Semicolons—cherished, avoided…tattooed?

Semicolons—cherished, avoided…tattooed?

Umberto Eco was congratulated by an academic because the writer completely avoided the use of a single semicolon in the novel The Name of the Rose. Other writers have no such reservations; a few even sprinkle them about with a kind of wanton glee.

(See what I did there?)

Lately, however, I have seen them on skin. Not vellum, but living skin, as a tattoo. It turns out this is an effort by Project Semicolon (www.projectsemicolon.com),* a nonprofit organization advocating hope and solidarity to those struggling with mental health, addiction, and/or thoughts of suicide. The semicolon represents a life that continues after a break, rather than a full stop. Members and allies sometimes choose to tattoo themselves with the punctuation mark in order to symbolize their struggles, or the struggles of their friends and loved ones. Although faith-based (specifically Christian), the organization is open to those of other beliefs.

—Michael Fink

* Note that as of this writing their website seems to be undergoing some maintenance or other disruption.

 

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