I’m not sure there’s any way to explain my point without a long-winded back story, so please bear with me.I basically live in a very conservative place. I understand that I have different views than many people I come into contact with, but I’ve never meant to be disrespectful or even antagonistic. I stand by my morals just as much as anyone, but I don’t feel the need to constantly push my agenda or get into arguments. Most of the time I “behave myself,” by not bringing things up when I disagree politically, spiritually, socially, whatever.
A big part of this is language. I don’t say “bad” words on my facebook page, and the first time I read some of the more “out there” writer’s blogs, I was shocked to see how much “fuck” was used casually, humorously, in anger, or just as any other word. I don’t care, but there would be people I know that would flip if they ever read something like that. The truth is I say fuck all the time, but I rarely write it on the internet.
Which is one of the reasons I started my pen name, Matilda Loveshack. I want to write about dark and dangerous things like horror, murder mysteries, psychopaths, dystopian futures, and yes, sex. I very clearly state that I write this kind of thing in my fiction under this name and if you do not like it or don’t want it near your children, I completely respect your decision to not read it. I feel like I stick as many little red flags into my work as possible to prevent anyone being subjected to content they simply do not want to read. I understand.Well, of course, my book has been out for about two weeks and I’ve already had a bit of a falling out with some people I was close to, over the content of my book. (My zombie book, I might add.)
They were deeply offended and hurt that I would even think about writing something like this. Not the whole ‘murder and people eating each other’ thing. What was it that was so offensive? I had the characters saying “fuck.”I’m not going to lie. Authors that fling around profanity on every page aren’t exactly my favorite. But when “bad words” are used realistically, I think they can add so much to the characters and tone of the story. Not only do I think that’s how people do talk, if you’re going to have all sorts of other R-rated content, why is “fuck” the biggest problem people have?
Well, this brings me to explaining something that I included purposefully in my book.Along with fuck (and shit), I include one character using the word “crippled” and another “retarded.”
Now for those that don’t know, I was born with a physical defect and many people (public I know from working customer service, mostly) for some reason always use “crippled” to describe me. To my face, to my co-workers, my bosses, my friends. I’m the crippled one. The cripple with three jobs. The girl that does so good for being crippled.For a long time, I despised that word. I got angry when people used it. But I knew one thing: I was not going to be victimized by a word. So I thought about it and realized that it wasn’t the word, it was that they were dictating how I should see myself when they used the word.
Basically, how I see the world and how they see the world do not line up. My experiences lead me to one conclusion about the word, and their experiences lead them to another. These “bad” words highlight a pivotal difference between two people, and that can be very isolating. It’s upsetting. I think it’s perfectly fine to say fuck. You think saying fuck is a deeply disrespectful and malicious action. Rather than sit down and figure out why one thinks one way and one thinks the other, these offensive words are simply labeled bad and no other thought is put into it.So, before anyone yells at me for using these offensive words, let me say this.
The character in my book uses the term “crippled” in an antagonistic way. She is trying to piss off another character. She is not being nice and she would not be politically correct about it, though given her character she would probably not be PC anyway.
The character that says “retarded” is 9 years old and it’s in a very emotional scene. She’s all worked up and ends up saying “fuck” a few sentences later even though she’s never said the word before. She’s basically taking the worst thing she could say to express her epic upset to the other characters. And for me, it worked.
In both these scenes I debated using different words, but put the original “bad” ones in because that’s how the characters would talk, especially in those situations.I’m not saying that the way I used these words is better than how other authors might use them. Seriously, put them wherever the fuck you want. Nor am I saying that because of my experiences I have some special right to use these words or I’m using them correctly. I’m just saying I knew they were emotional words and after deliberation, I included them. Not to offend anyone. To be true to my work.
Another example. A photographer I follow on Facebook has been shut down a couple times by haters going on about how her tastefully done boudoir photos are offensive. She photographs women and couples of all sizes and really brings out how individuality is beautiful. Honestly, looking at her work made me feel better about my own body. As an artist, that’s what you want to do, help others figure out things about themselves.But some random people go, “Oh no, confident sexiness, we are deeply offended, shut her down!”
It’s a problem. Because guess what?The world is harsh. The truth is dirty. Life is offensive.
I will not be made to feel guilty for my expression of the world. Especially after I gave it careful thought and in no way made it a malicious attack on anyone I care about, or anyone that might be reading. I never say “Fuck you” or “Your retarded kid is worthless” or “cripples shouldn’t have jobs.”
If anything, I’m saying, think about this.Why would this character say this?
What does that mean about the society the character lives in if they are saying these things?What does it say about all of us?
Rant over J Thank you for listening.