Little dilemma involving the integrity of my work vs. dropping the f-bomb in front of kiddies. Hmmmm.
Tonight I’ll be reading my shortlisted piece in front of a crowd of strangers (with a few of my cheerleaders in the mix). I’m excited and I’m proud of my piece – an excerpt from my second novel, Life as a Teenage Mutant. The material includes a 15 year old girl with a eating disorder, lots of animosity, and some f-bombs. Actually, one f-bomb and one stupid bitch, thrown in for good measure.
I’m no stranger to foul language, and have been known on occasion to drop the f-bomb myself (usually in a good story, or a WTF?). I admit I use it sparingly and not usually in mixed company. Certainly not in front of kids. There’s just something about the crassness of it, and as a lover of words I can usually find another that fits. So, when I use it, it’s deliberate.
That brings me to my dilemma. There’s an award given earlier at the gala for a young writer between 9-14 years old. Someone who didn’t need to wait until 40 to reach for their dreams. Impressive really. Quite. Problem is, they’ll be there to hear my reading as well, and my reading involves, as noted above, heavy issues and naughty language.
For followers of my blog, you know I don’t swear needlessly. I imply mostly, but if it needs to be said, it’ll be in there. My novel is written the same way. I don’t use swearing in place of other words, I place them as strategically as ever other word I use. Probably more so. So what exactly is the problem then?
The mother in me is battling the author in me, and I’m second guessing reading my work as it’s written. Do I just drop the f-bomb in the company of these young authors, younger than my own children?
I could leave out the two offending words, but to be realistic, the piece itself is gritty with or without those words. I’m not bringing my own children; I didn’t feel it was appropriate. Heck, I even gave my mother a heads up about it (she likes the grittiness of my work anyway). The author in me, who so carefully placed those words, says “WTF? No way! Own it, say it, read it as is.”
But the mother in me is cringing just a little, and hopes those kiddies get tired before my reading and leave for the night.
Thoughts, dear blog readers? If you are a regular poster on my blog, I’m counting on you to give me your two cents. If you’ve never commented before, now is the time to let me know what you think. I’d appreciate the advice!
So – do I own it, read it and be the offending reader?
Or do I childproof my work tonight?