Mostly just chilling with Chicken and chewing the fat…
Seriously-- fun stuff going, but nothing earth shattering.
Does Johnnie look thrilled? He should! Rhys Ford gave my Boobie Hamster a shout-out at The Novel Approach, while pimping Tequila Mockingbird-- a book I personally can't wait to read, btw. (I shall pimp it on July 6th's *kermit flail* Monday-- which reminds me, peeps, if you have a new release, hit me!)
This is exciting to me, as is the release of Behind the Curtain on audio! Speaking of audiobooks, I'm getting sort of a collection going, don't I? The first three books of Promises, the Talker novellas, the first three Johnnies novellas-- Going Up, The Locker Room, A Solid Core of Alpha, Clear Water,… I'm sort of excited about how big the audio program is getting!
And in other news? Well, I finished Black John. Oh my God-- can I just say, I'm working on a short novella right now, something cute, and sweet, and fun, and adorable, and all the angst I've been writing is leeching into my happy happy! I"m hoping it's all gone by the time I get to the Christmas novella, cause I'm sayin'… I need some happy in my head!
I've been thinking about a random comment somebody made-- which is dangerous. It's something I haven't been able to get out of my mind, because it's one of my favorite subjects, and that means I've blogged about it before.
But I don't remember when.
It's about swearing.
I've written an Amy's Lane on the difference between porn and romance, and I've written one on how you can build a world based on what you say when you stub your toe, but I don't remember if I've written any Amy's Lane columns on why I like to swear. And why it doesn't mean you're stupid.
The thing is, like anything else in our language, swearing has an origin and a purpose. Being able to manipulate swear words is just as important as being able to manipulate multi-syllabic latinate words--in fact, since the latinate words tend to obscure emotional punch, and a well-placed swear word can double it, it's wise not to underestimate the impact of a well-chosen blasphemy.
And the cool thing about swear words is that they're versatile. I once grabbed the attention of a really recalcitrant freshman class by getting them to dissect the sentence "Fuck the fucking fucker who fucking fucked me."
It's sort of enlightening:
"Fuck (verb present tense) the fucking (adjective) fucker (noun) who fucking (adverb) fucked (verb past tense) me."
So, if you need to really nail a moment with something that shocks, something that surprises, something that can titillate, something that implies obscenity, something that implies violence, something that can fit in any part of a sentence you want to emphasize…
Well, it's a possibility.
It's not the only possibility-- and it's always wise to think about cutting down on something, especially if you're using it for effect.
But here's the thing. In the past, swear words have implied a certain decadence, a lack of morality or decency. Girls didn't swear-- girls were too good to swear. Gentlemen didn't swear-- unless really put to the test by their uppity women. But the pushing of the sexual envelope has also pushed the language envelope, and why not? Most of our best, most verboten swearwords are closely linked to our absolute terror of human sexuality-- in particular, the empowerment of female sexuality.
Erotic romance did it first--used the "big bad words" to make a sex scene hotter, and that opened the door. M/M romance (and NO, gay romance is NOT ALWAYS erotic romance!) has taken that freedom to use the "big bad" words and do something even more courageous than make us hot.
They've made it real.
Kurt Vonnegut once published a letter he'd written to a school district who burned his work. (I love this letter-- I base a lot of my blogging technique on the flawless showing-not-telling displayed within.) In this letter he defends a sentence in Slaughterhouse Five by saying, "A soldier swears. Soldiers use coarse language." (I paraphrased.) And I grew up with people swearing around me-- I loved those forbidden words. The minute I was old enough, I embraced them-- those words gave me power over the male dominated conversations I was frequently privy too. To me, the world in which men and woman both swore was a world of verbal and social equality, and when I started writing the Little Goddess books, I embraced the holy fuck out of that. When I wrote The Bitter Moon saga, I created an entire world, social class, prejudice, religion, belief system, family tradition, and mood, based purely on blasphemies--most of which can be freely repeated in any setting. ("Triane's purple tits" is, perhaps, the one exception.)
When I switched to strictly M/M, I created characters who spoke the way the men around me swore. Walking into my school staff room was an experience in swear-word submersion. The one way I kept my head above water when I was there was swearing as well as or better than the men in the room. I knew I was done with that bullshit when I didn't feel like swearing in that room anymore.
So I know how powerful swearwords can be-- and I am a firm believer in using them.
George Carlin once spoke about his childhood, and he talked about the nun who singled him out because he swore like a sailor fucking a trucker. She understood that the ability to manipulate profanity to create humor required a specific, important type of intelligence, and, he freely admitted, she was one of the reasons he made it out of school.
So, no. I can't be shamed by people who don't like my language. I don't foresee ever a time when I don't look at a swearword for it's potential to create emotion and power in a situation. I have taught my children the value of time and place, but I have never taught them that swear words are evil, or that they diminish their people-hood in any way.
Even our blasphemies define who we are; denying that part of us fucks us up by definition.