entices me outside and my writing is taking a backseat. Don’t be hard on yourself. These are strange times and you are right. Live for the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angela Petch says:

      Thank you, Rosemary. Strange times indeed. I love hearing about your new life in Norfolk. Brimming with positivity and adventure. Keep it up! xx

      Like

  10. jen_bookworm says:

    Beautiful post. I hope your walk helped you to feel better. Sometimes we worry and think things won’t turn out well but then they do. All the best.

    Like

    • Angela Petch says:

      It certainly did help, Jen. thank you for your good wishes. I should not moan because my life is good but every now and then…
      I had an anaesthetic in the last days before and maybe that made my mood drop. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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