How do you feel about strong language? Personally, i don't use it, which makes me an anomaly among my colleagues. I am capable ~ my lips can form the words. You'll have to take my word for it, but i just spoke aloud one of the naughty words. The thing is, i wasn't actually using it, just saying it as an example; this is a part of the difference between use and mention. I can mention the words; in fact, be warned, i will be, a little later in this piece, some of them at least. It's just that i don't use them. Prudery? Maybe. Puritanical? Possibly. Who i am? Quite likely. Perhaps from mine upbringing.
Thinking of childhood, i remember the very moment i realised that profanities actually meant something, that they weren't merely collections of letters put together then never spoken by proper people. Judging by where it was, a particular school room, i must have been eleven or twelve; some of my classmates were talking, one said something about a person he saw, “shovelling shit” the previous day. I didn't know what this shit was ~ and i certainly wasn't going to ask! ~ but clearly it was a real substance.
More interestingly i think, i also remember where i was, though i can't narrow down the time so closely, the first time i saw one of these words in print. I spent a good portion of my high school career, nearly three years to be exact, skipping classes and reading in the school library ~ when i bothered to go to school at all. During that time i read a huge amount, a lot of it science fiction; in an SF book i came across a reference to two people having sex, making love as i thought it was always called. The author so shocked me when he said that they were fucking that i had to shut the book for a moment to recover. I honestly don't think, looking back from several decades on, that i thought adults, mature people (which surely writers were), used such language.
This use of profanity in writing is what i find most interesting at this point. As i say, i don't use it in my life; curiously, that extends almost completely to my writing, as well. I have used so far in this piece a couple of words, and it might seem to you ~ in fact, i hope it does ~ that they fit in the flow quite easily and naturally. To me, writing, it felt quite awkward: I found myself slowing down as i typed, not quite willing to commit myself to the word, although i knew, had known from before i started writing, that it was coming and i was going to use words that make me uncomfortable.
There is, in fact, a little sex in a roundabout way, in my current work in progress. The strongest, most explicit language i have used yet is, “I was instantly aware of something under the fabric of her shirt. Two somethings, in fact.” I actually embarrassed myself a little as i wrote that some time ago, felt that i was saying something a little bit naughty that perhaps might not be approved of; it seems likely that there will be no stronger language.
I might have matured a bit since i was first shocked at school; nowadays i can skip over profanity and blasphemy as i read with almost no hesitation at all. One book i read recently, though not erotic, was filled with such language, so much that i mentioned it in the review i wrote. I was still able to read it without embarrassment, with enjoyment.
Shock is not too far away, however. I recently read a short work which contained shit, bitch, fuck, and cock. It was, oddly, the last of those which surprised me most; perhaps because the author is a friend, a chaste woman who oughtn't know that language. Mind you, she's probably chased too, since she, like her two daughters, is a blonde bombshell; perhaps that's where she's learned the language.
All of which goes to show me that i still carry the imprints of my childhood, although i have learned what all of those words mean now and can run across them and continue with barely a blip. Maybe one day i'll be comfortable enough with them to actually use them myself.