As I read through my copyedited pages, I am struck by my various ticks (writing is deadly for ego; reading through an edited chapter with “track changes” on is like listening to your voice on a tape recorder.)
One such tick is my addiction for connective punctuation — em-dashes, elispses, semi-colons — I love them all. I like the “sound” they make in your head… a morse code for a pause. A codification of hesitation.
Elipses allows you to gather yourself… gather your words. You can almost see the speaker gaze at the ceiling… lick her lips… rub her hands together… as she seeks exactly how to proceed. And when the words aren’t found, when the words fail the writer, they simple trail off into four dots, lost ….
A semi-colon couples together sentences like a train conductor; all aboard, next stop: the point.
That is the power of the semi-colon’s brother the colon: it’s a full stop. With a colon we have arrived; please check to make sure you have not left any personal items in the sentence.
I use connective punctuation as any poet would — for the “sound” they make. Not, of course, for the rules that demand their use; I’m too ill-trained for that. I’m sure my phraseology would give Strunk the heebie-jeebies; I like to think White might understand.