I was recently asked why I put three dots at the end of so many sentences in my writing …
Why an ellipsis when it is the end of my sentence?
So I thought I would sit down and write about a practice that I began when I was 18.
Wikipedia defines an ellipsis as:
“Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, “omission” or “falling short“) is a series of dots that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word, sentence or whole section from the original text being quoted. […] Ellipses can also be used to indicate an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis) […] When placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing.”
Sometimes words “fall short” of what I want to say. Sometimes my thoughts are unfinished, or are melancholy. Sometimes there are no words for what I want to say. Sometimes words are not enough, or words are too much.
Mathematically speaking, a circle is a closed curved shape that is flat. That is, it exists in two dimensions or on a plane. In a circle, all points on the circle are equally far from the center of the circle.
An ellipse (which is not an ellipsis) is also a closed curved shape that is flat. Instead of having all points the same distance from the center point, though, an ellipse is shaped so that when you add together the distances from two points inside the ellipse (called the foci) they always add up to the same number.
More importantly, however, an ellipse is like a circle tipped to the side. It is like taking a mug and looking at it straight on from the top, which shows you a circle.
But if you take that same mug, and tilt it slightly and look at it from a different perspective, the mug becomes an ellipse.
When I use an ellipsis …
I am pausing …
… I am using dots to stand for the words that can’t be said …
… for the words that don’t exist
… for an emphasis on stopping to think about what I said
… for trailing off my thoughts
… as an homage to the folks who have gone before me and were unable to express their thoughts with words
… for people whose lives were hidden by the unspoken …
… I use an ellipsis in place of an ellipse …
… as a way to revisit my thoughts, as a way to tilt my thought on its side and see the world from a different angle. As a way to indicate that my thoughts add up to equal my words no matter where the foci are placed.
There is a heavy emphasis within the dots that I place in a row, 3 at a time.
So … that, dear readers, is why my writing is filled with … ellipses …
Be kind to yourself and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.