Friday, November 27, 2015

I swear I'm not going to swear!

It is time for me to admit to you all, that I have what my great grandmother would've called "a mouth on me". My grandmother would've said I talk like a drunken sailor denied a refill. And my mother...well she's constantly telling me that ladies don't talk "like that". Even my loving mate and partner in crime, David, once in a while will tell me to "watch my mouth", which I think he says reflexively before remembering who he is talking to. I often frown and have a moment of guilt, wishing I could be the type of person who can recognize when I'm about to say something offensive and reel it in. I should be banned from the public eye! Flogged for my indecency! Someone should glue my f--er, my mouth shut, and then...and only then, would I be allowed entrance back into the glistening white walls of a welcoming society fully reformed and ready with my new arsenal of acceptable words. Like: "fiddle-faddle, goshdarn, dagnabit" etc.

Then I hear a small voice in my head that sounds suspiciously like my dearly departed Uncle Bob..."What the fuck is their problem?"

Well said U.B. Well said. I can honestly say, I don't know what their problem is, but their solution seems to be censoring me with a wagging finger and a glance down their noses.

Okay, okay, I get it. I have language issues. Yes, I come from a place where it is more acceptable to go hungry than to go without a pair of designer jeans. We weren't the most sophisticated lot by the standards of some (insert subtle finger display), but we were, and still are, street wise and able to handle sh--stuff that would make the silver spoons lose their fookin' minds! ( Doesn't count!)

Some of my friends that I grew up with would say no less than seven F bombs in a fourteen word sentence and I understood perfectly what they were trying to say. That's just how we talked. It's how some people I still talk with from school converse even now. I don't judge them, because I know that's how it is. I changed my address, I changed some of my habits, but that doesn't mean others have to. They live in a harsher environment, they express themselves differently.

But here's the real question: When you're writing about an environment described above, how authentic do you keep your dialog?

I've seen people who have full on cuss-strong writing works, whether it is a screen play or a book. I've read those pieces and I've enjoyed them. I don't know if other people will or if they'll feel strongly that the book/play is ruined. Who can tell? My personal opinion is that it takes a good writer to let the audience know they're in a highly slang-tastic region without having to paint a colorful picture that leaves readers slack-jawed and feeling violated. But that doesn't mean you should p...wuss out. If your character is facing some next-level trauma, and you have them saying "darn that really sucks", they better be someone who aspires to be the next saint.

Basically I'm saying you have to find a happy medium. Know your audience. If you're writing for John Oliver or an HBO series, by all means, F-bomb like you're trying to win a war. But if you're writing for a more sensitive audience, use your skills and choose your words wisely. You don't want to come off as a writer who is trying to sell shock value any more than you want to be known as a writer who writes a teenager with the soul of a mid century grandma. Maximize your stories potential by keeping it friendly to more readers.

Or you can tell me to go fiddle-faddle myself.

**Please excuse all typos and nonsensical sentences well within my control but outside of my ambition!

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