Author Topic: I Swear, wip, 8th edit, #106, 1372 words, mild swearing plus one F word  (Read 26396 times)

Offline bri h

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This is a two-part story, this is the first part, I'm busy on the second as of now. I'd like your opinion of this so far. I've used all the good advice given by everyone here of show, not tell, and I think its good(but then, I am biased)

I swear (part 1)


I was eight years old when I was taught a valuable lesson by my Mother.  She taught me not to swear, because it "wasn't nice". The only lesson I learned that day was how to "swear, and not get caught!"

South Shields in 1967, I'm leaning against our wooden gate, in the back lane, swearing my head off to the bloke next door, who had already complained a couple of times to mam about my bucket-gob.  I'm repeating all the words I'd heard recently, thinking I was so big and clever, whilst the other kids were looking on with their mouths open in a big 'oh', waiting expectantly to see what happened next.
  
I should have got a clue when the 'ohs' turned into 'ahs' and their eyes lit up in gleeful anticipation. I felt a vice-like grip on my collar and I was yanked off my feet, and went sailing back through the gate at an alarming rate!  Mam had sent me out, knowing I'd swear again, because I'd repeatedly promised her that I'd NEVER EVER sworn at anyone! She knew, in that intuitive way that all mothers do, that I was lying through my back teeth, so she'd set me up by standing hidden on the other side of the gate!
  
I was now being dragged backwards across the yard, past the coal-house and to the back steps, blubbering and pleading with her that I'd "be good and I'd live a chaste, decent law-abiding life, from then on!"   But soon my heels were thumping on the rickety stairs, all I could see were the cobwebs in the roof amid the dirt and stains, and the fast retreating light from the back door down below. She hauled me like a sack of spuds up the stairs.  We then got to the top and into the scullery, which to me had turned into my own personal torture chamber.  

She'd warned me time and time again that if she ever caught me swearing, she'd wash my mouth out with Carbolic Soap.
If everyday soap could be categorized as "nice, sweet, soft and gentle, perfumed and refreshing"  Then Carbolic was the total opposite.  It was blocky, rough, smelled of disinfectant, lather-less, industrial cleaner, and generally horrible. Carbolic was the skinhead of soaps, and I was about to have a meal of it!

Have you ever been in a proper Butcher's and he slaps a side of beef on the chopping block with a thump with one hand, whilst raising a meat-cleaver up in the air with the other ready to swish down, sinking the blade into the waiting flesh?  Well now you get the picture of what mam did to me on that day.

I'm now on the draining board, struggling and wriggling, Mam's got a strong, polished-finger-nailed hand holding me by the throat. I can see the upside-down view of the greasy plates in the sink. There's pans and plates being scattered, clattering everywhere by my wildly kicking legs.  She turns the brass tap on, there's a clunking noise as the air is released and I can hear the water approaching up the pipe.  A single drop of water gathers on the end of the tap, and I think I'm saved, [sometimes the water just didn't flow, and I remember thinking to myself that this was one of those days]. But alas, not this day!

The treacherous water gushed out of the tap soaking my head and neck.  I was now spluttering and spitting as I still begged mam to let me go.  But once mam made up her mind to do something, she did it! "Oh Gawd did she do it!"
The ironic thing is, whilst all this was going on, mam was shouting at me, "I'll teach you to f***ing swear you little bas***d! You won't f***ing swear again! Will you? you f***ing little shite!". . . .Back to the torture.

I jammed my mouth closed with a snap.
"Open your mouth, and this'll go easier on you!" shouted mam. At this point, a team of wild horses wouldn't get me to open my mouth.
"Open your mouth" she repeats.  It's a staring match now, my mouth is still wedged shut, but I'm trying to dodge the water still gushing out of the tap and God, it's cold!
  
Then she leans down, gets right in my face, practically nose to nose and repeats in a really strange quiet-like, whisper, "Brian, open your mouth", and she's smiling.  I'm shittin myself now!  Anyone who's experienced a stern-loving mother like this will know exactly what I'm talking about. This kind of command has to be obeyed, or woe betide you!
I stammer a quick "Please mam", and in that instant of begging, she jams the carbolic soap into me gob!  Oh she could be so quick!  She's now rubbing and drubbing like its wash day on a monday, she's singing some obscure little song. Meanwhile I'm begging and sobbing and getting myself worked up into a lather(no pun intended) really feeling sorry for myself.  The bar is wedged into my teeth, she's really putting some 'elbow grease' into it!  She was so thorough and resolute!

