I’ll be on the radio for the first time in my life tonight. My Corporate Masters are sending along someone to actually speak for me, as my own voice has been deemed “irritating” and “fey” and “mumbling”. They’ve applied some construction-grade duct tape to my mouth and I will pass notes to the Voice Actor, who will read my comments in a stentorian boom.

Well, I should be insulted, but to be honest I’d love to have a Voice Actor follow me around and boom out my thoughts to the world. I’m much better at communication when I’m writing as opposed to speaking. When I speak I forget words and get lost chasing the tail of my admittedly shallow thoughts, and sometimes my pants just fall down with a whoop noise.

Plus, there’s the cussing.

I don’t actually curse all that much in my daily life, although you probably wouldn’t guess that from my fiction. As several reviews of The Electric Church have mentioned the sheer level of foul language in that book, I suppose it’s something to consider—is there such a thing as too many F-bombs? I wouldn’t think so. Foul language, like everything else, is meant to be used.

In real life, however, I sometimes let loose a string of invective at the wrong times. It sort of comes naturally. I don’t curse a blue streak in general conversation, but if my brain decides a phrase or comment needs a little oomph, it does not hesitate to drop a green and shining curse into the stream of words. Sometimes I realize what I’ve just done and sort of freeze up for a second, shocked at what my own subconscious has done. Then I shrug and move on. To hell with it, I figure, I’ll blame it on the booze.

Will they have a delay button on the radio tonight? Lord I hope so. Maybe I should go into the bathroom and just unleash a string of horrible language, get it out of my system.

In my writing, I make no apologies—certainly you get a sense of the language in the book pretty quickly, so I think a quick scan in the bookstore will turn certain people’s hair white and they will put the book back on the shelves with trembling hands, and that will be that. If you skim the book and buy it and then get upset at me for finding 23 new ways to use the word fuck as an adverb—look at me, I’m the Shakespeare of invective, inventing new cursewords!—well, too damn bad. No refunds.


  1. Telengard

    If cussing makes sense to the story, then by all means leave it in. If the main character was living in that lifestyle and didn’t cuss, then he would have been 2-dimensional and unrealistic. Don’t let anyone influence your writting because they don’t want to face the truth of living in the real world.

  2. blingdawg

    THERE was a lot of swearing in The Electric Church, i think it beats Scarface in how many times the word Fuck is brought up. i didn’t really mind though cause it gets the point across, what with the constant death and madness. good times!

  3. jsomers (Post author)


    Man, I used to play Telengard like a maniac on my Commodore 64. Fromt a tape drive, no less. Used to take 45 minutes just to start the damn game.

    Telengard & Blingdawg: Thanks for the votes of confidence–don’t worry, I writes ’em as I seess ’em. Cussin’ has its place, as does more restrained language.


  4. Telengard

    Yup, that is where I got the name from. Used to love playing it! Doh, I just dated myself!

  5. jsomers (Post author)


    We nerds have to huddle together for warmth. There’s a Windows version of Telengard out there, believe it or not, which is EXACTLY like the C64 version. It was eerie playing it at work a few months ago. I felt like I was 10 again.


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