I balk at the idea of writing this post, but it's been on my mind a lot, so here goes. If you didn't see, a few weeks ago, I posted a link to a script I've spent the last half of a year or more working on. It's the first issue of a series I'm calling Heartbreak World and, seeing as I've spent a whole lot of time making it as best I can, I have a lot of myself tied up into it. (Head here if you haven't checked it out yet)
I've received a few pieces of feedback from people who read it once it was posted and even more from people I sent copies to in advance. Most of it has been fairly positive.
My parents though, they just asked me about using "that word."
A little recap if you haven't read it. In the script, I'm not writing myself. I'm not writing about myself or in my own voice (hopefully) or even about someone I know.
It's someone made up. Who thinks and acts and talks in a (hopefully) relatable way, but not like me. There are even some characters in later issues who are bad. Awful, in fact. They're even less like me (again, hopefully).
So these characters, they have a certain way of talking. Some of them use profanity. Harsh situations sometimes lead to harsh language.
This is what my parents were asking about.
Maybe it's a detached artist perspective, but characters created by me using these words is not the same as me using these words. To push the analogy to the breaking point, a man created by God swearing is not the same as God swearing.
I'm not going to defend the use of any of these words though. I wouldn't recommend saying them to anyone without some serious thought into it. That's not even what I've been thinking about for these few weeks since they questioned me about it.
What I have been thinking about, instead, is how asking why I "had to use that word" was the only comment I received from them. It's like that little trick I heard a pastor use one time where he says a curse word, in a sermon, and then tells people that the worst part is they care more about his use of that certain word than the actual issue at hand.
I don't like that it seems like they cared more about these imaginary characters in an imaginary world saying a word they didn't like than the fact that I spent not a small amount of my life making all of this up.
Now, don't think I'm telling you this to accuse my parents of doing anything wrong. I've put off writing this because I know that inevitably my mom is going to feel bad.
Mom, when you read this, I don't want you to feel bad.
Why I had to write this, I think, is because it bugged me. That tends to be what this blog is about. Things that bother me.
It bothered me that something that's taken months of my life to make didn't receive any more attention than that. That the one small four-letter part became more important than the whole. That the whole forest wasn't commented on, just one little tree.
It diminished a lot of work (and I swear I do work at this writing thing) to one obscenity.
It's possible my writing will never be for my parents, if you want to think of it that way. It might not be their style. It might not for the people who taught me in high school or the ones I see Sunday mornings at church or a thousand other people I meet in my life. It doesn't have to be for you.
But understand that I can't let it be diminished. I can't let you reduce it to anything less than what it is.
It's imperfect and young and maybe it's not even that good. Yet.
But it's what I have to show for my life so far. It is the work that I have done.
It's my life's work. All you have to do is treat it as such.