Finally, its over.  She stands me on my feet, of course being the devious little git that I am, I wobble a bit, look as if I'm goint to faint, and mam wraps me in her arms, acting all contrite, [guilt can be a good commodity when youre eight and know how to wield it!]  As she wraps me in her arms cooing to me and telling herself what a horrible person she is for inflicting this on her poor child, I made a cardinal error, and smiled, thinking to myself of how I could turn this to my advantage?

She saw this and instantly she was back to Jeckyll-mam, my arse was back on the draining board in a flash!  She had the carbolic soap in her hand raised up ready to "wash" me again!  I just looked on with what I can only describe now as futile-acceptance of something I had no control over.  She saw this, and slowly dropped the bar onto the floor, looked at me with a little discomfort on her lovely face and told me to get off the drainer.

This wasn't so easy with my little legs and no stool to climb down.  But I eventually struggled off and stood before her.  "Now", she said. "Will you ever swear again?"  I hung my head down and swore on the bible that I wouldn't.  She's standing in front of me with her hands on her hips and tapping her foot, I knew I could still be in trouble, at this sign.  She sighed and said under her breath, shaking her head slowly from side to side, "Eee, our brian, what am I going to do with you?"  I just hoped it wasn't anymore of what had just happened.  She then sent me to my room, without supper.
I'd like to say at the end here that I learned my lesson that day. But I'd be lying, cos I still swore, I just never put myself in the position of letting mam hear me!  
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 07:05:42 PM by brianh »
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Clarius

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 11:17:00 AM »
I was eight years old when I was taught a valuable lesson by my Mother.  She taught me not to swear, because it "wasn't nice". The only lesson I learned that day was how to "swear, and not get caught!" NICE START

South Shields in 1967, I'm leaning against our wooden gate, in the back lane, swearing my head off to the bloke next door, who had already complained a couple of times to mam about my bucket-gob.  I'm repeating all the words I'd heard recently, thinking I was so big and clever, whilst the other kids were looking on with their mouths open in a big 'oh', waiting expectantly to see what happened next.
 
I should have got a clue when the 'ohs' turned into 'ahs' and their eyes lit up in gleeful anticipation. I felt a vice-like grip on my collar and I was yanked off my feet, and went sailing back through the gate at an alarming rate!  Mam had sent me out, knowing I'd swear again, because I'd repeatedly promised her that I'd NEVER EVER sworn at anyone! She knew, in that intuitive way that all mothers do, that I was lying through my back teeth, so she'd set me up by standing hidden on the other side of the gate!
 
I was now being dragged backwards across the yard, past the coal-house and to the back steps, blubbering and pleading with her that I'd "be good and I'd live a chaste, decent law-abiding life, from then on!"    But soon my heels were thumping on the rickety stairs, all I could see were the cobwebs in the roof amid the dirt and stains, and the fast retreating light from the back door down below. She hauled me like a sack of spuds up the stairs.  We then got to the top and into the scullery, which to me had turned into my own personal torture chamber. 

She'd warned me time and time again that if she ever caught me swearing, she'd wash my mouth out with Carbolic Soap.
If everyday soap could be categorized as "nice, sweet, soft and gentle, perfumed and refreshing"  Then Carbolic was the total opposite.  It was blocky, rough, smelled of disinfectant, lather-less, industrial cleaner, and generally horrible. Carbolic was the skinhead of soaps, NICE and I was about to have a meal of it! MIXED METAPHOR! DON'T EAT SKINHEADS, HOW ABOUT 'about to go a couple of rounds with it'

Have you ever been in a proper Butcher's and he slaps a side of beef on the chopping block with a thump with one hand, whilst raising a meat-cleaver up in the air with the other ready to swish down, sinking the blade into the waiting flesh?  Well now you get the picture of what mam did to me on that day.

I'm now on the draining board, struggling and wriggling. Mam's got a strong, polished-finger-nailed hand holding me by the throat. I can see the upside-down view of the greasy plates in the sink. There's pans and plates being scattered, clattering everywhere by my wildly kicking legs.  She turns the brass tap on, there's a clunking noise as the air is released and I can hear the water approaching up the pipe.  A single drop of water gathers on the end of the tap, and I think I'm saved, [sometimes the water just didn't flow, and I remember thinking to myself that this was one of those days]. But alas, not this day!

