Tag Archives: choices

Writing: Profanity and Obscenties

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Although it is often used to denote any objectionable word, profanity literally means words that are considered profane—that is, words proscribed by religious doctrine. (Proscribed generally means forbidden by written order.) In the Judeo-Christian tradition, this primarily means taking the Lord’s name in vain (that is, not in prayer).

For the love of God, stop complaining.

Jesus Christ, look at the size of that thing!

In writing as in life, profanity can seem gratuitous or, worse, a thinly veiled shock tactic. And it can offend.  All of which might jolt the reader out of the unfolding action.  As a result, it’s important to use profanity only when it’s adding something essential.

I have to admit that when a book has so much profanity and obscenity that it’s the only thing that I keep seeing instead of the story, I quit reading the book or watching the movie. I was raised in a time when four letter words and obscenity were insulting and crude. They were used, but not in mixed company. People used clichés as, “cussed like a sailor.”

Obscene means something disgusting or morally abhorrent, often connoting sex. The f-word is considered the most objectionable of these. (Adding “mother” as a prefix ups the ante.)

Non-objectionable variants of the present participle form of the word—besides “fugging”—include “fecking,” “freaking,” “flipping” and “fricking.” (To be honest, I really don’t know why that “u” is so important.)

“Screw” is a milder word. Notice that both the f-word and “screw” are used not just too literally describe the act of intercourse, but to connote “taking advantage of”:

Don’t go to that repair shop—they screwed me out of $500 for a brake job I didn’t need.

Words referring to the pelvic area, male and female, are also considered obscenities.

To help you understand why I think like I do let me tell you a personal story that I remember as if it were yesterday instead of the 1950’s.  I was a small child maybe five at the most.  My father and my uncle were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking. I can’t say they were drunk because I was not old enough to really be aware, but I do remember a bottle setting on the table.  I was sitting in the kitchen floor by our refrigerator watching and listening to what was going on.

My dad was talking and gesturing with his hands.  I heard my father say that four letter word and the next thing I knew my uncle knocked my father out of the chair to the floor.  My uncle then told my father not to say that another time in front of me.

I asked my mom about what happened and she told me that daddy had used a word that he shouldn’t have. That one event impressed my five year old mind so strongly that anytime I hear it, I see my dad hitting the floor.

It seems to me that today’s language is filled with four letter and curse words, and is accepted as norm by mostly young people. Truth be told, I still find it offensive no matter how much I hear it.

In writing language choices should stay true to the character; however, the narrative isn’t riddled with profanity.  Using restraint allows one to achieve voice effectively and maintain authenticity while avoiding the likelihood of profanity’s potential pitfalls.  Such language can seem be a departure for a character, and that contrast can also be revealing.

When profanity influences characters or becomes pertinent to the unfolding action, it can be necessary.  In the autobiography Black Boy, Richard Wright uses strong profanity and racial epithets to show the ways in which white characters try to intimidate and terrorize him.

When used incorrectly, profanity can be a shortcut to emotion and the reader is bound to remain unconvinced.  Try to convey emotion through action, gesture or different dialogue for a more nuanced effect.

 

How to Have Joy in Your Life

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How To Have Joy In Your Life

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1. Keys for Joyful Living

Here are some thoughs for finding and experiencing joy in your life from Chris Widener. If there were one thing I could wish upon my family, friends and you, it would be joy in everthing you do! As humans we tend to lean towards thinking of all the bad that could happen instead of finding the joy in what we have. Change your thinking and change your life.
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Know your purpose. Nothing will bring you joy more than knowing what it is that you are about on this earth. Not knowing bring sadness, wondering, fear and lack of fulfillment. Above all, find out what your unique purpose is here on this earth – then fulfill it! As you do, you will experience joy!

Live purposefully. This is a follow up to number one. It is one thing to know your purpose, but then you need to live according to that purpose. This is a matter of priorities. Let your actions and schedule reflect your purpose. Don’t react to circumstances and let them cause you to live without your purpose fully in site. Living without your purpose will cause frustration. Living purposefully will bring you deep satisfaction and joy!

Stretch yourself. Don’t settle into the status quo. That will leave you unfulfilled. Always look to stretch yourself. Whatever you are doing, stretch yourself to do more! Stretching yourself will break the limits you have set for yourself and will cause you to find joy in your expanded horizons!

Give more than you take. It brings happiness to accumulate. It brings joy to give away. Sure, getting the car you worked hard for will bring you a sense of satisfaction and even happiness. But it won’t bring you joy. Giving something away to the less fortunate will bring you deep, abiding joy.

Surprise yourself, and others too. The words here are spontaneity and surprise! Every once in a while, do the unexpected. It will cause everybody to sit back and say, “Wow, where did that come from?” It will put a little joy in your life, and theirs.

Indulge yourself sometimes. Too much indulgence and you are caught in the happiness trap. Looking for the next purchase, celebration etc to bring you a little “happiness high.” But if you will allow yourself an infrequent indulgence as a reward for a job well done and a life well lived, you will appreciate the indulgence and experience the joy of it.

Laugh a little – no, a lot! Most people are just too serious. We need to laugh a little – no, a lot! Learn to laugh daily, even if you have to learn to laugh in bad situations. This life is to be enjoyed! The next time you go to the movie rental store, get a comedy and let loose! Let yourself laugh!

Joy can be yours! Look for it, pursue it and enjoy it!           Joy and happiness

2. Leadership & Success Quotes

Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness. – Jim Rohn

The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there. – Vince Lombardi

Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle. – Soren Kierkegaard

Be a voice, not an echo. – Chris Widener

The Key to successful Leadership today is Influence, not authority. – Ken Blanchard

I will go anywhere as long as it is forward. – David Livingston

Since Today is the tomorrow that I thought about yesterday, Today, I will do something to improve my tomorrow

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“Here’s to your joy and success”

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