Over the holidays I go to read a few text books. I really like Lynne Truss’s book: Eats Shoots and Leaves. It’s not only a great reference book for punctuation, but it’s also a valuable one for fun stories and historical anecdotes. Around the 15th century punctuation changed from informing the speaker to inforning the reader. Actors, speakers and translators/interpreters, develop their own system of punctuation, to guide their spoken words, while still honouring the written punctuation.
Chekov, was assiduous in his punctuation, something that must be gratifying for his translators. He wrote “The Exclamation Mark” a short Christmas story about Perekladin, a man who is proud in the extreme about his meticulous punctuation. Perakladin is very sensitive about his lack of a university education, which he feels, makes him inferior in his colleagues’ eyes. That night, he goes to sleep and dreams of all the punctuation marks that he’s used over the years, and they dance before his eyes. He wakes up in a sweat when he realizes that the exclamation mark is the only one he hasn’t used. In all the years that he’s been writing and working, he’s never used an exclamation mark.
The Life Lesson from Chekov’s short story; is not to worry about what people say. In a world where people’s worth is measured by many kinds of status and prestige, you will waste a lot of energy in trying to compete and trying to belong. The only area you can succeed in, is being you at your happiest, best and most fulfilled. Voice coaching is another way to gain confidence in yourself and your values, your voice and your self-belief. For forty years Perekladin the protagonist in Chekov’s short story, “The Exclamation Mark”, slaved away as an assistant, believing that his lack of a university education made him inferior to his peers. He was liberated by realizing he was immensely good at what he did and deserved salutations and exclamation marks.
I wish you a Happy New Year and Hope that your 2022 is full of exclamation marks denoting joy and delight.