I’m doing the Comment Challenge over at motherreader.com and Lee Wind’s blogs this month, which has really been a great kickstarter for me and for this site. But it’s also been a bit overwhelming. The idea is to leave five comments a day on other kidlit blogs out there, which is a great and lofty goal. But to get to know a new blog I like to read lots of posts and that takes time, which means I’m not updating my own blog. And it means I’m not doing what I should really be doing, which is Writing for Love and Insulation. (On the brighter side, it does mean I’m spending less time on facebook, which is one of my new year’s resolutions.)
To Feed the Beast, I thought I’d do a quick post on another resolution, so here’s a brief history of Exclamation Points and Me.
When I was at N.C. State, one of my journalism professors had an expression: “Don’t start with a quote unless the pope says ‘*$^#.'” (Rhymes with spit.) The idea was that beginning a news story with a quote was a copout, and you should reserve that move for … well, I explained that already. Another thing you seldom use in journalism is the exclamation point. So I added that jubilant piece of punctuation to the pope mantra: “Never use an exclamation point unless the pope says ‘*#&@!”
Fast forward more years than I care to admit. I’m more cynical in some ways, but less cynical in others. I have continued to keep the exclamation point encased in glass as an emergency reserve. But in the cyber world (which didn’t exist when I was in college), people use writing to converse, and so they also use exclamation points. They use them a lot. They use them to connote enthusiasm and good feelings when fonts don’t do words justice. They use them to connote optimism. They use them connote anger. And happiness. When I found out about my book sale, I let myself use one. (ONE?!!!!! said my friend Annie, though she was glad to see it; she’s been after me to up my exclamation point quota for quite some time.)
If there was a standard font set I could use — a font set with names like Sarcasm, Just Kidding, Totally Awesome, Piss Off and Thank G-d! — I might not need to break the glass on the exclamation points. But my font set just has Times and Euphemia, so I’ve decided to liberate a few of the exclamations. I’m not going to use them by the barrel load, but I’m going to use them more. (I actually used them on the envelope for the holiday greeting to my friend Suzanne. She noticed right away, in part because her daughter does dramatic readings of all of their holiday notes.)
More than you needed to know, but you’ll see more exclamation points from me, at least informally, in 2010. There may even be more on this blog. And if I get another book sale, I might use two. Or three! Unless, of course, someone comes up with a Psyched-Out-of-My-Mind font. I’d use a font like that. Definitely.
Got an idea for a font? Suggest it in comments at the end of this post!