I've been having trouble focusing on my beloved fantasy books of late. I would be in a panic over this development, except that it's happened before and, thankfully, I know that this sickness will pass...eventually. I have no idea what causes it, and I don't know why it happens when it does, but I will be profoundly grateful when it blows out the same hole in my brain that it entered. In the interim, I've found the best remedy is reading a short story or novella, requiring only a small commitment, which is perfect right now. Normally, I don’t love short works because it's too traumatic when I become invested in characters and worlds, only to have the party end prematurely, leaving me bereft. However, when I'm feeling squirrelly like this, less really is more. Especially when the novelette is good—and it’s doubly excellent when there is more than one. A novella series! And John Hartness has just what the doctor ordered; Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter. I'm digging Quincy. He's a total badass with an engaging voice and cool attitude -- I want to have a beer with this dude. You know,if I drank beer. And one of the things I've learned to love about him in a gratifyingly short period of time is his potty mouth. It's fucking awesome.
Now, my kids and husband read my blogs, so I am mindful of my language, trying to keep it mostly PG-13. Also, I had completely bought into the bullshit that using profanity was indicative of a paucity of imagination, not to mention class. So I've controlled myself. And I'll go back to doing so when this particular post is finished. But for today, Quincy Harker has inspired me to let my profanity out of the box. Whee!
So, to begin my peon to profanity, Mr. Hartness employs my favorite cuss word of all time: "fucktard." No, it is not a nice word, nor is it particularly PC. But my, oh, my, is it descriptive. And so often eerily accurate. Kind of like a Ouija board when used correctly. And good old Quincy bandies it about with aplomb. Which leads to the second reason I'm rapidly falling in love with John Abraham Quincy Holmwood Harker; he actually knows how to use profanity effectively. So few do.
Which is why the nasty rumor got started that people who have filthy mouths are ignorant and offensive. It's because some people do use cuss words when they can't find any others. Mouth breathers come to mind. But for the rest of us, John Hartness' fictional firebrand included, cursing makes us stronger, more resilient, more satisfied, less stressed and more imaginative— did you know, for example, that the word "fuck" can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and interjection and still make sense?
Apparently science backs me up on this, folks. It's true! Cursing helps us tolerate pain and discomfort better than if we didn't acknowledge that shit hurts. It makes us feel stronger and more confident (fuck yeah!), and can also help in forming and strengthening social or communal bonds (do you remember the first time you let the F-bomb slip in front of your boss and how boss the moment turned out to be when she cussed right back at you?). When we share the forbidden fruit of a mutual potty mouth, we feel closer to our fellows.
Except when to do so alienates those around us. And aren't they the party poopers? Yep, there are those who find swearing, especially when coming out of the mouths of "ladies," to be quite offensive. Which can put a serious harsh on my mellow, I'll say that here and now. I've actually been asked if I kiss my children with "that mouth." Shocking, really. Not to mention sexist and misogynistic. Not that that's not totally offensive. No way.
Having said that, though, I must confess that my beloved family despises my foul mouth and routinely exhorts me to stop swearing. They've tried the cuss jar, the disapproving glares, pleading and begging. And while I do try to contain my colorful language, or at least curb the most excessive of the excesses, I really can't say I've met with overwhelming success.
But to that I say, "Fuck it." I do the best I can. Because I I love to swear. It makes me happy. It truly does make me feel strong and confident—the kind of woman who is un-fuck-with-able. The kind of woman who doesn't give a flying fuck what other people think of her. The kind of woman who is creative and resilient, with a high tolerance for pain and discomfort, which is a requisite quality for living with integrity in this world, since you asked. And anything that helps me live my truth with more ease and joy is not something I'm giving up any time soon.
So, my apologies to those I've offended and will continue to offend. I will rein it in for my blog posts, because, mostly at least, these aren't rants. But I did feel a burning need to take a moment to express my appreciation to John Hartness and Quincy Harker for reminding me why I find cursing to be so fucking satisfying.