First Words #Tuesday Tidbit, #Essay, #Poetry


Image contains: Abbie, smiling.
One of my earliest childhood memories was my dad yelling, “Son of a bitch!” I must have been about three, and at the time, I thought he said, “sun of a bench.” I knew about the sun, that bright orb that shone in the sky, and I knew what a bench was, but what was a sun of a bench? I don’t know why I didn’t ask, and that probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.

Of course, as I grew older, I learned the meaning of that awful term. I didn’t find out what a bitch was, though, until I was in college and reading a work of horror fiction about a pack of dogs threatening a town. Until then, I thought a bitch was just a woman someone didn’t like.

I must admit that now, when I’m alone, I’ll occasionally say nasty words when no one is around to hear them. But over the years, I’ve learned to curve my profane utterances for fear of offending someone. I’ve also realized that unless a character in a work of fiction is prone to uttering profanities, such language isn’t necessary in writing. In fact, I find common usage of strong language in books distracting. I believe there are better ways to express anger and frustration than the colorful words I learned from my daddy at the age of three.

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The above was inspired by a prompt from Ann Lauterbach in The Practice of Poetry, edited by Chase Twichell and Robin Behn, copyright 1992. Now, here’s a poem I wrote years ago about the first word my mother remembered me uttering when I was three. It was published in How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver and has since been revised. You can click the Play button below to hear me read it.

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ON BEING THREE

 

I barely remember that year.
Mother said my first word was “ashtray.”
My earliest memory is of Dad cursing a blue streak.
Could I have sent his ashtray crashing to the floor,
leaving him with a burning cigarette?
“Son of a…!”

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What about you? How has the language you heard when you were growing up influenced you?

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Song Lyric Sunday: Smokin in the Boys Room

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.According to newepicauthor, this week’s theme is “school/books/learning.” In case you’re wondering, I never smoked in the boys’ room. For one thing, I wasn’t a boy, and for another, after learning in elementary school that smoking is bad for you, I decided not to do it. When I was a kid, though, I liked to listen to this song because it allowed me to be bad vicariously and not risk getting into trouble.

How about you? Did you ever smoke in the boys’ room or the girls’ room? Were you ever caught? I hope this song brings back memories for you as it does for me.

Smokin in the Boys’ Room–Brownsville Station

How you doin’ out there? Ya ever seem to have one of those days
Where it just seems like everybody’s gettin’ on your case?
From your teacher all the way down to your best girlfriend?
Well, ya know, I used to have ’em just about all the time
But I found a way to get out of ’em
Let me tell you about it!
Sitting in the classroom, thinking it’s a drag
Listening to the teacher rap, just ain’t my bag
The noon bells rings, you know that’s my cue
I’m gonna meet the boys on floor number two!
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school
Checkin’ out the halls, makin’ sure the coast is clear
Lookin’ in the stalls, “No, there ain’t nobody here!”
Oh, my buddy Fang, and me and Paul
To get caught would surely be the death of us all
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in schoolAll right!
Oh, put me to work, in the school book store
Check out counter and I got bored
Teacher was lookin’ for me all around
Two hours later, you know where I was foundSmokin’ in the boys’ room (Yes indeed, I was)
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in schoolOne mo’!
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Oh, smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, I am fully aware of the rules
And everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school!
Songwriters: Cub Koda / Michael Lutz
Smokin’ In the Boy’s Room lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

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My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Saturday Song: Goody Two-Shoes by Adam Ant

I hated this song in college because I thought it was about me. Yes, I didn’t smoke, and I didn’t drink, and I studied hard and earned a B average while others partied. I’m still the same today, but now, I’m proud to be a goody-two-shoes and wish there were more of them in the world. Enjoy this song, whether it’s about you or not, and have a great Saturday.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

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