All semester writing essays. What do we know about them? How do we approach one? One idea. We don’t think. We know we have to provide a position, an argument on page, and so many will provide formulas on how to do that, that the formula being provided is the only… the one you have to follow. What instructors don’t “teach”, or mention, is mentality. The character of the one writing and what character is most advantageous in writing an essay. Especially a final essay for a semester. My point, do something new. Break molds, especially your molds.
As many of you know, I’m from the wine industry, a realized lexicon of variables. Everything from weather to bacteria, to traffic in the tasting room when considering sales and projections, to the day that just sets itself in front of you. We all wish for conditions, for how much time we’d like to have in writing our essays, where we’d like to write, that our favorite seat in the coffee shop were available, rather than embracing and celebrating what’s right there, what you’re already capable of doing. You write from where you are, not wish that the scene were a different condition.
Essays are peculiar, and what’s even more odd is that the essay is the dominant dote in considering a student’s grade. Not any other form. Essay. I wish it were different. It’s not. So with that we work. With a final essay, what envelops us, whether we elect to adequately estimate it or not, is a sharp inward and outward roar to try a new approach. To write more freely, yes, but more truthfully. Especially with an argument, or set and staunch position. Write like you don’t care and have never cared so much about anything in your writing life prior. Essays are strange, but so are we as humans. We’re not predictable, we have moods, we have interfering preferences and proclivities. We change. We have multitudes, inconsistencies. In our writing, yes in college essays, this can still be set and universally codified in support of the essay’s nexus. The…… Thesis.
One aspect of an essay with which we should all be familiar by now, with which hold and pervade in immediate and reverberated intimacy, is the centrality. What do many just blandly moniker “thesis”, or as I have suggested consider, the PROMISE. You make a promise in your pages, then keep it. How could there ever be ONE way of keeping it. With a final essay, you display your ability to keep a promise. Be not just creative, but explorative, evident and indicative of self-education. And don’t fixate on the “final” qualification. If anything, my hope for students is that they share their mastery of essay writing and their approach and handle, distinct music with words and support of a singular idea.
In my wine days, which still are present, I always dispute template and cookie-cutter approaches to translating varietals, or speaking about certain pours. Where’s the fun in that? And to be more academic, where is the argumentation in that, the personalized and signature rhetoric of a writer, or a student, of a critical thinker? Essays are compositions. And who’s the composer? Who has to prove they are composed and competent, credible in their work? Yes…. WE. The authors, carvers of those pages. The same way a winemaker has to display some prowess and wooing wizardry over the grape they take to make.
In breaking your own mold, or barriers (much I hate that word), we demand more core and charge from ourselves. Forget that it’s the final submission for the semester. Remember that you have an opportunity, to approach the essay differently. To any student reading, I’m daring you to be daring. To dare yourself to write differently. To hold your sentences more amorously. To care for that promise you make to the reader and the essay itself. I know, shedding your own habits and getting away from your already-enacted practices is not as easy as these paragraphs suggest. And why should it be? When you fight, you frame new destiny, you tell something new—new story, new song, new argument, whatever you want it considered. Maybe one thing I haven’t stressed enough alongside everything else I do, like tenets of onus and more freely writing, is fearlessness. IF you exercise onus properly in your essay writing, you’ve experienced that synaptic and circulatory sense and light of fear’s absence. And when writing, it’s luminescent, bizarrely liberating, an added lens to your present present.
Without beating some horse that’s dead or alive or in between, let’s think of not THE essay, but YOUR essay. How you write, rather than being told, or even “taught”. Essays are lights, that provide paths for your readers to see what you see, to feel what you feel, to live as a reader like you do. They may not agree with your nexus, your “thesis”, but so what. That in no way is the intention of the essay. And, truly, forget that word… “essay”. Lock to the word You. Or, YOUR work. YOUR writing. Your thoughts. Find that essays are like wine, honestly. And if you can’t relate to that, the walking somewhere beatific—the beach, a vineyard (there I go again…), the woods, your hometown. You find it beautiful because of the statement made to you. The walk and your observations serve as an argument. Your submissions, especially a final one, is the last walk on which you take your readers.
Your mentality has to be different than it has before. Not just with the last essay in a class, but with EACH piece you submit. The writing, the argument, the promise you make is a qualifier and nowhere-else-found code. Of YOU. If you don’t want to separate from your usual writing sequence, or mold, then move a new way within it, and from it. Adjust your own character and written charisma. Don’t worry about the outcome. Don’t worry about anything. Just write. It’s not an essay. It’s you.