That Sneaky F-Bomb

posted in: Acceptance, Just Because | 48

Well f*@k.

Just last week, my writing had its first real mass exposure by way of piece about the First Time Mom Freak Out featured on the immensely popular site, Scary Mommy. I won’t be all, well shucks, it sure was a nice little honor. It was EXHILERATING! The fact that more people had shared it on Facebook by 6 a.m. than visit my blog in an entire month was enough to make me feel like Ellen Degeneres must have when her Oscar selfie became the most retweeted tweet ever. 

Yet as fantastic as it was, I winced twice when I finally saw my work in all its viral glory. First, my last name was spelled incorrectly. Sigh. It wasn’t a big surprise. It happens often, not only with strangers, but at my children’s school and even with friends I have known for years. Still, there is a little deflation that comes with seeing it misspelled at those times when it kind of matters to you. But I quickly got over that. I mean, it’s Scary Mommy.

What really made me cringe was a tiny little four letter word: the f-bomb. It’s a word I won’t type. Instead, I use those fun little symbols that suggest to everyone what it is without having to commit it to the interwebs in its full form.

But there it sat. Firmly in the middle of my piece on Scary Mommy. It wasn’t there in the draft I had submitted to them. Only the suggestion of it. Because that’s how I do things. But somewhere between my submission of the draft and the publication of it on their site, those little letters “u” and “c” replaced the * and the @.

f-bombNow let’s get something straight about the f-bomb: I have nothing against it. I have certainly used it in my real life among friends, in situations where it seems appropriate and comfortable. And I usually don’t take much offense when others use it. But when it comes to my own voice in my writing, in the words I put out there for anyone to see, I just don’t like to commit those four letters to paper…or blog…or comment section. Especially since I am on the very brink of launching my career as a children’s author. (Like, the very, very brink. Like, weeks away, ya’ll. Weeks. So STAY TUNED!!!!!!! There will be an update and a preview next week!)

I guess some would argue that there isn’t much difference between suggesting the f-bomb and actually using it. And those people would probably be mostly correct. But as a writer, I have the creative license to choose my words to my liking, to set a certain tone, to present myself in a specific way. And I’m just not the kind of writer who uses f-bombs. It feels too harsh, considering how painstakingly I craft the rest of my words to sound infinitely better than any sentence that would naturally flow from my lips. However, I guess when a writer submits a piece of work to another site or publication, they have the creative license to edit it in any f*@king way they want.

Is that the big takeaway here? Now I know why the Real Housewives are always blaming everything on editing. Maybe they really are all perfect peaches in real life and Andy Cohen is the bastard. (See? I have no qualms with bastard. I’m such a hypocrite.)

All in all, I am still immensely grateful to the editors at Scary Mommy for featuring my piece. A little f*@k won’t change that. And the good news is no one else who read my article seemed to mind that f-bomb hanging out there in the middle of the post. But maybe that was because I also used the word vaginas, which sadly always seems to trump everything else for being the most uncomfortable word.

Poor vaginas.

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48 Responses

  1. Oh Wow! Congrats on the book! I’d love to write a Childrens book ( and actually have it published!) You have inspired me! 🙂 xx

  2. Congrats first of all! And second of all, your post was very thought-provoking!!!

  3. Love this post and loved your piece on Scary Mommy 🙂

  4. Oh and congrats to both: Your piece and the children’s book… 🙂

  5. I swear, we’re like spirit twins! (Is that a thing?) You just voiced exactly how I feel! I’ve only used the full-on F Bomb once (in writing) and it was an emotional piece that didn’t lend itself to a cute euphemism. But it’s just not me to use that word freely. In real life, by myself, around friends and even a few times in front of my kids (like when I backed into my husband’s car). But I don’t just go around spouting it in front of others. So I can’t do it in my writing either. I can say asshole and bastard and shit no problem. But the really bad words? Just can’t do it. And I would be thrilled to be on Scary Mommy but I wouldn’t love that they changed that. It’s MY voice, don’t go messin’ with it!

    And I’m sooooo excited that you’re getting close to putting the book out! In time for Christmas maybe?

    And this “considering how painstakingly I craft the rest of my words to sound infinitely better than any sentence that would naturally flow from my lips. “Abso-effin’-lutely 🙂

    • TWINSIES!!! That’s probably why I love your writing so much.

      And YES! In time for Christmas! Hopefully even in time for Thanksgiving (because doesn’t the Great Turkey bring your kids gifts?) Unless something goes horribly wrong in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed. I spent most of yesterday reading webpage after webpage about tax id numbers and sales tax applications. It’s all very glamorous.

  6. An F-bomb dropping children’s author. You may have discovered a new niche there. You are a pioneer in your chosen genre.

