I don’t like rules of punctuation. I’ve sorted the full stop. I’m ok with speech marks but the comma, the colon and the semicolon are all still a bit of a mystery. And don’t get me started on the sod of all of them: the apostrophe. People correct me all the time. Thanks very much, you smug knowalls.
Charli Mills has shown me this week, in her 99 word flash fiction prompt that there is a better use for the semicolon. A metaphorical one. Taking it as a pause instead of a full stop in your life. If things look bleak, there’s no way out then don’t let it stop you. Erase the period, as our American friends call it. Rub that stop. Split by language again (which links to Norah Colvin’s piece on spelling and the tyranny that is English spelling – check it out and be reminded of those godawful tests both we and our children were put through (should be ‘throo’ or ‘thru’ of course)).
Charli’s prompt is
April 8, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a renewal story that proclaims, “This isn’t the end; I will go on.” Think of the mythical phoenix that rises up from the ashes; of Cinderella after midnight on the night of the ball; of a hero that faces certain death; of love after tragedy; of renewing life’s lemonade transitions. Go where the prompt leads and own your story; the ones you’ve lived and the ones you imagine for fiction. Stand in solidarity with others to find the semicolons in life that chooses to nurture and not succumb.
So here’s my take, with Mary pondering life in her parents’s garden. Mary’s back story is here.
Listing towards the future
Mary didn’t like lists; her father’s endless lists dominated her childhood.
Today they were the only way to manage her tumultuous life. Penny’s schooling, book-keeping for Paul, the police, her father’s estate. Even Rupert her irritating half brother. She gave each a heading, listing their needs.
She took her pad and pencil outside to enjoy the sunshine; she ignored the despoliation of her parents’s garden. The police had been thorough; every inch was dug.
She turned the pencil over and rubbed out the full stop after ‘Rupert’; she added a semicolon.
On a new line she wrote ‘Me’.