Cussing by Christine Duncan

I read a writing quote this week attributed to Mark Twain: “Substitute damn every time you are inclined to write very, your editor will delete it and your writing will be just as it should be.”
That is just not true anymore, of course when damn is a word that seems relatively mild compared to what else is slung around. But I am reminded of something one of the nuns who taught me used to say. “Cursing is the sign of a limited vocabulary.”
I think she might have been on to something.
I curse. Don’t get me wrong. I wish I didn’t but there it is. But I think I could be a bit more inventive and I notice that when I hear other people do it.
At this point,the f word has lost its shock value. And I can’t think of much that does shock us.
I don’t want to be that jaded. I don’t really want to shock, but I do want to surprise. I want to make people laugh with my writing. I want to make them feel. I want to make them aware.
So I guess for the most part, I am going to continue to leave my writing free of cussing. I want to pare the writing down to where I leave out the extra. Unlike in Twain’s day, that would now include more than extraneous adverbs.


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