Merry Wanderer of the Night + weekend

Sunday Salon: An Essay? Isn't That The Thing I Had To Write In School?
The Sunday

My mom always asks me why I love essays so much. "I always hated essays when I was in school. I hated writing them and I certainly wasn't searching them out to read for fun." This seems to be the attitude a lot of people take towards essays.

It's unfortunate that creative essays share the word essay with academic essays, because they are completely different. I have to write academic essays for class. I have to read academic essays for class. I don't care much for either practice, even if I am a literary theory person. I mean, I like it as a form of study, but I don't search out academic essays to read on the weekends.

When you say essay to me, these are the things that come to mind. Joan Didion. Travel writing. Montaigne. Ryan Van Meter. Exploration. Narrative. Story. Dialogue. Chuck Klosterman. Michael Chabon. The Believer. Creative.

I'm beginning to realize that when I say essay to most other people this is what crosses their minds: boring.

This is what you make me do when you call essays boring.

I'm sure there are people out there who truly do hate creative essays and do find them boring. My guess, however, is that the majority of people do not. If you open your mind to the idea that a creative essay can be creative, interesting, innovative, you might be surprised by the amount of great writing out there you are missing. And it's all over the stupid name of the genre. This is why a lot of nonfiction enthusiasts have taken to calling it by different names. Creative Nonfiction. Literary nonfiction. Nonfiction writing. But to me these are good names for the practice of writing nonfiction creatively, and not so good for the practice of writing short creative nonfiction pieces. I suppose you could call it just that, short creative nonfiction, just like short stories.

In essence, however, short creative nonfiction pieces are short stories. The generally accepted layout is a little different, but they are essentially the same thing. I think if you explore some essays you will find writers you identify with, writers who thrill you, and writers who make you see things in a different way. At the core, this is what essays are to me: Pieces of writing which make me see things in a new way. And what is there to dislike about that?

If you're interested in reading more essays, please check out my weekly Saturday feature Awesome Essays, or if you looking for something more classical, check out my Montaigne Mondays to explore the father of the essay.

Do you already love essays? Are you thinking about giving them a try? What can I do to make you consider reading an essay?

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Sunday Salon: An Essay? Isn't That The Thing I Had To Write In School? + weekend