semi;colons

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so I did a thing last night…

I have bad anxiety and depression and I have suffered my entire life. Last summer was when I was at my absolute worst. And then I found twenty one pilots and it was like Tyler was talking about what was going on in my head at that time and I was hooked. When I feel like I don’t want to go on, I remember how important I am and that I need to stay alive.

With that being said, I got these lyrics permanently on my skin. Although there are so many tøp lyrics that stick out in my mind and that have really kept me going, these are the ones that really get to me every time I listen.

If anyone in my clique fam needs a shoulder, my ask is always open.

stay alive y'all. ✌🏼❤️👽

Em Dashes

A lot of people use semi-colons wrong because they know there’s supposed to be a pause in their sentence that they know isn’t quite a comma, so they think it must be that mysterious semi-colon. Usually, it’s actually supposed to be an em dash (—), which in some ways is more mysterious!

The em dash is the longest of the three dashes and most often used for interruptions. Interruptions in speech, in action, in thought. It’s also a great syntax addition for fight scenes, since it makes the narrative seem quick and unexpected and jolting from side to side like a fight scene should be. Read your em dash sentences out loud until you get a feel for how its pause compares to the pause of a comma. It’s a heartbeat longer. If a comma is one beat of pause, then I see an em dash as two beats of pause.

In this first example, the em dash is used to give an aside to the reader. It’s like a btw sort of moment, which can sometimes be replaced with commas or parenthesis. I think the em dashes are most suitable when your aside is decently long.

Her neighbor, Frank, is always blasting music.

Her neighbor—the one who always blasts the music—is named Frank.

My mischievous neighbor, Vince, seemed to have a knack for graveyard cavorting.

Vince—more often called (in a raised and angry voice) Vincent Price Ramsey—seemed to have a knack for graveyard cavorting.

Next up, here’s the em dash as a replacement for the semi-colon. Kinda like a slang or shortened sentence. Semi-colons have to connect two independent clauses—meaning each side of the semi-colon could stand alone as its own complete sentence. If you don’t want to do that, try an em dash:

I thought hanging out would be great—a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.

I thought hanging out would be great; it would be a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.

There was a headstone hardly a foot from where I’d emerged—dark grey stone a few inches thick and maybe as high as my knee.

There was a headstone hardly a foot from where I’d emerged; it was made of dark grey stone a few inches thick and maybe as high as my knee.

Sometimes, you can use an em dash to have a speaker correct themselves, or interrupt themselves to amend their sentence.

I could see the blur of the graveyard behind him—through him—

Similar to the last example, it can be used to interrupt a sentence in order to add additional information about the sentence. Often you can use a comma in this situation, too, so try to think of syntax and how that additional beat of pause changes things. In this case, Alice has just seen a ghost for the first time, so her mind is a bit too shocked for the normal pause of a comma. Read both. Doesn’t the one with the em dash sound more shocked or surprised, while the comma makes it sound like a simple observation?

He was glowing pale—almost tinged in cold blue.

He was glowing pale, almost tinged in cold blue.

Of course, it could be an interruption. It could be someone interrupting another in speech, one action interrupting another, or a character’s thoughts interrupting themselves. Here I’ll include the sentence with the em dash and the sentence following, so you can see the thing interrupted and the interruption.

You can have an action interrupt a character’s thoughts. For the first one, Alice is in a creepy situation and completely focused on something else, so when something touches her elbow, she’s shocked out of her thoughts. For the second one, Tristan is listening for an enemy when the enemy makes a move and startles him into action.

As far as I could tell it was some kind of berry—

An icy contact on my elbow broke my resolve, and I screamed until an equally cold hand clamped over my mouth.

The night was still, and yet—

Something whistled through the air. Tristan jerked backwards, narrowly avoiding an incoming dagger.

Here we have one character interrupting another in dialogue. Pretty self-explanatory.

“I’m not going to—”

Mom’s voice in the receiver cut me off. “At least consider it.”

“After all, you’re only a—”

“If you even say girl,” I interrupted, “I’ll stab you, I swear.”

The next one is part of a fight scene, so Alice’s thoughts are interrupting themselves as soon as she thinks them. She throws up an idea, “iron,” but interrupts herself from further exploring that idea, and instead casts it out. In a fight, you don’t have time to think out long, eloquent ideas. Your thoughts should come in fragments. Stab. Punch. Dodge. Swing. Would this work? No. How about this? Maybe. The em dash can help get across this uneven jolting of thoughts.

Iron—no use. I’d dropped the knife when her damn vines ensnared me, and the nails were in my pockets and out of reach. Blood—there were possibilities there.

Continuing in fight scenes, em dashes can have action interrupt action. Don’t just throw them in willy nilly, but if you have a chance for an em dash, jump on it. Instead of a word like “suddenly,” it makes it feel suddenly. Ups the tension. Em dashes are about interruption, and what is a fight scene but two people interrupting each other’s attempts to kill the other? This is especially useful for the last line in a paragraph during a fighting scene, because it’s a nice place to have one action interrupt another.

I snatched it—slit across my hand—

And stabbed her through the heart.

His swords whistled through the air—

A clean “X” appeared on the imp’s back, severing its body into four neat chunks.

So yeah, I’m basically obsessed with em dashes and I use more of them than the majority of writers. (At 72k words, my current project has 22 semi-colons and 344 em dashes. So. Yeah. Not to mention the length of this post…) Em dashes are way cool and can add a lot to your writing even though they’re just another form of punctuation. Syntax helps your reader into the mindset you’re going for, and em dashes can be a great, powerful part of that syntax!

–E

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Sad to report that Amy Bleuel, founder of The Semicolon Tattoo project, passed away last week at 31. Our thoughts are with her husband and family.

anonymous asked:

Why do you hate semi colon tattoos so much??

