Sticklers for punctuation seem to have a thing for the semicolon. There are those who don’t really pay much attention to its use, while others may not have a clue. Then there are those who utterly dislike it.
“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” – Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Whether you agree with that or not, here’s a fun but informative crash course on how to use the semicolon.
This post isn’t about the use of this punctuation mark in the usual way writers talk about it, though. Let’s digress from grammar, punctuation, job hunting, and usual topics we talk about.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of the initiative called Project Semicolon, but I think everyone should be aware of it.
Project Semicolon is dedicated to helping people who struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Their vision:
The vision is that together we can achieve lower suicide rates in the US and around the world;
That together we can start a conversation about suicide, mental illness and addiction that can’t be stopped;
We envision love and hope and we declare that hope is alive;
We envision a society that openly addresses the struggle with mental illness, suicide and addiction;
We envision a conversation embraced by churches and addressed with love;
We envision a society that sees their value and embraces it;
We envision a community that comes together and stands together in support of one another;
We envision a world where an escape is not found within drugs or alcohol;
We envision a world where self-destruction is no longer a escape to be used;
We envision a revolution of LOVE and declare that our stories are not over yet;
Isn’t that a beautiful use of the semicolon in the “real world”?
Their tagline is just as inspiring: “A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. The sentence is your life and the author is you.”
For people who are – or have loved ones – struggling with the issues mentioned above, Project Semicolon means so much more than a punctuation mark.
I took a look at Twitter, and I was touched by many of the tweets related to the movement. Here are several of them, which I hope will inspire you, too.
No matter what comes up in your life, know that ‘This too, will pass’. #ProjectSemicolon #TheSemicolonProject #SemicolonProject #Semicolon
— Project Semicolon (@ProjSemicolon) August 3, 2015
After everything was taken from me and I wanted only to die, I fought back. I survived #depression #semicolonproject pic.twitter.com/xt7eTyoc6R
— Elisa Hategan (@elisahategan) August 3, 2015
Some have even gotten semicolon tattoos.
Second tattoo ? #semicolonproject pic.twitter.com/YuHoLlsymm
— shindigity sam (@SamanthaAnnMill) August 2, 2015
Tattoo for #semicolonproject @TeamBrockComm supports education of depression & suicide prevention. #CrisisCenterTampa pic.twitter.com/4xZZDXRdTv
— lisa brock (@TeachPR) July 29, 2015
This last one says it all.
#semicolonproject because I could’ve ended my life sentence, but chose not to. Recovery is beautiful. pic.twitter.com/j3AJO2XLqb
— Sarah Spring (@sarahspringg) July 30, 2015
There is so much more to the semicolon than I previously thought.
If you want to help in any way, visit Project Semicolon.