J.D. Salinger goes up to the counter and orders an iced skinny flavored latte. He pays for it, but when the barista tries to give it to him, he instead attempts to engage her in conversation, claiming that he didn’t really want the coffee in the first place. Also, everyone is a phony.
Eliot goes up to the counter and orders a venti coffee black. He looks around the counter-top but can’t find any teaspoons. He leaves before his coffee is ready.
Emily Dickinson goes up to the counter and stands there in complete silence before quietly ordering a cup of tea. When the barista asks for her name, she says, “I’m nobody. Who are you?” Amherst claims this took place in their onsite Starbucks.
Shakespeare goes up to the counter and orders a large cappucino with cinnamon. “Sir, we don’t have larges here. We have ventis,” says the barista. Shakespeare stares at him. “What’s in a name?” he asks.
Kafka goes up to the counter and tries to order a coffee black. Everyone runs screaming from the room.
Homer goes up to the counter and asks if they have any wine dark teas. The barista goes in back to check. He doesn’t return for 20 years.
John Green goes up to the counter and orders an espresso shot. The barista gives him a venti cafe espresso frappucino. Green says, “This isn’t what I ordered.” The barista replies, “You ordered a drizzle, I’m giving you a hurricane.”
"I’m the sixth in our family to go to Hogwarts. You could say I got a lot to live up to. Bill and Charlie have already left – Bill was head boy and Charlie was captain of Quidditch. Now Percy’s a prefect. Fred and George mess around a lot, but they still get really good marks and everyone thinks they’re really funny. Everyone expects me to do as well as the others, but if I do, it’s no big deal, because they did it first."
puzzle pieces // saint motel
At Least I Have Nothing - Saint Motel
and I probably messed up / made a mistake / at least it was mine / at least I can say / at least I have nothing / nothing to tie me down / not even someone / I’ve got no more family in this town.
Q:Maggie, you are an inspirational writer, so I think your advice would be very valuable. What is your stance on swearing in books? As in, when is it effective, and when is it overdone or unnecessary? Any advice for writing with characters that might swear? Thanks in advance!
I must admit that as someone with more than a passing interest in how cultural constructs are treated as facts, I’m fascinated by swearing. Here is what swearing is: the arbitrary assignation of excessive power to one word over another. Some folks will say that swear words have more power or are more profane because of word meaning, but that’s not true. If it were, “screw” and “mate” and “rape” would be bleeped out like “fuck.” Other times, people maintain that a curse word’s offensiveness comes in because of intent. That when someone uses “fuck” they mean it to be worse than “intercourse.” I don’t think that’s true, either, because some of the nastiest words I’ve ever heard are “thank you,” said in a way meant to mean “I wish you were dead.” When you think about it, it’s a bizarre concept: that we make some words special by making them forbidden. That we somehow think that a single word without any context whatsoever can be offensive. Anyway, swear words don’t bother me. You’ll never curdle my milk using one on me.
Now, that said, as a writer, I’m very aware that they work on many other people. If I’m using them in a novel, it’s because I’m trying to tell you something. I’m trying to make you feel something about a character that I don’t think I could pull off as effectively in a different way. Remember how my goal is always to move a reader’s mental furniture around without them knowing I have? Sometimes swearing will make you feel a certain way about a character faster than any other method.
And sometimes it is just more hilarious.
Occasionally a reader will tell me that I don’t need to use swearing. They will follow this up with this well-worn phrase “you have a good enough vocabulary that you don’t need to use THOSE words.” Yes, I do. I do indeed. Since I don’t need to use them, that means I’m choosing to use them. If you trust me to be using non-swear words in a skillful way, please assume that I’m wielding my fucks and damns with the same contemplation.
As should all of you other writers out there. They’re just words. Handle them with care.