Punctuation helps breathe life into a piece of writing. Little black marks show us when to pause, when to stop, when someone is speaking, and when to see a question. Sometimes they indicate an emotion; an exclamation mark is capable of carrying a lot of weight! In recent years the power of punctuation has begun to stand apart from its long-standing partnership with the written word and now conveys sentiments without text. A colon and bracket are happiness or sadness captured in two keystrokes :). And now the semicolon has gone one step further and been given a life of its own. Project Semicolon is “[A] faith-based movement dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury.” Its inspiration comes from the grammatical function of the semicolon that the Canadian Oxford English dictionary defines as “a punctuation mark of intermediate value between a comma and a period.” The value is in the pause the reader is encouraged to take mid-sentence; to consider what has gone before the mark, and what is to come after. Project Semicolon has taken this as a metaphor for life. The explanation on the website is that “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” People are getting semicolon tattoos in support of the cause and these enigmatic little signs have become more than just marks on a paper.
(Links active 21 July 2015)