Hated words

The Dublin Writers’ Festival is over. At an event in the Abbey yesterday, Tom Murphy read from his plays. Afterwards, he and Conor McPherson had a conversation, followed by questions from the audience.

In the context of the vexed question of writing ‘Irishness’, and changing perceptions of what that means, Murphy told us about a conversation he had with Tony Cronin at a party, years ago. Tony Cronin said that his most hated word, growing up, was ‘Manliness.’ Cronin, Murphy went on to explain, had been to boarding school. Murphy’s most hated word would have been ‘Respectability’. It was the notion of respectability that he wrote against, in the early days of his career.

I’m paraphrasing. I hope I have it right. In any case, the two most hated words are accurate –I know because I wrote them down as soon as I heard them. I’d have left right then if I could, because I wanted to think about this wonderful idea of the most hated word.

Straight away, I knew what mine would have been, if I’d been part of that conversation: ‘Control’.

Which explains a lot. (I went to boarding schools too.)

As a tool for investigating the patterns of one’s life, this ‘hated word’ concept could be really useful. I’d love to know what other people’s most hated word is, and what it might explain about them.

Sometimes writing a blog is a bit like talking to yourself. Actually, it IS talking to yourself, but allowing for the possibility that someone might drop in and listen for a while, before wandering off to another keyhole.Dear Reader, if you’re out there, tell me your most hated word and why.
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