The occasion was a seminar sponsored by our local branch of the Editors' Association of Canada. Led by Frances Peck, we spent the day considering (and arguing about) punctuation and mechanics. If I've already lost you, you're probably not an editor. But if you are still with me, consider some of the wonderful things Frances said.
She reminded us that punctuation marks help us navigate our way through sentences, indicating pauses and also helping us make connections. She used phrases like "maintaining syntactical interest" and employed beautiful words like "idiosyncratic" - and best of all, she offered the important-to-any-editor caution that hyphens might drive us mad, describing those small black marks as "the mosquitoes of punctuation."
Goofy-sounding to a non-editor? Probably. But did I learn a lot? You bet!