Er, Happy National Punctuation Day!?
September 24, 2009

(A silly fanvid of A Room with a View, which features in its opening moments, the question marks I mention in the post below. Certainly not worth watching in its entirety.) Oh, parentheses—this is your day! And semi-colon? Your moment to shine in the spotlight! And oh, lowly em-dash—so overused (even by me), so misused, so much the go-to guy when lazy writers don't know how to punctuate a sentence.Sure, sure, I know. All of you readers and writers don't need to tell me. You could not be more excited. National Punctuation Day! How will you celebrate? Will, you pepper, your paragraphs, with unnecessary, commas? Spill periods ... like sugar ... sprinkles over your ... every spare paragraph break? (No, wait, three periods in a row? That's an ellipsis. Tsk tsk, don't think I'll overlook you, ellipsis—this is your day, too.) Will you, like George Emerson, draw an enormous question mark on your plate on your wall on your life and ponder it, finger to chin, substituting the everlasting "Why?" for true love?Worth remembering Mr. Emerson's entreaty to Lucy Honeychurch on behalf of his son: "I don't require that you fall in love with my boy, but please help him.... Make my boy realize that at the side of the everlasting 'Why?' there is a 'Yes!' and a 'Yes!' and a 'Yes!'" Mr. Emerson gets it: questions and proper punctuation are all well and good, but beside the point. They are frameworks for the answer, the emphatic yes, the heart, the emotional core of the thing.So happy punctuation day, and enough about that drivel. Now get back to the work of limning the limits of the human heart.