I have been in love with the ellipsis since I started writing. Not everyone shares that love. My indiscriminate love affair with this punctuation annoys and occasionally infuriates editors and administrators alike. Here’s the thing…or a thing. It may not be the thing, but it’s certainly a thing. The thing is…
…I don’t want to change this habit of affectionally turning to the ellipsis.
And when does an annoying habit become a charming affectation? Is it related to age? Is it related to our own acceptance of the habit turned affectation? Does it include the wearing of a beret?
Those infuriated editors have asked, “Why don’t you use a comma? It’s a perfectly fine, time tested and honored punctuation. EVERYONE knows what the comma means. What did the comma ever do to you? What have you got against the comma!? What makes you so freakin’ special?!…and what is the deal with inconsistent number of dots? I see here you use three, but here it’s four, and here two and here you went all out with five!”
Okay, I see your point. OR Okay…I see your point.
And that’s my point.
I use the beloved ellipsis is used to indicate I will write more here…
…an indication of an unfinished thought, it’s incomplete. It holds momentum for me, a liminal space where the potential for surprise and new understanding looms.
I believe it became habit because most of my creative writing has been for the spoken word. Sketches, monologues, speeches, plays, sermons, welcomes, introductions, benedictions…funeral eulogies.
It is a device to indicate to myself the pause needs more than a comma. It needs a breath more, a second more of silence to hold the moment. It hangs…
My point is…we are in a non-comma time. The comma is not enough. Through readings, conversations, pilgrimages, I have come to understand the notion of threshold. Full disclosure, I like the idea of thin spaces, I have written about my search for the spirit’s presence in the silence—and have felt nothing.
And yet, at this moment I feel the presence of an awaited turning. It is an ellipses moment. We have all experienced change, and in Brene Brown’s words, “If we don’t understand that grief is going to be a part of change and that loss is going to be a part of change, I don’t think we can successfully evolve and I don’t think we’re doing people a favor by not saying there’s going to be some loss.”
In the past two and a half years we have lost spouses, parents, jobs, and in many cases our faith in systems we were taught were foundational—the church, democracy and simple human decency.
And we need to grieve all of these.
While we wait…