الأحد، 8 يوليو 2012

Go Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap!

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When you're a kid, parents usually separate the good words from the bad -- acceptable language from language that might make your extended relatives cringe. As you grow in age and become exposed to the real world, your opinion of these words may change. You may consider the context they are communicated in or maybe they just become a homogenous part of your vocabulary used in necessary situations.
However, have you ever considered using these words in an actual paper that would be graded by a teacher? Of course not! Many students revert to that age-old phrase, "It's a bad word," and never let the thought enter their mind. But I ask, why not? They are words, aren't they? Now I'm not saying that we should drop "F" bombs every other line of a paper, but I am saying that we should use language strategically and tastefully. Some of the most influential literary pieces have a couple swears in them. Debra Dickerson used profanity in her essay, "Who Shot Johnny" and these "bad" words didn't obstruct her message in the slightest bit. There's a fine line between using language to be crude and using language to convey passion, which is something Dickerson accomplished elegantly.
As a student and writer, I think that it is important to write with purpose and conviction. There is nothing wrong with taking chances and pushing the limits in new ways as long as you can keep your head on straight -- in fact, I believe that is the true beauty of a literary piece.
Write with passion. If it takes a couple swears to prove your feelings on an issue, I say go ahead -- just make sure they are used for the correct purpose. What is the sense in producing these "cookie cutter" watered-down versions of whatever it is we are trying to say just because it reads well? Everyone is human and it's time that our writing mirrors that.
Take a note or two from Dickerson. Every piece starts with a blank white page and whatever you fill it with should allow the audience a slight window into you as a person. Why not go for it? Be bold. Be brave. Be a writer.

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