31 December 2005

Introduction



Throughout 2005 I decided to produce monthly diary entries to document the process of making Swear Box 2005. In the past I've found that undertaking these year-long documentational projects can be hard work, frustrating and often seem like chore. At the same time, these projects are compelling and impossible to give up once underway.

I thought that producing a monthly diary entry would enable me to share the ups and downs of the project, the real experience of documenting my swear words and the effect the regime has on my life. Swear Box 2005 is the fourth major year-long project I've has undertaken. Although it might appear one of the simplest to date, it has proved one of the most difficult to maintain...

Preparing to Count >

December

December has been the slowest swear month on record. Not the grand finale that I had dreamt about – the Christmas induced swear frenzy, with an output to rival that of January 2005. Instead there were only five. Five sad and lonely swear utterances. None of which was the result of any particular event of note. Each just slipped out accidentally as I ranted and raved and went about my day-to-day life. Probably the most interesting of the five popped up as a reaction to hearing the World Cup 2006 draw in early December. My excitement when hearing who Australia had to contend with in their group – “Brazil are gonna open a can of whoop-arse on them!”

Why was the output so low? I put it partly down to laziness over the festive season. I didn’t want to make work for myself so I didn’t swear. The other reason I fear is the result of a more permanent psychological change, which I will discuss a little later.

Going Out With A Bang...

I was certainly looking forward to finishing the project; I have been for a number of months. New Year’s Eve 2005 would not only be a celebration in the usual sense, but it would also mark the dramatic climax of Swear Box 2005. There would be people all over the world unconsciously celebrating the end of project. Thousands of bottles of champagne and millions of fireworks… yet as it came nearer and nearer to the end I felt less and less like celebrating. I had imagined an avalanche of swears pouring forth the moment the final gong of Big Ben struck midnight. An uncontrollable release of expletives emancipated after a year of oppression. But alas, the end of Swear Box 2005 was a very low key event indeed – not one firework, not one sip of champagne and not a single swear word!



By the time I had reached the 365th day of the project I guess I was just too down to celebrate. What had I actually achieved? I felt guilty for not making the project more interesting by swearing more often, but I also felt guilty when I did swear. I had, over the course of the year, permanently changed my behaviour. In doing so I had created a battle zone inside my head, which I could not escape from. What I said was no longer a true representation of what I felt – I had become a fake and a phoney and I just wanted it all to be over with.

But I couldn’t celebrate. I couldn’t just go back to the old me. There was too much of a history between me and my vocabulary. I had altered myself indefinitely. Here we are now on 3rd January 2006 and I still haven’t sworn – not once. I just can’t. I’ve built it up too much – creating a huge mountain out of something which people do all the time without second thought. Maybe it’s a good thing to have changed my habits forever. Maybe the Swear Box project has achieved one thing if it's made me a less vulgar person, but at what expense...

Maybe I will now enter my new life as a changed person, changed for the better. Or maybe after a week or two, I’ll be back to my normal self...

January Swear Diary >