Like a sailor and I learned it from the Air Force…
No, that’s not true, they just helped speed up my education for it. I, like many in my generation, learned it from my peers. School, friends, parents. I can’t say I learned it from movie, tv, or music, but I did learn it on the street. It’s such a natural part of my language that when my husband and I decided to pursue having children it was a struggle to stop swearing.
Fast forward to 9 years later and I rarely swear. When I do, it’s not around my kids… hopefully. Sometimes it slips out, like when a ton of books almost fell on my head. A well placed sh*t came out before I could stop it. Understandable and fortunately my kids are old enough to realize that they shouldn’t use it. Personally, I don’t have an opinion about its use. Sometimes the situation fits and requires swearing, other times if it is used at an inappropriate time or situation I shake my head.
A saying I’ve heard, though it may be a quote, is that swearing is the product of an unsophisticated mind. That may be true, may not be. I suppose it is a personal preference for everyone. For me, I find that swearing can be a release in the right company. When I’m angry, frustrated, or plain irritated at an adult I swear (assuming my kids aren’t
When it comes to writing, depending on the story will depend on the level of profanity laced within the dialog. It depends on the character, the situation, the plot, the time period. Some characters are going to swear worse than a sailor, others are too gentle/young/sweet/innocent/nice to even think about uttering anything harsher than ‘darn it’.
One thing I have noticed in relation to this topic is that depending on the story/character it begins affecting my own personal speech patterns. Not only with the swearing though it’s a great way to figure out what story I’m working on currently. If I start swearing like I used to, I was working on Memory Lane though it doesn’t stop there. My speech pattern changes too in relation to rhythm and intonation. I’m pretty good about not bringing in an accent…so far, but that could change. I have a character who is British and since I have a fair amount of friends who are from England that might change, but maybe not. Who knows.
My reason for bringing this up comes from reading other writers experience with their characters. When they are in a particular character for a considerable amount of time, their way of thinking and looking at the world infects us. For a short time until we can pull away, to make a clean break between the line of Alex and myself, I have that adjustment period. During which I don’t say much around my kids and I write as Alex when they aren’t here.
Which makes me wonder, how far does this psychological merging of characters without ourselves go. How deep is it? I’ve told many people that each of my characters has some aspect of myself, but now I’m wondering if all of Alex is in me. How much of a difference is there between us? How about the difference between me and Sela, or me and Markov who is a sociopath?
Does the question matter? Should I be worrying about it or am I trying to slice and dice something that should be left well enough alone?
- Curses! Ctd (dish.andrewsullivan.com)
- The bad words (andrewknighton.wordpress.com)
- To Swear or Not To Swear… (maralaurey.wordpress.com)
P.S. A great little music video that talks about cursing