  7. Awesome!

  8. Great post! And the Scary Mommy piece was terrific. I wouldn’t worry about the f-bomb too much, even spelled-out, since you use it as an exclamation, rather than a general theme in your writing. Sometimes, there is simply no other word that will quite do. 😉

  9. You know, for all the words I have used on my blog (or past blogs), I don’t think I’ve every typed the word vagina on them. Typing it just now made my fingers feel weird. I need to write a post about vaginas now so that I can get this out of my system.

  10. Congrats, anyhow!! Most people I know really don’t like the words ‘moist’ or ‘panties’. Haha. I swear like a motherf*cker when it’s appropriate. I love to swear. But I get a bit shy and use my asterisks. One twitter follower once commented that she loves that in the day time I use asterisks but at night time I don’t. I didn’t even notice that I did that. It’s kind of like swearing in a modest way or something – I get where you’re coming from! It does make a difference.

    • Oh god yes…moist. It doesn’t bother me, but that one sure does get a lot of people’s panties in a bunch (see what I did there? 🙂 ) And I love that you have a cussing Twitter alter ego. Makes me think I should actually start reading my twitter feed more often just so I can see it 🙂

  11. Kelly, the second time I got freshly pressed, I was mortified that the feature image they used on the FP page was a little image of a text exchange with my sister that said, “You. Me. Weed. Anytime.” I was like WHYYYYY would you feature that and drive some people away?! I had LOTS of thoughts about it, but I’d put it in the post, so it was my fault. But I know what you mean about this … so get you and feel you. And freakin’ yay x10 over the children’s book being so close! I can’t even!!

    • HA!!!! And now I’m just thinking of that old Saturday Night Live skit where Rob Schneider used to say, “And you can put your weed in it.” And let’s talk truth…if someone was driven away by that image, it was their tremendous loss that they didn’t have the privilege to read your hilarity.

      • Not one week goes by, if I have my way, where I don’t say, “You put your WEED in there” in my best Rob Schneider voice! And I’ve never even smoked weed! But, if you’re diligent and innovative, you’d be surprised how often you can use that line.

        Aww, thank you for saying that though!

  12. I would’ve felt the same way. I don’t mind it but I just don’t use the word in anything I’m publicly posting. True the little %#s etc seem kind of half ass, or did I mean half a$$ (ha), but it just doesn’t feel like my voice. Still not so big a deal, what’s bigger is all the good things coming your way–congrats.

  13. Women who stick up for “vagina” earn my deepest respect: http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/victory-vagina

  14. I have to admit that when I read the post and saw the f-bomb in all its glory, I had a feeling that was Scary Mommy’s call and not yours. You keep things classy ;D Did they ever fix the spelling of your name?

    • You know me so well 🙂 And I never asked them to change it. I probably should have, but I was just so excited to be there, I didn’t want to seem ungrateful or petty. It’s one of my downfalls…I’m not terribly assertive on things like that. And I guess because it happens so often, I am used to just getting annoyed and letting it go. And by now, that article is old news on their site anyway 🙂 IF they ever run another piece of mine, I may make a note that they double check the spelling of my last name before hitting publish. And I will be sure not to suggest any cuss words 🙂

  15. Oh no! That must have been frustrating finding that nugget. But then again, it must have felt beyond amazing to see your viral post! Congrats and wishing you future success!

  16. That said, not many people can say they got fucked by Scary Mommy 😉

    (I realise I’m new to you and probably shouldn’t have just dropped that when you’ve said you don’t like it. But it fit. Feel free to blame Gretchen for the introduction – I wanted to check you out after she raved about you 😉 )

    • Ha! I don’t mind reading the word…I just don’t personally use it in my writing. And you are totally right about that 🙂 Happy you stopped by! I’d gladly have you and your potty mouth again.

  17. Your post is your baby.. and they changed it! I suppose when we, meaning you, go out into the big world with posts, the editors can do as they like. But had it been my post I would have winced as well. Congratulations! You rock!

    • And that’s why I like you…because you would have winced as well…not because you think I rock. Although I like that, too. 🙂 The feeling is mutual.

  18. I’m the same way about using the f-bomb in writing. It seems so permanent. And louder and more obnoxious than when I say it with my friends. Cracking up about “vaginas” – “penis” is another one. I think I will make both of them my “words for the day” and see how often I can casually slip them into conversation… 😉

  19. […] your first “first-time-mom freak out”? Oh, I do… and plenty others… Read all about Kelly’s first time here…Respectively here on Scary […]

  20. I would have been bothered too. Good luck with your book! 🙂

  21. Huge congrats Kelly on getting your effing piece published on Scary Mommy!! I’ve submitted 2 times and been rejected both times, alas. So, I just did a happy dance in your honor! Kick a$$ awesome! Things are getting awfully sparkly for you! I’m just gonna sit back and catch some of your glitter. 😉 xo

    • Thank you so much! Things do feel kind of sparkly lately…and there is plenty of glitter to go around. I was turned down twice by them as well. Guess the third time was the charm! Keep submitting!

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