They look stupid, they’re lazy, they’re badly thought out, they’re LAZY, they’re patronizing to people with mental illnesses, and they’re fucking LAZY. 

Congrats, you saw a trend of people getting the simplest tattoo possible and claiming it’s for mental health awareness so you hopped on the bandwagon and tried to say that the tattoo was personal to YOU and YOUR LIFE, when it’s not. You have the exact same tattoo as a million other people. It’s not personal, you’re just not creative and you wanted to follow a trend.

My mental illness destroyed me. My mental illness almost killed me. My mental illness, should I choose to embody it in a tattoo that will be on my body forever, is more deserving of something unique and special than an upside down circle on top of a slightly squigglier circle on my wrist that a million other people have.

Grow up. Learn to think for yourself. 

And by the way, a semicolon doesn’t mean “when the author could have ended the sentence but chose not to uwu” it fucking indicates a pause between two main clauses in a sentence. 

Walking in the Wind is a bonus song on Made in the A.M. It doesn’t fit easily into the One Direction canon; it’s not swaggering or fit for a stadium. There are no rivals, no romantic interests, no ships. This is One Direction doing Paul Simon. This is One Direction sitting back, taking a breath, settling into a story.

From the opening, stepping guitar, Walking in the Wind is unhurried. A week ago you said to me, do you believe I’ll never be too far. The song is an exchange between one who’s lost someone, and the one who’s been lost. The fact that we can sit right here and say goodbye, means we’ve already won. The latter remembers their time together, and the former insists: it isn’t over, you’ll find me, there’s still more to come. We had some good times, didn’t we? We had some good tricks up our sleeve. The one who lost sings. And the other responds: But it’s not the end. I’ll see your face again.

Walking in the Wind isn’t a sharp song. It’s imprecise. But it points at a singer trying to interrogate the loss, trying to understand the promise and the inevitable breaking of that promise. The song examines, rather than argue. It doesn’t defend against the present or future absence. There is no armor, no mechanism. Simply truth. The song looks back on what once existed, and recognizes it as a faded medium: a Polaroid.

But that’s okay! The song insists. It’s catchy and chill. The melody picks up and sweeps forward. They sing, insistently: You will find me, in places that we’ve never been. For all that the song is about, the music is upbeat and optimistic. It’s okay, it will be okay. We’re sure of it.

Harry Styles, a co-writer on Walking in the Wind, said of another song he wrote, Olivia, that “it doesn’t have to be so literal.” Olivia doesn’t have to be a person, he insisted. It could be a place. “Sometimes I think it’s cool to take an emotion and personify it.”

I think the same thought applies to Walking in the Wind.

The song is about loss, yes, but not necessarily one loss, one absence. As adults, we become inured to small deaths. The numbers we lose, the friendships that fall away, the moments we forget. All small, nearly imperceptible endings in our daily lives. So many, that soon we stop counting. We’re taught that every door closing will open another, and we whisper this to ourselves, enough so that we forget to notice if another door does open, or if the first door simply stays closed.

We come to understand these endings by containing them within a story. We accept a break up because a best friend says, “Sometimes, relationships take so many parts of you, that by the end, you’re left with nothing,” and you decide to think about the break up as you would a survival story, rather than the more pedestrian “we stopped liking each other.” A move becomes a step forward, rather than a step away; a fight becomes a miscommunication.

Walking in the Wind is trying to decide which story to tell. The one of the absence, or the one of the future reconciliation. This song is about loss. But it’s also about the stories we tell about those losses, and the ways we claim them.

Yesterday I went out to celebrate the birthday of a friend. But as we raised our glasses up to make a toast, I realized you were missing.

Stories rename themselves as we go. Their edges shift. Their definitions change. The way we experience them in the moment is different from the way we experience them in retrospect, and this is what Walking in the Wind hinges on. It’s optimistic, still, in that moment of reckoning. The song insists: you will find me. What has happened, has happened. But more is to come.

This isn’t a song about mourning. It’s about the story that comes from the mess. It’s not an ending, or even a punctuation mark. It’s a semi-colon. Unresolved.  

We may not know if it’s okay. We may not know for awhile.

We had some good times, didn’t we? We wore our hearts out on our sleeve.

We don’t have to understand.

Goodbyes are bittersweet. But it’s not the end.

Not yet.

I’ll see your face again.

-Kelsey Ford is a writer living in Los Angeles.

Coming Home

Set after 6x14 – Killian returns and Emma finds him sitting on the steps of the front porch, in front of their house.
Word Count: 824
Read it on ao3 here ~ Read my other fics here 


Emma could feel her fingers going numb even though she had her gloves on. She didn’t mind – the cold nipping at her made her feel better than she had in the last two days. She hadn’t even driven the bug to the loft, which didn’t help her case. Every time she thought of the loft, she would picture the pitying glances she got from her parents, Regina, and Henry. Instead of it giving her consolation, she felt white, hot anger every time she thought of that. She chose to think about that instead of him. Instead of how it had felt to come back to an empty house – to know he had left; to know he had abandoned her. Which was why, as she hurried towards the house, she stopped short in complete shock. Relief spread through her as she saw him sitting on the porch. He looked up at her and she could see how unsure he was about her reaction.

“Killian,” she barely whispered, not moving. It was as if he was an illusion that would shatter the second she moved towards him.

“Emma,” he responded, standing up, trying to hide the crushing guilt that he felt when she didn’t walk towards him. It was one of those rare times where he wasn’t able to read her emotions behind her expression of shock. He couldn’t tell if she was happy to see him or not. There was a deafening silence before he said, “I’m sorry.”

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