;!!! ;!!! ;!!!

by nicolecallihan

Those of you familiar with my obsession with syntax, may remember that I fell in love with the semicolon (not pictured here) in the winter of 1995; the wind blew; I was living in Oxford, walking for miles, developing what I’d come to realize were “corns” on my pinky toes, and then, in one poorly heated bar or another, someone said how about a semicolon; a what? I asked; a semicolon; hmm…I pictured that archaic symbol knowing it could do me no good; it allows you, he said (he was an Ivy Leaguer and thus spoke with great authority), to hold more than one thing in your mind at a time; like what? I asked, and we ordered another beer.

My father, having been through eighth grade at least three times, is a great proponent of the easily diagrammed simple sentence; my mother is more adept at sewing lacerations than stringing words together; my brother collects roadkill! I didn’t even know I had it in me to use a semicolon; reader, I did. Last week, a student said to me, I wish I could be as passionate about anything as you are about the semicolon. I may have blushed; surely, this far into the semester my one crowning passion isn’t the semicolon; thank you, I said.

And now, looky: here. My old college love sent me this link. Yes, the semicolon is alive; it is thriving; from deep in the underbelly of New York City to the mountains of Mexico that pretty little piece of syntax is rearing its pretty little dot of a head. Come on; try it; you’ll love it; once you start you can’t stop; you’ll be shoveling the snow wondering when you can use one next; maybe between this and that, you’ll say; maybe between that and this, and oh, who in their right mind wants the finality of a period?