Boundbytheword Blog

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F Bombs + Children = ??? August 20, 2010

Filed under: What's Up? — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 11:30 AM

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?


16 Responses to “F Bombs + Children = ???”

  1. Deepam Says:

    My impression of that gang of writers was that the atmosphere was “soft”, kind of sentimental, “nice” above all… Drew Hadyn-Taylor added a little spice, but other than that, the whole festival was very polite. It will be interesting to hear how you take it all in, and even more interesting to hear what you decide in regards to the big F… and how it all goes over. Good luck and congratulations!

    • We need to do tea and chat! The event was “nice”, but the f-bomb didn’t shake up the crowd too much. As usual, I built it up in my mind more than was warrented. What can I say? My head is always too busy…lol.

  2. Harry Says:

    You own it,,Read it like you own it ! Thats what I say :o) Good Luck Noelle! You will do fantastic I’m sure…

  3. Rhonda Says:

    What about starting with a disclaimer? Then it is up to the parents to find a distraction for their children and your work can be represented the way it should be.

  4. Candy Says:

    read it the way it should be read. should not change how you wrote it just to make other people happy.

  5. Heather Says:

    fuck it… read away

  6. Suzie Q Says:

    Own it! These kids have heard it before, they understand this is a story as well.

  7. Susanne Says:

    Own it girl!

  8. Dale Long Says:

    I’m all for a disclaimer. Hopefully though, the event co-ordinators realize that writing is sometimes soft and sometimes hard and edgy and will have made that disclaimer anyways. The same goes for the participants and audience.
    Hell, it’s not a Robert Munch reading or an Elmo fest. Buyer beware, writers aren’t sell outs… mostly. Bomb-bay doors are open and you’re over the target, BOMBS AWAY!!

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