bits and pieces

What is the objection to semicolons? I see this come up here and there. Writers who use semicolons are elitists? Vonnegut is supposed to have admonished writers not to use them, saying that it only shows that they went to college. (And what’s wrong with that?) I read an account of a writer who had a semicolon tattooed on her forearm. “It tells everyone I’m an elitist.”

I don’t get it. A semicolon is as much a useful tool as any other piece of punctuation. It serves specific roles for connectivity and continuity. Is this all just another example of the dumbing down of writing in general?

“First they came for the semicolons . . .”


I had one rejection last week. It was a long-shot submission; I didn’t think my story was a particularly good fit with the publication. Now I really need to get myself into the submission frame of mind. I’ve really come to see a fundamental breakdown in what passes for my mind. Part of me indulges in the creative frenzy. Another part must take care of business of making submissions of what I create. And the part that blends them likes to site on the cabin porch to listen to the birds and watch the water make ripples on the lake.


Found poetry. It’s the latest meme.

Explore posts in the same categories: Rants and ruminations


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2 Comments on “bits and pieces”

  1. christophergronlund Says:

    I like Vonnegut, but that’s one thing I don’t get. In the closest thing to an autobiography John Irving wrote, Trying to Save Piggy Sneed, he talks about studying under Vonnegut and that he was not a fan of the semicolon. It seems weird to me as well. Sure, some brains process things in smaller chunks — other brains create sentences requiring semicolons.

    I’m bright enough, but not some intelligent elitist, and I use them. It’s just the way my brain puts things together. Semicolons and em dashes appear in my writing because that’s how things come out of my head.

  2. LauraMaylene Says:

    I wasn’t even aware that there was a semicolon war going on. I love love love the semicolon. It serves very specific purposes. I also happen to think it’s kind of elegant and fun.

    I know someone who met a woman on the street and asked for her number. She seemed wary but gave it to him. He knew he had to make a good impression and show that he wasn’t an idiot, so he wrote her a careful text that included a properly used semicolon. She definitely noticed and they ended up in a serious relationship. Semicolons for the win!

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