There’s no hiding the fact that the most chosen method of punctuation adopted within my writing is the comma. I’m almost sentimental to the little thing, taking to heart each time I strike a pen (digitally or handwritten), for its inclusion. But what is it exactly that draws me so intently to using the comma, particularly when the very way I use it would make an English major spawn a grey hair, or two?

To me, writing is about creating atmosphere, taking an individual, in this case, you, on a journey deep into my story. Telling a story is just as much about the words you read as it is about how you read the story. As a child, I struggled to read, gasping with each word while receiving instructions repeated by my mum to sound the words out. To this day I’m phonetically a terrible reader, and writer for that matter. If that’s even a thing. Tonight I also had to look up the difference in spelling between ‘breath’ and ‘breathe’. Yet here I am, a self proclaimed writer by night, splashing commas across my little piece of art on the internet.

I value speed reading. I speed read. In fact, most informative texts I read are skimmed, my eyes seeing the words rather than reading them, churning through a page in seconds in place of minutes. But then there are stories, and those, they steal my time, my hours, and my days. I surrender myself to the authors layout, typeface, their grammer, being controlled by periods, colons and commas, captivated in romance at the site of an Oxford comma. It’s a love story in words and ink. I rarely speed read a story.

I often find myself wondering if you, the reader, particularly of a piece such as this, whether you pause when I ask, just like then. Are you slowing down to exist in the moment or are you letting it slip by, as if the words won’t be there when you look back? The comma is always intentional, always.

I can only hope that if you’ve ever read more than one article of mine, that maybe you’ll slow down just that little bit more, to experience the words rather than read them, because that’s my intention for you after all.


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5 thoughts on “Comma, a love story.

  1. Hello Ivan! I found your article by chance.
    I’m also a big fun of the comma just like of many other punctuation marks as well. Punctuation marks exist in order to make the text more alive and indeed to create an atmosphere; the atmosphere the writer wants to create. They are tools in the writer’s hands.
    I’ll be honest though. Although I liked the article, I didn’t like the fact that you speed read or even that you value it. I wasn’t expecting that, granted the topic of the article — unless you said this only in relation to informative texts!

    1. Hi Lazaros!

      Thanks so much for stumbling across my small slice of the web. Hope you enjoyed some of my writing.

      I think speed reading has its place, for certain texts, and even jobs. During my academic and scientific background for instance, due to the sheer volume of documents and papers I’ve had to read, speed reading has a place. For stories, where the writer really places emphasis on creating emotion, I think it’s nice to slow down and be taken on a journey through reading. Slow reading is also relaxing, therapeutic almost in those instances.

      Would you agree?

      Thanks again for stopping by :)


      1. Your comment reminded me of a quote that the art of reading consists into knowing which parts of a text you should skip, granted that many times a writer might be just babbling. This is a bit relevant to speed reading. Indeed, sometimes speed reading might have its place. I do see your point and I used to do that as well. Now I think I slow read almost always, mostly because as you said it is more relaxing. No need to hurry; and if there is a need to hurry, it might probably be a better idea to get rid of the thing that makes us be in a hurry — at least when this is possible…

        Cheers! :)

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