I won't claim that they are the most knowledgeable opinions. Sometimes I'm unsure whether a comma or a semi-colon is called for. I use punctuation more because it "feels" right than because it fits within the rules set for by Strunk and White. That must be the creative side of me leaking out.
For a long time, I had a love affair with the ellipses. You know, those three cute little dots that allow a thought to linger. . . I still find the ellipses enjoyable, but don't use them as often as I once did.
The dash -- can't remember if it's technically an em dash or an en dash and I don't really care -- also has a place in my compositional heart. It lets me interrupt myself, which is something I do frequently when I'm talking.
As an editor trying clean up other people's writing, the bane of my existence has always been the exclamation point. Do we really need to make that many exclamations? And even if the situation calls for a statement to be delivered with that much enthusiasm or emphasis, in my mind there is never an excuse for the mulitple exclamations. Seeing !!!!!! in a letter or article just makes my skin crawl.
A strange thing happened, however. I started blogging and I started finding myself using the exclamation point more freely -- though never in multiples. What's more, I use it in combination with the question mark on a fairly regular basis. How crazy is that?!
Do other people think about punctuation like I do? Obviously some must because the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves was popular enough to make it to the book section of Costco. (Strangely, I've never read it. ) And way before Lynn Truss turned her frustration with punctuational ignorance into a best-seller, Schoolhouse Rock addressed the use of punctuation in the context of catchy grammar lessons.
Do you have a favorite piece of punctuation? Or are you like E.E. Cummings, who felt that punctuation was optional?