Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)
I am distantly aware of the constant background discussion in the writing community about various issues. One of them is the use of swearing in written works. Jessica's Book Thoughts commented on my last post that I had inspired her to use the F-Bomb.
Now, I'll be honest. I'm not overly conscious. I'm aware that I'm self-censoring all the time; the only difference is the degree. Here, for example, I'm less censoring than in a corporate report.
The only easy way I can describe this is in photography. You begin by learning the rule of thirds and all the rest of it; but at some point it becomes natural and the rules go to hell; you sometimes forget that there were ever rules in the first place. Your minds eye sees a shot that, "feels," right, and you go for it.
The following was actually a two second exposure, hand held, leaning against an engine in a darkened engine shed. Apart from a bit of sharpening, this is the shot, as taken; breaking a number of so-called, "rules," in the process.
OK. Right. So I don't proclaim myself to be some kind of literary genius but I do have a few head starts and a few handicaps.
One disadvantage is that I'm mildly dyslexic. One advantage is that society seems to have moved on; no one will tear me a new a-hole when I muck up. I get a down-mark, sure, but it isn't the end of the world. That, at least, allows me to progress because I haven't got a load of nose-in-the-air, literary, "experts," over my shoulder, looking to destroy my confidence. (yes, even the literati seem to have become more human!)
I've been writing for more than twenty years now. Not always books, but other things. Manuals. Web sites. Something I wrote a few months back was, "The first step in finding your voice, is to speak." Or something like that. Someone has likely said it before because, to me, it's common sense that practice makes perfect. I've also been blogging for about a decade.
I also started video blogging. In my first v-blogs I was very awkward, but after five years-ish in front of a camera, my self confidence has been bolstered. That's helped me no end with my self-expression.
Also, my job. I have always been in "customer support," in some manner or another. I've had plenty of practice in communicating with other people.
It was no surprise when the beta testers and early readers came back with a couple of key observations about my first, "vanilla," novel.
The first was that I write in an easy-to-read fashion. The second is that the characters are fleshed out and, "rounded."
Both of those are, I believe, down to writing as I speak.
Language is a living thing. Words are how we express emotions and in reality, we drop the odd F-bomb now and then, along with others like bugger, bloody, screw and shit. It's all down to context.
There was one group of people recently that screamed to the world that it was using the language of their roots and this was disrespecting them and that they, and they only, had the right to use certain words in certain contexts. Well, as expected, the world thought nothing of their cries and carried on anyway. It wasn't anything personal; they were the latest in a long line of communities for whom words hold certain meanings and identities for them, and, yeah, to hear other people using the words they use, in manners which have different meanings is gonna have an emotional impact. However, language lives, breathes, and it is going to roll over us all at some point no matter how loud we shout.
I do think about some society, five hundred years in the future, looking over the language we use today, and viewing our prose in the same way that we look at that from the time of Shakespeare.
And that's the whole thing. Words equal more than descriptions; they equal emotions.
F-bombs, whether we like it or not, convey emotions. The fact that my characters use them, and that I use them in more formal texts like these, is because we use them in real life; and that's what blogging and the web has become for me; a window on to my actual life. Some segments of society use them more than others; depending on what kinds of events occur.
One of the other things I am acutely aware of, is that in my life I've had to do all sorts of things. I've been a small-scale truck driver, among others. Warehouse work. Factory work. I've F'd and blinded with the best (and worst!) of them!
Like I've said earlier on, I do self censor, but I find that some stronger words are more, "realistic," than other manners of expression. "Oh darn and dash it. I've made a bit of a boo-boo and sliced my finger off with this here knife. Darling, be a dear and call nine, nine, nine would you; I think I'm about to fain..."
Now and then when I'm dreaming of success and accolade, (as I believe most of us do) I ponder that when I've been the best seller on numerous charts and have a bank full of the green stuff, that I would give up work. But then I sit and think that this is where I draw most of my experience with people from. This is where I learn my interaction skills and the place where boundaries are pushed and I learn which F, and which blind, are socially acceptable in which situations ... and that's going to feed in to my writing.