The treacherous water gushed out of the tap soaking my head and neck.  I was now spluttering and spitting as I still begged mam to let me go.  But once mam made up her mind to do something, she did it! "Oh Gawd did she do it!" IS THIS DIALOGUE?
The ironic thing is, whilst all this was going on, mam was shouting at me, "I'll teach you to f***ing swear you little bas***d! You won't f***ing swear again! Will you? you f***ing little shite!". . . .Back to the torture. UNLIKELY

I jammed my mouth closed with a snap.
"Open your mouth, and this'll go easier on you!" shouted mam. At this point, a team of wild horses wouldn't get me to open my mouth.
"Open your mouth" she repeats.  It's a staring ? match now, my mouth is still wedged shut, but I'm trying to dodge the water still gushing out of the tap and God, it's cold!
 
Then she leans down, gets right in my face, practically nose to nose and repeats in a really strange quiet-like, whisper, "Brian, open your mouth", and she's smiling.  I'm shittin myself now!  Anyone who's experienced a stern-loving mother like this will know exactly what I'm talking about. This kind of command has to be obeyed, or woe betide you!

I stammer a quick "Please mam", and in that instant of begging, she jams the carbolic soap into me gob!  Oh she could be so quick!  She's now rubbing and drubbing like its wash day on a monday, she's all the while singing some obscure little song. Meanwhile I'm begging and sobbing and getting myself worked up into a lather(no pun intended) really feeling sorry for myself.  The bar is wedged into my teeth, she's really putting some 'elbow grease' into it!  She was so thorough and resolute!

Finally, its over.  She stands me on my feet, of course being the devious little git that I am, I wobble a bit, look as if I'm goint to faint, and mam wraps me in her arms, acting all contrite, [guilt can be a good commodity when youre eight and know how to wield it!]  As she wraps me in her arms cooing to me and telling herself what a horrible person she is for inflicting this on her poor child, I made a cardinal error, and smiled, thinking to myself of how I could turn this to my advantage?

She saw this and instantly she was back to Jeckyll-mam, my arse was back on the draining board in a flash!  She had the carbolic soap in her hand raised up ready to "wash" me again!  I just looked on with what I can only describe now as futile-acceptance of something I had no control over.  She saw this, and slowly dropped the bar onto the floor, looked at me with a little discomfort on her lovely face and told me to get off the drainer.

This wasn't so easy with my little legs and no stool to climb down.  But I eventually struggled off and stood before her.  "Now", she said. "Will you ever swear again?"  I hung my head down and swore on the bible that I wouldn't.  She's standing in front of me with her hands on her hips and tapping her foot, I knew I could still be in trouble, at this sign.  She sighed and said under her breath, shaking her head slowly from side to side, "Eee, our brian, what am I going to do with you?"  I just hoped it wasn't anymore of what had just happened.  She then sent me to my room, without supper.
I'd like to say at the end here that I learned my lesson that day. But I'd be lying, cos I still swore, I just never put myself in the position of letting mam hear me! 

ENJOYED READING THIS.
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline wanderer

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 11:25:59 AM »
I found it an interesting read and the story flowed nice. It kept my interest and is a story the reader can identify with.

Offline bri h

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 11:51:19 AM »
Thanks for the crit yous two, I was a bit curious about your comment Clarius? Back to the torture. UNLIKELY
I hope you get that the little boy is me! This is a true story about my childhood, this happened! If I did this today to anyone it WOULD be regarded as torture! As far as I was concerned at the time this was torture! I'm laughing as I say this because its funny thinking of it now, but back then it wasn't. ;D

Its my first draft, so even without your thoughts I have a feeling what needs to come out, but I thank you still.  

For any newbies reading this, I learned how to write properly here at MWC,
(they do say good advertising pays!) ha ha. Thanks Bri.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 11:59:26 AM by brianh »
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline midnight candle

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 12:05:40 PM »
Quote
I was eight years old when I was taught a valuable lesson by my Mother.  She taught me not to swear, because it "wasn't nice". The only lesson I learned that day was how to "swear, and not get caught!"

i'm just wondering if you could cut and pare this down to the essentials for a more engaging opening.

My mother taught me not to swear because it "wasn't nice". I learned to "swear and not get caught".

it says the same thing in less words and gets right to the heart of the conflict between mum and son.

hillwalker3000

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 12:07:07 PM »
I was eight years old when I was taught a valuable lesson by my Mother.  She taught me not to swear, because it "wasn't nice". The only lesson I learned that day was how to "swear, and not get caught!"

