Friday, September 2, 2011

Aw, Nuts!

How many of you who write for young kids find yourselves the recipient of requests to change your text because of sexual innuendos in your writing? Oh, come on. You know it's happened!

I'm here standing up (har) to say I am not afraid to admit that it's happened to me a few times. (I mean, I wrote a book titled "Let's Go!"?? Come ON! You can just picture the nudge-nudge, wink-winks.)

I just agreed to change a line in a forthcoming picture book from:
Can you count each squirrel's nuts?
How many nuts has each squirrel gathered?

Not a big change in intent, but probably a little less titter inducing. But grade two humor will rule no matter what. Just say the word 'nuts' and they'll probably be rolling in the back row. But I don't mind that reaction from an audience. It gets the kids/class involved, no? Books are fun. Books are funny!

You can call me naive for not picking up on these types of innuendoes on a more regular basis. But I also know that just about anything can be an innuendo if you want it to be. I always remember a lecture from one of my university professors that pointed out that the English language will always refer to the sexual in the absence of a concrete noun. Even you will titter if I write:
I want it.
I like it.
You need it.
no matter that I'm referring to chocolate. (Damn, what were you thinking???)

But I will consider softening an obvious innuendo if my editors asks. I'm not completely nuts.

So that's my rant for the day--a day which kicks off the last long weekend of summer. Have a good one!  (nudge-nudge, wink-wink)


LMacL said...

Sometimes I think I'm pretty naive too. I had to come up with a bunch of silly names for a "newspaper" I was writing for a text book. I included one that I thought was kind of amusing about someone who had just done some shovelling: Dug A. Hole.
The editor had to point out to me that kids would have a field day with "A.Hole." Sigh ...

Lizann Flatt said...

LOL! That's hilarious. Thanks for sharing.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Ha, ha. One of the editors who gave me feedback on a PB manuscript at SCBWI NY laughed when she saw my title and said there was no way I could call it that. I'm not sure what she was thinking of, but oh, well.

I like your original line better, I have to say. There's nothing wrong with a little 2nd grade tittering, anyway, especially if the picture doesn't show anything that lends itself to innuendo.