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  • djbowmansmith

Bad Language - What are your thoughts?

I think it is fair to say that the world falls into two camps – those who frequently use bad language and those who do not. I am sorry to confess that I belong in the former. Which camp you fall into depends on many factors. The sort of family one grew up in and the effects of fashion and peer pressure, for example. Some of us began one way and then re-learnt our way of speaking in adult life - for one reason or another. And I know from experience (although I can only imagine) that life is easy if you are the sort of person who can stub their toe in public and only utter an angry yet charmingly benign expletive. Trust me, you don’t know how lucky you are.

Yes, I am a swearing woman. Bad language flows from my lips like a black torrent of evil and you can double this if I am cross – or better yet - put your hands over your ears!

I grew up in a house where swearing was not infrequent. Of course, anything picked up early is hard to put aside. My working life – a primary teacher – don’t shudder, certainly meant I had to curb my natural tendency for profanity. Believe me, even in the staff room those nice teachers are pleasant and correct. On the whole I managed to keep it together although I uttered a few bad words to the staff bully when we were alone. She was so shocked she never mentioned it or bothered me again.

I remember an incident when a supply teacher was ‘let go’ because she truly verbalised how she felt about that unruly year four class (they were awful). Secretly, I felt for her.

One of my biggest fears was letting an unmentionable word slip when under pressure. On the whole I had unending patience with children, and the day to day running of my class was not the issue. Even when a child snipped a sizeable chunk out of my dress while I spoke to another child I was calm – most of the stuff small kids do is pretty funny. And I was secretly glad she had not cut her own dress (or hair) as her mother was terrifying.

What I feared was being taken unawares. What if I banged my head in the teacher’s cupboard, trod on some Lego while teaching PE in bare feet, sat on a drawing pin? Thankfully, when bad things happened (all of the above and more) my teacher’s persona did not slip.

Time has moved on, as it does, and I am no longer a teacher that writes but just a writer now. I can relax. Nobody can sack me for swearing. I’m an independent author and can use any language I wish. Odd then that I almost never swear in print. At the time of writing, I have four adult fantasy books and one novella and I think there are – overall – only two invectives in the entire series. Sometimes, there is only one word that will do.


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