In which the author attempts to explain where the name "Sanguine Musings" came from.

Sanguine is my by far my favorite word (yes, I have have a favorite word; have I not made it clear on these pages that I'm a nerd?).  The definition below will help explain just what I like about it.


  • 1 optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation:he is sanguine about prospects for the global economythe committee takes a more sanguine view
  • (in medieval science and medicine) of or having the constitution associated with the predominance of blood among the bodily humors, supposedly marked by a ruddy complexion and an optimistic disposition.
  • archaic (of the complexion) florid; ruddy.
  • 2 literary & Heraldryblood-red.
  • 3 archaic bloody or bloodthirsty.


  • a blood-red color
    • a deep red-brown crayon or pencil containing iron oxide.
    • Heraldrya blood-red stain used in blazoning.

It means hopeful and optimistic, yet at the same time, bloody and even blood-thirsty.  How great is that?  The contrasting meanings derive from the four humors of Hippocrates.  The Ancient Greeks believed that illness was caused by an imbalance of the so-called "four humors" that composed the human body: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and of course, blood.  They were way off on the body's composition, but with the concept of imbalance, they were spot on.  Modern medicine calls it "homeostasis".  Any deviation in the body's pH levels, oxygen/carbon dioxide levels, or temperature will necessarily lead to Very Bad Things.

Anyway, the Greeks believed they could identify an overabundance (or lack thereof) of a particular humor by a person's physical presentation as well as their personality traits.  Someone who was cheerful and optimistic all the time, especially when they had no reason to be, was considered to have an overabundance of the blood humor.  This practice carried on into the middle ages, and physicians labeled this trait after the Latin word for blood: sanguineus.

Sometimes when I tell people I'm a paramedic, they ask me how I can stand the sight of blood.  Easy: I love the sight of blood.  I'm sorry, but it's pretty (although I prefer it to stay inside where it's supposed to be).  It's all the other stuff that comes out of people that I have a problem with.  While I don't plan to do a whole of blogging about my job, being a paramedic is a part of who I am, and wanted that to shine through in some small way.

The other meaning is "optimistic".  I had to break through a lot of mental barriers before writing became something more than just something I wanted to do "someday".  One of those barriers was the belief that I couldn't do it.  Success is something that happens to other people, not me, I thought.  I don't have what it takes to be a writer.  Those types of thoughts plagued me for a long time until I just pushed them away.  Maybe I won't ever get published, who knows.  The point is, I refuse to believe that.

As for "musings," this blog is more of a reflection of my writing journey than anything else, so the word seemed appropriate.