"Personal essay — a story comprised of found fact, of analyzed emotion, of fictive memory." Barry Lopez
A good essay can have the power of a good story. Michel Montaigne, the 16th century nobleman, is said to be the father of the personal essay. His topics ran from the profound (grief at losing a friend) to questions of society to the whimsical (wondering about his cat’s social interactions). No topic was off limits. Ralph Waldo Emerson said he felt “written” into Montaigne’s timeless essays. The beauty of the form is it’s flexibility, and the way it can move from personal to academic to narrative. Do you want to write about love? Nature? Your own cat? The origins of string theory? The story of the Empire State Building? A trip you took one summer? As Montaigne wrote, of his 107 essays, Que sais-je? French for, What do I know? Come and let’s explore what you know. Anything goes in this essay writing class where we will talk about the elements of essay-writing that make this delightful literary form a joy to write and to read.