The essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything.Aldous Huxley
The term essay was first used in the 1500’s by Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) to describe his verbal self portraits in words. Virginia Wolf (1882-1941) puts additional context to this idea by using the term “voice”. That means that essentially the essayist is speaking in the work. The experiences, emotions and thoughts of the writer are inside the essay.
As a point of view, the essay is always personal and always revealing. Just as any meaningful conversation is self-revealing about the speakers. The words are there to form the structure for the communication. In a conversation, the participants all have a stake in the content. The speaker is expressing themselves–the inner true self–and the listener is opening themselves in a similar way to the communication with all of it’s complexities and implications. From gravely serious to ridiculously mundane, the communication still conveys information beyond the surface words.
This is one of the things we love about the essay. Just think of the 24-7 cable news channels’ success in capturing our devotion. The news is not just the facts, the news is the means we use to communicate culture, norms and opinions. It is the way we choose-up sides for the sport of community life.
With all this in mind, I ask your indulgence as I serve up my reality for your consideration and invite you to participate in the communication. Thank you for taking the time to read what the essays reveal, and for trusting me enough to reveal yourself as well.