I inwardly cringe when I see exclamation marks overused. I use these as sparingly as possible. I am equally dismayed by the rhetorical over-use of question marks. I have a natural borne aversion to the use of ellipses in poetry. I don’t think I’ll ever be worthy of the period.
I know I have a minor obsession with punctuation. Some may consider this a problem.
I prefer to think of it as a deeply held appreciation for the arrangement of words in a sentence, and the symbols used to indicate the structure, rhythm and pauses that sustain them together.
It is amazing that the written word is simply punctuated with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark. With these few choices, the greatest challenge lies in the ability to artfully and precisely manipulate language and communicate a meaningful message to the reader. It seems too few choices are presented to the writer. I’m far more inclined to love the mystery of the ellipsis at the end of a sentence, which acknowledges the intentional omission of the mundane or conversely, the unknown.
For example, a lover’s note stating, “I will love you forever [.]” is far more gratifying than, “I will love you forever…”. Despite my tendency to favor the romance of the ellipsis, I refrain from using it. For some, its allure lies in the economy of expression; for me, the ability to draw one’s own conclusion is far more fetching.
Ultimately, I have a deeper respect for those who can succinctly express a world of expression in a sentence simply punctuated by a period.
March 1, 2010