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 @.
Now 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.