Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Professional v. Profanity

I'm starting to fear that being professional is a lost art to some kids these days. And some grown ups. Particularly in the age of insta-communication-- emails and texts written without forethought or afterthought.

My students usually smile when I tell them during the first day song and dance that I understand that profanity becomes habit. They smile and nod to each other. Then they get all flummoxed when I tell them taht I can out-swear the best of them. And I could. I can string profanity and vulgarities together in a way to make even the most bad ass high school wigger stop and stare. But I also know when not to use it.

When I'm heavy into writing, I notice that my speech pattern is altered a bit. I use more big words, even in the classroom than otherwise. I'm also more prone to being vulgar and shocking. Though you'd think my Hubby would be used to the things that come out of my mouth... even writing the words makes those speech patterns seep into my speech.

I don't have any real problem cleaning up my foul mouth for teaching (good thing!) though the occasional snarky line does sneak out. Luckily, each time it was with students that found it more amusing to hear such a thing from their teacher than offensive to hear it in school.

Nor do I have any problem writing polite, professional emails. In fact, I have a hard time being ME in email. I'm usually in something similar to "teacher-mode" that's nice, polite, and proofreads twenty-seven times to make sure that what I've written has a very high likelihood of coming across as intended.

I do, however, have trouble cleaning up my fiction for those markets that request things that way. I don't write clean by nature. To clean up, I usually go back in edits. And when I'm done, I always feel like the color has been bleached out of the story. Sometimes I think taht should I release a collection of Bo Fexler stories someday, that I'd go back and re-write the profanity and vulgarities back where they 'belong.'

Of course, the funniest part of all this, is I only swear at top strength around Hubby and a few other select people who I know don't find it offensive in anyway. I respect their right to not heard my creative use of bad words. But, man, they are missing out on some great lines...

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

On a similar subject, when I showed my husband a poem I had written about a pedophile the other day, he was shocked and told me to reconsider sending it out. I thought he was unshockable but apparently not.