Two things bother me with this opening paragraph -
1) Why have you put certain phrases inside quotation marks? It looks a bit odd. (I won't mention the unnecessary exclamation mark for now)
2) By summarizing the entire plot within the first three sentences there's not much point reading any further unless we are desperate to find out how this came about.
I think you're more likely to hook the reader and keep them keen to read on if you don't give the game away quite so cheaply. It also looks as if you're contradicting yourself on first reading.

The conversational style works well for this type of story and I can picture you being caught in the act.
I'm not so keen on the clichés that make up most of paragraph 3:

'gleeful anticipation' - 'vice-like grip' - 'at an alarming rate' - 'through my back teeth'

Nor can I work out why you persist with exclamation marks. They serve no purpose when you stick them everywhere. It's also frowned upon to CAPITALISE phrases in standard prose (unless it's a comic). If the words themselves can't make an impact, fancy fonts or punctuation won't make any difference.

As for being dragged upstairs - it's hard to picture how you can see the roof interior above you and the back door below you at the same time.

I happen to like the image of Carbolic as 'the skinhead of soaps' - and if you're about to have a bar stuffed inside your mouth then 'a meal of it' works for me.

But I'd be tempted to remove the mention of the butcher's cleaver cutting into meat. It's easier to picture your mam laying you down like a side of beef without the complicated distraction of what might or might not be in her other hand just yet.
And if she's grabbed you by the throat how can you see her nail polish? Are you facing up or down? - because you reckon you can also see the plates in the sink. It's yet another needless distraction that diminishes the impact of what's about to happen.
I'm guessing you're on your back since you're looking up into the mouth of the tap - great build-up of suspense but spoilt by my having to figure out how you can see through the back of your head,

And if you're looking for how to demolish a carefully crafted scene in 3 words or less, look no further than this underlined bit:
Meanwhile I'm begging and sobbing and getting myself worked up into a lather (no pun intended) really feeling sorry for myself.
It undermines all the good work you've done because suddenly the author has butted in with a pointless comment. Bad choice.

This piece is so much better than your very first attempts on here but you still need to take greater control of how you're presenting your tale.
No silly asides - no sticking phrases inside quotation marks (single or double) unless it's spoken dialogue - no phrases in brackets either unless it's absolutely necessary because again they look like authorial intrusion - and, please make 'no exclamation marks' your New Year's resolution.

I'm curious as to why it's labelled Part 1 because it reads like a complete story already.

H3K

Offline 510bhan

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 12:40:13 PM »
Hi Brian -- exclamation marks! :o Lose them -- please. ::)

As this is in first person you can lose many of the I with a few tweaks. EG

I'm Repeating all the words I'd heard recently, thinking I was so big and clever, whilst the other kids were looking looked on with their mouths open in a big 'oh', waiting expectantly to see what happened next.

I was now Between spluttering and spitting as I still begged Mam to let me go.  But once Mam made up her mind to do something, she did it!

I should have got a clue when the 'ohs' turned into 'ahs' and their eyes lit up in gleeful anticipation. I felt A vice-like grip on clamped my collar and, I was yanked off my feet, and I went sailing back through the gate at an alarming rate!  Mam had sent me out, knowing I'd swear again, because I'd repeatedly promised her that I'd NEVER EVER sworn at anyone! She knew, in that intuitive way that all mothers do, that I was lying through my back teeth, so she'd set me up by standing hidden on the other side of the gate!
 
I was now being Dragged backwards across the yard, past the coal-house and to the back steps, I blubbereding and pleadeding with her that I'd "be good and I'd live a chaste, decent law-abiding life, from then on!"   She didn't stop. But Soon my heels were thumping on the rickety stairs, all I could see were the cobwebs in the roof amid the dirt and stains, and the fast retreating light from the back door down below. She hauled me like a sack of spuds up the stairs.  We then got to the top and into the scullery, which to me had turned into my own personal the torture chamber. 


There are other opportunities for tightening and having a variety of sentence starters too. ;)

Offline bri h

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 01:49:08 PM »
(picture a wrestling match, with me against a tag-team of phil and shvon)(hand hovered over the Exclamation mark there, and shot back)ha ha. As usual, I look forward to your crits the most cos you tell it like it is.  I knew I was sayin stuff that was wrong phil, in my eyes as well as yours, re the butcher, I looked at this after posting and realised you and others would pick up on it cos it takes you out of the immediate action. So the butcher will be pared to shvons way of making myself the slab of meat as it were. The stairs?  well they were almost vertical in those days, try leaning yourself at about 45 degrees and tell me what you see? I saw the cobwebs and I saw the receding back door down below, I can't understand why its not seen by you. 

