Punctuation botanica: thoughts on interrobangs and fresh tattoos

I’ve been mildly obsessed with punctuation since college. Learning about what to use, and when, took time (and I still go to the guides when a heated debate of dash use erupts at the office…).  How often–as with most forms of professional communication at least–less is so much more. For beginning writers, use of punctuation can be the textual equivalent to a child getting into Mommy’s makeup. But creative work? Go freaking bananas– in fact I love when I see writers and poets do cool things with astrisks and em dashes and ellipses.

Here’s my favorite scene involving the discussion of the “dot dot dot”, from one of my all-time favorite movies.

I could go on right now, about how punctuation is either a visual cue for the eye or a timing mechanism for the brain, but frankly that sounds pretty boring and not really what I wanted to talk about.  Fluidity, syntax, style… got it? Moving on.

I want to talk about tattoos.

I’ve been researching my most favorite punctuation for my next ink session and came across a super cool article on rarely-used marks.

This article has a few especially cool ones… which had me saying “interrobang” repeatedly just because it’s fun to say. Naturally I had to learn more so I went to my most favorite dubious source of information, and found a fine list of punctuation and usage.

My favorites so far:

The irony mark

The astrisk… although it seems a bit fashionable at the moment.

The one I really think is cool is the hedera… Latin for “ivy”.  It’s pretty and rarely seen today. Back when people actually wrote Latin, the hedera was used to block off large sections of text or long paragraphs. I studied Latin in college, but personally never came across this mark.

It’s pretty, timeless, less pedantic, and less obvious than the irony or other admittedly cool marks. There are lots of different variations too, from clean to frilly. I want one.

Now the question is… where does it go?

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