***THIS POST CONTAINS A GOOD EXPLETIVE OR TWO. UNCOMFORTABLE IMAGERY. IF ANY OF THIS OFFENDS THEE, DO NOT PURSUE ANY FURTHER! THOU HAST BEEN DULY WARNED!***
But you’re curious, aren’t you?
Yeah, me, too. I don’t even know what I’m gonna write about, yet, so…
Hide your children! Check your condoms and diaphragms! And warm up the heavy bag!
Hold the phone! You mean there really are those still out there who can’t stomach freaky shit, a well-crafted evisceration, or a good fuck?
Say it ain’t so.
Well–to a degree–I’m one of those. Qualified.
I don’t like to read or watch movies with nasty and graphic content (though sex is always a bo-nusss…), especially if it’s in there only for the shock value. Don’t watch them slasher flicks with numerals after them, and the Saw flicks utterly flabbergast me in their popularity. Great work for the SFX staff, but geesh….
However. I do understand the occasional and measured use of the graphic depiction to “swear, fight, or fuck,” as I’ll call it. In my writing, I, too, have also been there. Many times, actually.
You see, thing is…when writing (but not in the workplace nor freely flourishing anywhere in polite society where great offense might be taken…), writers try to do the best we possibly can in setting mood, tropes, and moments. Have to be honest to the story. And sometimes in setting these things one has to get, well…dirty. Yes, roll up the sleeves, slog around in the mud, and say to ourselves: do I cheat the reader? Whimp out? Look the other way?
Pretend my people (“Characters?” Ha! These are real people, I tell you!) in my book don’t swear nor how to spell it? Don’t have sex nor masturbate? Everybody’s good and has only good thoughts and intents? Puppies and kittens?
Or do I face the music head on and crank that bad boy up?!
No one wants to read about the daily grind, unless the daily grind involves conflict, sex, or a well-thrown punch or two. Conflict. That’s the word. I’m paraphrasing, but David Morrell once said that the/a secret to writing was to just not bore the reader. Well, writing about waking up, making your coffee, and heading to work (even in rush hour) doesn’t usually cut that mustard. And when trying to cut “that mustard,” weird, intense, sometimes quite offending events happen, and that’s where “interesting” begins, as should stories.
No longer can writing be flowery and flaccid (if it ever could), with a lot of “blanks” conveniently overlooked and not filled in. Readers want more real in their works, or, perhaps more to the point, “verisimilitude“: the appearance of reality (we, do, after all, in fiction, anyway, have to make the story appear real just enough for us to believe it, even if trying to escape reality…). So if you have certain characters, some are going to swear, fight, and fuck. And being a writer, we have to weave all these elements into our work in the best possible way, as Stephen King says, to be transparent to our readers. To write our work well enough so readers forget they’re reading. They’re living.
This, also, can apply to other areas of writing…like blogs.
Now, most of the time, I post pretty clean material…but every now and then I tend to use a choice expletive or two. Yes, I said “choice” for a reason. Sometimes when you’re slinging words around, a certain turn of phrase just begs to be used…is a perfect fit for what you’re posting. Do you use it, or select another word choice to show you’re far smarter than the little fuck?
There’s a certain…energy…to the use of the chosen expletive that better drives home a point, or makes a statement. Now some writing simply doesn’t allow for the “fucks and shits” other writing allows, and that’s okay. We all have our place, we all have our superpowers. But, for the most part, most writing does allow for them, and when using them, the same rules apply as they do for everything else in writing: don’t over use. Use for effect. There are so many other words to use in any language (well, except maybe Hawai’ian…?), pick and choose! On a Zen level, words are created for use. I don’t use fifty-dollar words to sound elevated and stuck up…I use them because they exist and I want to use as many as possible!
But…my parents! They read my blogs! My children! They don’t know this side of me! And-and I grew up tasting so many variants of soap I’m near blind!
My friends and co-workers!
I’ll be banned from my a) church, 2) car pool, thirdly) Home Depot.
Well, do what you gotta do to survive, but, one way or the other, as a writer globally projecting thoughts, ideas, and words out into the world…you are going to piss someone off. It’s inevitable and unavoidable. You just can’t please everyone–no harm in trying–but sooner or later you come up against your own energy and who and what you are. As a writer, it’s your responsibility to go beyond “nice” and portray whatever it is you’re portraying in the most compelling, readable, unboring manner possible. Assert your independence and grow. Reach beyond and strive for bigger and better.
And, yeah, sometimes we just get mad and are prone to potty mouth (and research does indicate that the use of expletives does help in dealing with pain, BTW).
Of course you can always chose to not write things-offensive. Case closed; no harm, no foul. Look, unless you’re still under the roof of whoever’s rearing you, you have a right to assert who you are–even to your parents.
Think your parents never cursed? Had sex?
I’m not saying to walk around carelessly launching expletives hither and yon like rose pedals at wedding, but you gotta pick and choose your venues–and in writing, that’s all you. Know your readership. Use wisely.
And get over being so easily offended!
In today’s world it’s become vogue to call out one’s offended status far too fucking frequently, IMHO. Get a tough skin and let the occasional fuck fly past without so much as a second glance. Move on. Go around the rocks. Get on with your life. There are other offensive words out there, and I’m not going there, because they go off into other territory I feel is far beyond the scope of what I’m trying to demonstrate…I also don’t want to get into a possibly really nasty debate. That is not my issue. Though all I’ve said certainly may apply to some of them, I’m more concerned with the more generic variety and their application that doesn’t carry other connotations that are best left to other discussions I will not enter into on this post. Use them at your own risk.
So, please understand that in writing, writers choose their words, and sometimes we use certain words for specific effect. We don’t just “throw down” without due consideration.
I hope I’ve managed to put this into better perspective, and I thank you all–in advance–for puttin up with my shit.