In the midst of writing last week, I found myself reflecting on punctuation. Yes, you read that correctly… punctuation. You know you’re a writer when you recognize the value of punctuation. A part of me feels at peace when seeing the correct use of the comma. It serves many purposes by separating items in a list and defining one clause from another but that’s not why I love them. To me, they are a reminder to do something we often forget to do — take a breath.
I was first introduced to the idea by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Click. She was an elderly lady who was sweet as honey until she was teaching and became tough as nails. Mrs. Click became the cause of my anxiety when I needed to read out loud. She believed society wasn’t being taught traditional grammar rules which was reflected in how we would read and write. As such, Mrs. Click was quick to correct, and most often it wasn’t in a gentle manner.
Through unrelenting instruction, Mrs. Click was able to teach me about flow when reading out loud. Then I didn’t care about taking my time. I wanted to move onto the next person, to not waste time, and get closer to recess. This kind of behavior led me to be a rushed, choppy reader. Try as I might to speed through, Mrs. Click would always make me stop at a comma and take a breath.
Now that my son is in second grade, I’m seeing Mrs. Click was correct in a lot of ways. The movement of eliminating “unnecessary” punctuation is causing young readers to rush when reading out loud, yet I’m guilty of the same thing. In life I’m trying to balance writing with busy schedules and bedtimes. I now find myself now reminding my son that commas are there for a purpose — take a breath.
Our lives are busy. We are all trying to accomplish too many things simultaneously. Sadly, it’s not going to ever let up. Life is filled with continuous responsibilities and desires. Instead we rush through and forget about flow. Be reminded of what each comma represents — take a breath.
Until next post,
PS – The image depicted here is a snapshot I took of the book I’m currently reading called Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson. It’s a wonderful steampunk adventure story inspired by the music of Rush. I highly recommend it. 🙂