Syntactical Freedom!!

by nicolecallihan

For years, I told my students that a writer is granted only one–maybe two!–exclamation marks in her life. I highly doubt, I’d tell them, that you want to use that single mark in your freshman year of college. Save it! I yelled. Save yourself!

But why was I so afraid of the exclamation mark? I must admit: I’m an exclaimer. If I were transcribed over the course of the day, the transcript would be filled with exclamation marks. Cody, breakfast! Cody! Or perhaps with the interrobang:

Cody?! Still though, for years, I was afraid. Maybe it was college? The blase college student shan’t use such wild modes of expression. (But then the inevitible shift!) In the past year or so, I can’t get enough of them. I use them, use them, use them! That staunch vertical! That emphatic dot! Perhaps putting all of my markings in a single syntactical basket is getting me nowhere. I’m feeling, today, a bit trapped. Sure, four exclamation marks might make a window, but a whole line of them, and you’ve got a jail. Maybe…I need to stop transcribing in my head. I need to let the way the sun is shining through my blinds right now (!!!!!!!) just be the sun shining through my blinds.