Hurray! It's exclamation day!
Last week, we celebrated international Women’s Day, today it’s *drum roll*…
Yes, NATIONAL EXCLAMATION POINT DAY today!
That’s ! Day in the US, at least according to a bit of a random website. I haven’t been able to track whether it’s legit, and who proposed it, and to what end. Is having a bit of fun with ! a good enough reason?
Joking aside, registering days to celebrate things/groups/people is a great idea, not only in order to honour them, but also to draw attention to their neglect and/or importance to life. Their contribution. That’s certainly something one can get behind in relation to punctuation. Crucial but unseen and thus under-valued.
Here are all the punctuation-honouring days I found. Rest assured they’ll get their blog entries in the course of the year!
World Semicolon Day by which is meant suicide prevention. By which is meant continuing to live, rather than setting a full stop to one’s existence. Project Semicolon led by Amy Bleuel started the day in 2013. She lost her dad to suicide, and eventually also chose to pass over in that way. However, on 16 April, in memory of her dad, Amy posted the following words on Facebook that went viral, giving rise to the project. ‘A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence if your life. P.S. Your Story Isn’t Over’
World Emoji Day. I mean, need anyone say more??? Yes, I need to say more. This date is not random: most devices show the calendar emoji as 17 July which was picked in order to memorise the day iCalendar scheduling was introduced at MacWorldExpo in 2002. Other devices show other days for this emoji. Facebook, e.g., has 14 May. Zuckerberg’s birthday (no self-aggrandising surprise there…).
Apostrophe Day on 15 August. No idea who came up with this and why.
And September is a rich month for punctuation: 8 September is the World Ampersand Day.
Proposed by brand designer Chaz LeSimone in 2015 after the success of his ampersand art posters. I love what he says about the sign, so am just copy-pasting it from the website: ‘From jotting a shorthand “and” to branding corporate name, this curly, quirky little character is ubiquitously useful. It’s also quite aesthetic…’. It’s true, the ampersand is ‘fun & functional’
Teacher Terry Shay, used the book The Dot by writer and bookshop owner Peter Reynolds on 15 September 2009 for class teaching. The Dot is about a little girl who doesn’t feel confident, believing she can’t draw. The dot appears in her life and encourages her to grow. The International Dot Day stands for creativity and courage, and you can add your own dot to hashtagged social media.
And 24 September is the US National Punctuation Day, encompassing all of those beautiful signs. The National Punctuation Day is celebrating its 19th birthday this year, and still going strong. You’re invited to join the festivities! Newletter agent Jeff Rubin proposed the day and maintains a charmingly noughties-vibe website. ‘One of the pleasures of being a punctuation nerd’, he writes, ‘is discovering other punctuation nerds.’ Hastening to add that “nerd’ implies a delightfully curious person, rather than the judgy obsessed Sheldon Cooper kind.
And it’s true, I find it again and again that people just love talking about punctuation. They tell me how they really hold onto a certain mark (or all of them), and what kind of memories they cherish, and how important punctuation is for their sense of style in reading and writing. It’s like my book or articles (perhaps because it’s not “just” hypothetical punctuation love, but really “out there” in book format and published by reputable outlets), it’s as if my stuff has given people permission to be nerdy, obsess, pause and attend. To love something small, and seemingly insignificant. And that’s exactly where I see my contribution. I’m a punctuation nerd and UNAPOLOGETICALLY so, and you can be that, too. We can nerd it out together.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find a celebratory day for the hyphen, comma, full stop, question mark, or parentheses. So if you have a soft spot for any of those, here’s how to grab a day for them!