Punctuating the future

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’.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to Punctuating the future

  1. Don’t laugh but I find punctuation rules irksome. If it makes sense and reads ok within broad rules, then it should be ok. But … we have to deal with comma splices, certain acceptable circumstances for a semi, etc. I’d personally avoid most of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Archaeologist says:

    Consider your nephew, you can guess which one, who was voting for the first time. He carefully read the election leaflets sent out by the candidates, then corrected them. When I asked him if he had made up his mind, he replied.
    “I don’t know, how can I be expected to vote for someone who misplaces the possessive apostrophe?”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. lucciagray says:

    There are few things I hate in life as much as I hate rhubarb and snails, and that’s a comma. I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with commas :(😢
    I agree with Mary, sometimes you have to think of ‘me’ because everyone else takes you for granted. Good for her!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sacha Black says:

    awww Geoff you big old softy. I loved this flash.

    ps. LOL I have never understood any colons, semi colons, commas bloody commas or apostrophes. HATE THEM.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Charli Mills says:

    Mary is taking back control of her life! Yay!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Norah says:

    This is great, Geoff. I punched the air and shouted “Yes!” Hooray for Mary. She is taking back control of her life. It is amazing what that one little piece of punctuation can achieve. And I thought from your comment on Charli’s post that you were going to end it all for her; but you have really made it her beginning. I’m looking forward to future developments. Judging from this piece of writing, not that I looked too closely, there’s not too much wrong with your use of punctuation.
    Thanks for linking ‘thru’ to my post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Yvonne says:

    This made me smile. I haven’t followed enough of Mary’s story to know exactly what’s going on, but I share her dislike of lists. And it sounds as if Rupert wasn’t exactly great to be around; a pause in her life?

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I started writing Mary’s story as a flash mid last year hand have taken Charli’s many prompts and continued it each week. 46 episodes and counting. There is a short summary under the My work tab where the episodes are also kept. And yes, Rupert has not been much of a help.

      Like

  8. susanzutautas says:

    Good for Mary! Great Flash!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lorilschafer says:

    Charming and very proper use of punctuation 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ula says:

    Good for Mary. Finally. I think we’ve all been waiting for this. Can’t wait to read what happens next.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Annecdotist says:

    At last! Good for both Mary and you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: The Story Doesn’t End « Carrot Ranch Communications

  13. Sherri says:

    Love your flash Geoff, great to see that semicolon written in for Mary…

    Liked by 1 person

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