I’m in love with punctuation. To be clear, I am not talking about excessive exclamation points. Look:
I’m so excited!
I’m so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stop the madness. More exclamation points do not make you more excited than you were in the first sentence. Once, I told a friend some good news and she was so excited, she started dancing. Interpretive dancing. There are some things that just can’t be done with punctuation – no matter how much of it you use. Interpretive dancing is one of those things, so cut it out with the extra exclamation points okay?
Still, I love punctuation and I know that makes me a monumental nerdlette. So what?
When my now 11-year-old son first started learning how to punctuate, and appropriately read with punctuation, I was so excited!!!!! (See?) He may love punctuation more than I do. Granted, he doesn’t know the difference between an en and em dash yet, but from second grade until now, he has signed all of his homework like so:
Good Golly! I love him. If ever there were a kid who deserved an exclamation point at the end of his name, it’s this kid. Ask any of his teachers. I’m not wrong. The other day, he asked me if I thought it was better to be a self-disciplined kid or a wild and crazy kid – because, you know, he prefers wild and crazy. I am not shocked about that.
We were reading this together last week, taking turns because my voice kept getting lost in my flu, and we ran into a fellow lover of punctuation on page 113,
“Flora stood and stared at the sign…with the words RESIDING WITHIN: THE DR.’S MEESCHAM!
“What was the apostrophe doing there? Did the doctor own the Meescham? And what was it with exclamation marks? Did people not know what they were for?
“Surprise, anger, joy – that’s what exclamation marks were for. They had nothing to do with who resided where.
“But at this particular moment, the exclamation mark seemed entirely appropriate. It was terribly exciting that a doctor (who didn’t know how to use apostrophes) lived in [the] apartment.”
And now, I will write an aside about how much I love this book, and then we will get back to the point. Feel free to skip this paragraph if you don’t want a book recommendation. This book made us giggle and cry. It’s the first Kate DiCamillo book I’ve read because, well, I basically hate animals and books about animals – even fiction animals that I don’t have to clean up after. Ew. Animals. Shudder. (I am sorry! We can still be friends! Don’t hate me because I hate your animal!) Where was I? Oh yeah. This book. The heroes are quirky kids and an even quirkier squirrel whose adventures are disquieting, at times unnerving, but always hopeful. Get it. Read it to your kids. Read it to yourself. Read it because you deserve a good giggle-cry. Flora & Ulysses. So good!
And now, the point you have been waiting for.
That Flora & Ulysses passage above combined with my son’s signature have made me think about how I’d punctuate my name. Right now, to be honest, it would likely end in an ellipsis because things are unwritten and uncertain. There have definitely been times in my life where I’ve been Laurie! even, Laurieann! Other times, I’d appropriately add a boring, but clarifying, period.
How would you punctuate your name/your life right now? Maybe a question mark? Maybe a comma? I like to think about it. I like that life and names seem punctuate-able.