Also put yourself upside down over something and tell me what you can see? It is quite possible to see stuff from a different angle.  I suppose youre right about the finger-nails, I just remembered her grabbing me by the throat, and as her hand came closer, I saw the red polish.   I'm guilty as charged where the exclams are concerned, its an awful habit I'm trying so hard to break. The () are my own way of speaking within the piece, that are, I suppose not needed, but I seem to like,(mebbee I should deal with them elsewhere)(done it again, sorry)

  The whole thing can be looked on as a stand alone piece, but the way I've done it has a bearing on part two, which you'll see in a couple of days, after I've pared and snipped this one.  I've been thinking of this story and the next one a lot over the last few weeks, I wanted to use this as an exercise to yous that I'm now showing rather than telling, as usual I can't get it all right at once, hence the crits. I'm not sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I am disappointed that I didn't get it as spot on as I first thought. But theres still enough to make it good IMO.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Clarius

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 04:52:15 PM »
Though it unlikely that his mother would teach him not to swear by swearing at him. Since this is autobiographical then I suppose that this is how it happened. If so I suppose that there is a rich vein of comedy to be mined here.
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline bri h

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 06:15:06 PM »
hiya clarius, youve hit the nail on the head here, comedy. I just have to learn where funny comments and happenings can be written but without detracting from the main story, If I'd prefaced the piece with "a funny thing happened to me a few yrs ago", then i suppose the comedy aspect would work, but as I've seen on the site so many times, over the last month and a bit, I've come to realise that i cover up a lot of strong stuff, by weakening it with comedic elements.  Phil and Shvon and Gyp and the rest have contaminated me with logic, and good writing.  Its a disease I look forward to keeping! ha ha. Thanks for your input in this. respec' bri.

Came back to answer another of Clarius' queries, the swearing. When you lived in the N/E of England with largely ignorant un-educated people(I was one of em) You find that life was one big contradiction, parents would tell you off in front of officials for stealing or fighting, but when said officials were gone, you'd either get a pat on the back or a damn good hiding for not including them in any lucrative caper, it was that simple.  With regards to the swearing, there was a constant mantra, "when youre eighteen you can do as you like but till then you do as I f***ing tell you!"  Parents and older people were a constant contradiction. A case of 'Do as I say, not as I do'. bri.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 06:26:23 PM by brianh »
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline 510bhan

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 07:47:41 PM »
Brian -- so much of do as I say, not as I do . . . "For Chrissake, don't you ever let me hear you taking the Lord's fucking name in vain and don't let me catch you swearing you wee buggers, d'you hear me, now, you wee fuckers?"

Offline protekme

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 08:32:30 PM »
I like your story, and I laughed so much. I can picture it . . .  so real.

I would love to give you my input as I go along, on your text,  but I don't know how it works with the striking off, etc. I know about the color change.

Could someone tell me how it is being done? It would be a lot easier than writing a new text (for me and for you). I would be more inclined to do it for others also.
-- People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others 
-- I have made this letter longer than usual only because I had no time to make it shorter
              Blaise Pascal

Offline protekme

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 08:46:05 PM »
I believe your story and the attitude on raising kids. "do as I say, not as I do".

Just like smoking. Ours parents would forbid us to smoke while they had a cigarette in their mouth. The same with our doctors. 

-- People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others 
-- I have made this letter longer than usual only because I had no time to make it shorter
              Blaise Pascal

Offline bri h

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 09:30:43 PM »
Shvon! I'm shocked at the language of a pretty young girlie!  ;D ;)

Protek, I dont know what you mean when you refer to "striking off". Just send in a crit for yourself, if you do something wrong here, theres always someone who'll put you right. Thanks, bri.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline protekme

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Re: I Swear (part 1), wip, including intro 1255 words, mild swearing
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2012, 09:35:25 PM »
Shvon! I'm shocked at the language of a pretty young girlie!  ;D ;)

Protek, I dont know what you mean when you refer to "striking off". Just send in a crit for yourself, if you do something wrong here, theres always someone who'll put you right. Thanks, bri.

Oh, oh!!! That's funny. Okay, don't stick your head out unless you're at the top. I like you, Bri

-- People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others 
-- I have made this letter longer than usual only because I had no time to make it shorter
              Blaise Pascal