This week’s newsletter from Dan Pink contained links to a few websites that turn less into more.
One of those sites was Just the Punctuation.
Here is how it works:
- You paste some text into a box
- hit the submit button
- the program clears away all the words
- all that is left is just the punctuation.
- It’s fascinating. And revealing.
Here’s the example I tried, using an excerpt from my favorite novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.
Here’s the excerpt:
“I cannot have deceived myself,” he said; “I must look upon the past in a false light. What!” he continued, “can I have been following a false path?—can the end which I proposed be a mistaken end?—can one hour have sufficed to prove to an architect that the work upon which he founded all his hopes was an impossible, if not a sacrilegious, undertaking? I cannot reconcile myself to this idea—it would madden me. The reason why I am now dissatisfied is that I have not a clear appreciation of the past. The past, like the country through which we walk, becomes indistinct as we advance. My position is like that of a person wounded in a dream; he feels the wound, though he cannot recollect when he received it. Come, then, thou regenerate man, thou extravagant prodigal, thou awakened sleeper, thou all–powerful visionary, thou invincible millionaire,—once again review thy past life of starvation and wretchedness, revisit the scenes where fate and misfortune conducted, and where despair received thee. Too many diamonds, too much gold and splendor, are now reflected by the mirror in which Monte Cristo seeks to behold Dantes. Hide thy diamonds, bury thy gold, shroud thy splendor, exchange riches for poverty, liberty for a prison, a living body for a corpse!” As he thus reasoned, Monte Cristo walked down the Rue de la Caisserie. It was the same through which, twenty–four years ago, he had been conducted by a silent and nocturnal guard; the houses, today so smiling and animated, were on that night dark, mute, and closed. “And yet they were the same,” murmured Monte Cristo, “only now it is broad daylight instead of night; it is the sun which brightens the place, and makes it appear so cheerful.”
So I copied and pasted that into Just the Punctuation, hit the submit button, and here is what I got:
” , ” ; ” . ! ” , ” ? — — ? — — , , ? — — . . , , . ; , . , , , , , – , , — — , , . , , . , , , , , ! ” , . , – , ; , – , , , . ” , ” , ” ; , . ” .
It gives a whole new meaning to what Dumas was trying to say.
So I decided to try this with the blog post I had written earlier today and was planning to publish later this evening. I copied the blog post into Just the Punctuation, and this was the result:
” ” ( ‘ ) , . , . . ‘ . . ‘ : , – , . ‘ – ? ? . ‘ , ‘ . . , . ‘ , ‘ . . ‘ . ‘ – , ‘ ‘ . . , – . , . ‘ , ‘ . . , ! ‘ , ‘ . ? … .
The post is about a topic that is near and dear to me, and I hope it resonates with you as well. As I said, I think this may be one of my best posts ever, and I think Just the Punctuation makes it even more powerful…
P.S. Feel free to leave your comments in a similar format…