Lingua Franca

A while back I got an anonymous note that gave me a compliment that delights me every time I look at it.

I am stingy so I don’t want to share the whole thing but basically this person likes that I am both proper and hood. If you don’t understand the context uh- you may want to skip this entry.

Sometimes when I look at various places I say things on the internet I just have to kind of giggle at myself. As a few people I’ve met from the Intertubes have gleefully pointed out to me, I speak the same in both Meatspace and on the Intertubes.

I am as likely to speak at great passionate length about social justice issues and use words like intersectionality and framework as I am to just say bitch please.

Looking over some of my older non fiction writing that I have yet to decide what to do with, I can see how often I tried really hard to hide this about my personal lexicon.  Even now there are times I read my stories or I’m editing something and I feel like I should fancy it up.

Sometimes I look at my work and think, oh shit. OH SHIT I said fuck and cunt too much. What am I doing? What the fuck am I thinking?  Who the fuck do I think I am talking to?

This tends to start one of those Writer Angst Spirals wherein I castigate myself for writing so much porn, for being so Cunt Lit centric, for writing things that are so fucking weird they aren’t even Bizarro flash stories, for my poems about things like me fantasizing about what a dude’s ass would look like with my cock in it (yeah that happened), why am I trying to write this junkie thing (a novella that lives on my hard drive at home, don’t ask) etc etc.

And don’t get me started about what happens when I think of the non fiction I’ve been trying to write. Sex, drugs, tits, lesbians, fucking gay men. You know, regular All American stuff.

I had that moment the other day. I was working on this essay (that I lost my edits to- do not get me started) and I stopped to look it over and I wanted to set it on fire. I wanted to hit myself in the mouth because the piece is raw, it’s not nice. It’s not the sort of thing I see published in a lot of places.

I have a problem with that. My non fiction tends to be M for mature because that’s how I am. I try not to be, blablabla.

And then I chase my tail trying to figure out what my fucking problem is.

Problem- I can’t write in a way that I am just not.

I know, I know in my bones that no I cannot write well when I am trying too hard to be something that isn’t just me.

I need to stop doing that.

I need to treasure my language and remember, remind myself that my language is usually what makes my stories good.

A reminder writers, only you can write your stories. Fuck what anyone else says.

Including my evil Roach Brain who only wants to subsist.

Fuck that.

Nothing new to report. I have some major rewrites that need doing today but I needed to get this out first.

About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie. View all posts by Shannon Barber

2 responses to “Lingua Franca

  • Grinelda Markowitz

    I saw this pass through my email the other day and wanted to pop in and read it. I’m not familiar with the ‘phrase proper and hood.’ I was reading a book on writing a number of months ago and the author said as much. Make sure the writing is you and don’t try to force what you aren’t. He also said to not dick with it after the first rewrite or so.

    • Shannon Barber

      The proper and hood thing is mostly a very adorable way that person has of complimenting how I speak.

      That is the best advice. I swear my inner critic is a prissy shit sometimes. You know how it is, some days are just bullshit.

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