Usually when I get an idea for a blog, the words just flow. If it's a struggle, I dump it and forget it. That's what I intended to do with this blog about profanity. The trouble is the idea kept nagging at me but I couldn't tie it down to anything manageable. Whenever I thought about ugly words and dirty words my mind ran off in a hundred different directions. Most of those ended up with the word sin and I did not want to go there. Because well, I don't know. Truthfully, I've given up trying to figure out what is and is not sinful. Heck, I don't even know if sin city is sinful. I do know the Bible says, "he that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is a sin." That's good enough for me and I'll stick with that scripture.
But what about hurting others? Everything from violence to just making fun of someone and hurting their feelings. Surely that is a sin. In my mind it is something worse. It is evil.
So what about profanity? Where does it fit? What we think of as ugly and dirty words can and do hurt people's feelings and embarrass them. But profane words are powerful. They invoke an emotional response. And that is what we writers need - that is what we crave. Otherwise, neither we nor our reader is emotionally invested. We might as well be writing a tech manual using dry and tasteless words. There are some other tools at our disposal like description and imagery. And when we can lift those pristine images from our muddy brains, it is a happy day. But that creative process is far too rare to employ every time we write. And sometimes even that is not adequate because there is another aspect to profanity. Not only does it invoke an emotional response, it sets a mood and can be many things - frustration, rebellion, defiance, contempt - powerful feelings all and often
enough a combination of these.
Writers are left with a choice and I think this quote from "The Razor's Edge" applies. "The path of a righteous man is hard and more difficult to walk than a razor's edge." And that is what we want to be - righteous - but not in a religious sense. Rather, in the way Google defines the word - morally right or justifiable. So we have to flirt with danger. We have to walk the razor's edge and hope we're right, justifiable at least, and maybe on some rare occasions even righteous.