I know a man who wields a pen like an executioner wields a sword.
Whenever he reads a book he clenches the black biro in his left hand. It doesn’t matter that it’s a library book. Much as he loves reading — and he is an adventurous reader of fiction — he cannot resist the inner censor. If the ‘F’ word comes up — don’t even mention the ‘C’ word — down comes the pen. The ‘F’ word gets the chop. In all its forms, and there are many. No matter how appropriate —“Where are my fucking legs?” where a woman suffers a serious fall is one instance, — the word has to go. In one book of short stories, he has blacked out 23 instances. I read all the stories. He didn’t miss a single one. The man is thorough.