how to continue our TeachingAuthors Punctuation theme while following Bobbi Miller’s most illuminating “For the Love of Commas” post last Monday?
I considered showcasing one of my favorite books (Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s EXCLAMATION MARK!, seemingly punctuation-themed or not),
interviewing University of Chicago Press editor Carol Saller (author of THE SUBVERSIVE COPYEDITOR)
and reviewing New Yorker editor Mary Norris’ BETWEEN YOU AND ME: CONFESSIONS OF A COMMA QUEEN.
[Please note: In the above sentence I proudly reveal my Medicare-eligibility by honoring Strunk and White’s Elements of Style rule that states that “in a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last.” It’s hard to teach an Old Dog New Tricks.]
I was heavily leaning toward sharing EXCLAMATION MARK! – a. because this particular punctuation mark and I have a whole lot in common, spirit-wise, and b. the front book blurb so speaks to me “…we all have an inner exclamation mark. The question is, how to find it…”
But then, while reading Hannah Pittard’s beautifully-written all-absorbing novel REUNION which features a most engaging heart-grabbing dysfunctional family, I came upon a scene in which the character Kate Pulaski who teaches script-writing speaks a word the author acknowledges in her closing she found in a NY Times Ann Beattie article “Me and Mrs. Nixon” – a literary term I’d never seen or heard before!
In other words, an irmus acts like a punctuation mark, giving meaning and punch, emphasis and force, to the sentences that preceded it.