By Liz Everly
A note from Liz: I’m just back from a conference and am road-weary–so I thought I’d share one of my fav posts from last year. Enjoy!
F–k used to be my favorite word. (Yes, the f-bomb, can’t really write the word here, without setting off the blog censor alerts.) It is with some regret that I acknowledge that it is no longer my word of choice. I sometimes wonder why it doesn’t speak to me the way it used to—is it because I am a mother and need to watch my language around my children? Is it because I am turning into an aging prude? I have given it much thought and am pleased to report it is neither one of those seemingly obvious possibilities.
Here is the thing I used to say about f–k. It is so versatile. You can use it so many different ways. So many different meanings. It’s wonderful for that. When you are a word person, the different ways in which you can use certain words can keep you entertained for hours. “F–k you!” “What the f–k?” “F–k, I forgot my purse.”
“What a f–king bitch. “
My favorite is “Just shut up and f–k me.”
It used to be there was a bit of a shock value in it, as well. Imagine me as a sweet-faced 18-year-old saying, “Who the f–k do you think you are?” (This would have been, what, 1981 and it was still a bit unused, especially in mixed company. I said it to a group of steel-mill workers kicking back drinking beer and putting their feet on my aunt’s new table. One guy almost choked on his beer.) Now, think of me as a mature woman saying it to the same group of men. They’d probably just shrug me off or turn around and say, “F–ck off, lady.”
Now it seems to me that the word is overused. Gratuitously used. Let’s face it, there really is no shock value in it anymore. And I think that it’s become a bit of a lazy way of writing and talking. I recently read a book by a very good friend, a hard-working writer that is much more successful than I am. It was a nonfiction book and a good story. But the word f–k stopped me dead in my tracks. It seemed out of place—I have never known this Southern gentleman to use it in my company and I wondered why it was in his book.
I still love the word, don’t get me wrong; it is just no longer my favorite word. I love the way it feels in my mouth, the way your teeth have to slightly bite into your lip to get the fffff sound and the way in which it kind of moves back to your throat for that harsh KKKKK. Ffffffuuuuucccckkkkkk. Nothing quite feels like it.
So, I am not railing against the word, and would fight for anybody’s right to use whatever word they want. I am just saying that it’s not always the word to use. A little restraint is called for sometimes. In good writing, it’s what you leave out that can be the most compelling part of the story and I think that applies for word use, as well. So, when you use it, you feel it, it packs an emotional punch. You know what’s happening. The readers feel that. I think that if we overuse it, readers get kind of immune to it. Maybe I am wrong. God knows, I’ve been wrong before.
These thoughts might seem odd coming from writer of erotic romance , where the f–k is the key and no matter how well-crafted the story, it’s a major reason why we are there, both reader and writer. Will she get laid? And how will it be? Will he get to f–k her and will it be as good as he think it will be? But over the past few months, both as a reader and writer of erotic romance, I get to see the word and use it a lot, myself. There are times, my friend, when only f—ck will do. Yet, a stretching oneself to find a new vocabulary is something we should all aspire to, maybe most especially those of us interested in quality erotic romance.
Any effing thoughts? heh.