Wednesday, October 7, 2020

"By Odin's empty eye socket!"

Growing up reading Fantasy and mythology coupled with having parents who raise one to genuinely despise profanity and other forms of crude language is a blessing. Why? Because in place of such base and/or simplistic words, one learns to be creative. I say "silence" and, in place of swear-words, oaths like "Thank the flame", "Gods and sacred Goddesses", "Fire and hemlock!" "Darkspawn", "Freya's tears", "By all the gods above and below the Earth", "Sacred flames!" and, when in physical pain, "Bones, body, and blood!". In other words, having one's manner of speech and style of writing forged by binge-reading Fantasy literature works out great! Even my mother says "Thank the flame" now, though her personal favorite is that time I swore "By Odin's empty eye socket!" (I was reading The Sea of Trolls trilogy by Nancy Farmer at the time, I believe, which is filled with oaths invoking the Norse gods. In fact, that is where the "Freya's tears" swear comes from.) As to the rest, the "Fire and hemlock!" oath came from the Diana Wynne Jones' book of the same name, and "Thank the Flame" from Tolkien in that, back in middle school, when happy I would say "Thank the Flame of Anor" and when upset "By the dark fire of Angmar!" Meaning "Thank the Flame" is a contraction of the former and, today when upset I am likely to say "By the Fire" in contraction of the latter. Of course, I also read lots of Peanuts and Charlie Brown leaves a marked impression, so when frustrated I am just as likely to say "Good Grief" or "I can't stand it."

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