The University of Broken Glass is an illusion; it is the result of too much alcohol and a slight inclination to rant uncontrollably; it is the outlet for someone (namely the main author) to indulge in the usage of semicolons, the most underrated punctuation mark in a majority of written languages; most importantly, it saves the friends of the before-mentioned author the annoying ramblings of an overworked NGO worker.
Who am I?
HeJin Kim (김혜진) is a Korean adoptee, a traveller, an a foodie. She has crossed the gender divide, and moved through two continents to end up living in a third; as a result she eats kimchi with her pap and wors, and makes kimbap for her friend’s braais. An autodidact in every way, she has overeducated herself in many useless things, considers correct use of the semi-colon the apex of sexiness. Lastly, she wonders sometimes why these bios are always in the third person while being written by the person in question, though she kinda thinks it’s cute.
What’s up with the semicolon ramblings?
Semicolons are the most underrated punctuation marks; they have all but disappeared in today’s written English, relegated to simply conveying emotions through smileys online. Marginalised, semicolons deserve true advocates for their cause! Since Ben Jonson started using them systematically for the first time in English literature more than four hundred years ago, they have been stigmatised and discriminated upon; ridiculed as old-fashioned, and considered too complicated, or simply snubbed at as being merely “optional”, the truth is simple: they are as important and valid as commas, periods, quotation marks, brackets, question and exclamation marks.
In conjunction with the colon, Virginia Woolf used it liberally, turning sentences into pure art; she considered that “the difference between them is too negligible to be grasped by the brain of man”, all the more reason to lift them up to that place of honour where they belong. I would almost describe its usage as getting a tattoo: painful persistence in order to achieve beauty, and strangely addictive.
The University of Broken Glass is perhaps just that: a place of refuge for the semicolon…