Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Profanity

Recently I had a finger pointed at me for using profanity in my work. I checked my books and found three such words in a poetry book of 92 pages and three in a prose book of 239 pages. The accuser was one who uses profanity much more casually than I – but, “irregardless,” this was a lesson to me: Whenever profanity is used on paper, it draws attention and sticks in people’s minds. People remember it – out of proportion to the rest of what you’ve written. That is why, if it is used, it should be rarely and with forethought. Unlike the issue of erotic material, I know where I stand on this one, and why my stance is right.


  1. Hey, Catherine. I've spent the last hour cyber stalking...erm...I mean reading your blog :-) Love it! I'm putting the Annie Dillard quote (spend it all!) on the wall by my desk.

  2. Agreed. Sometimes profanity is the only thing that conveys the mood. How many times have we read something false that politely censors itself and leaves the reader feeling like the writer is a coward?