Long before Amy Bleuel founded Project Semicolon, I felt a connection to this piece of punctuation. From learning it’s grammatical purpose in middle school, to discovering deeper meaning in college, from teaching how to use it in my own classroom, to creating an entire bracelet line, this little fella has brought me joy.
I remember first learning about the usage of the semicolon; I felt like it broke grammar rules. This mark combines two sentences. Although each complete thought can stand on its own, the semi colon says, “Hold up! These two ideas, while perfect on their own, are so connected- they should be together.” The semicolon does not disrupt either sentence other than downgrading a capital letter. It preserves both ideas yet expands and deepens their meanings both individually and together.
As an education major with one concentration in English, I had the pleasure of taking several grammar and writing classes. One professor described the semicolon as “the sexiest punctuation mark.” I totally agreed. It’s a mark that brings two together. It’s the handshake of a budding partnership. The acceptance letter from your first choice. The wedding vows of the perfect couple. It creates a unique connection that offers hope for what’s to come.
In my least favorite college English class, we read what became one of my favorite plays: W;t. The main character, an expert on John Donne who has dedicated her life to learning and teaching about religion and death, is diagnosed with stage four cancer. Through her profound knowledge and devastating battle, we as readers analyzed the beauty, ironies, and deeper meanings behind the characters words and how they were written. I didn’t think my love for the work could grow any more, and then we watched the film version starring the talented Emma Thompson.
Between my own grammatical knowledge and this play, my connection to the semi colon grew. We have an opportunity everyday to continue on. When I learned of Project Semicolon, I was so happy to see someone feel as connected to a punctuation mark as I did. I was grateful there was someone out there who wanted to use it to create a community to give people hope and remind them they are not alone in their struggle.
When I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, my affection for the semicolon and this Project grew. Perhaps my subconscious knew I needed the advice to keep going before I did.
Bleuel’s death is a powerful reminder to all of how serious this disease is. Always support those you love, in good times and especially in bad. There is great hope and power in the love and support of others. Bleuel’s story and life’s work will live on in those she leaves behind. Let us always remember her fondly;