All writers are, by their natures, communicative. Writing is, after all, something we do because we have something to say. One of the things for which I'm grateful is the generous community of writers in which I find myself. Month after month, we toil alongside each other and struggle to get words onto the page.
I didn't enjoy essays until my eighth grade teacher taught us how to write. We learned freewriting and a whole new world opened up in my journals. I learned freedom on the page and learned that I had opinions - strong ones, and many of them. The more I read, the more opinions I developed. Some were mine, some were from others, some became mine over many years of belief.
In college, I read more widely and learned the art of the essay. I became a Russian major with a dual concentration in Literature and Civilization. More essays, in both Russian and English, followed. (And let me tell you, learning to write a cogent argument in another language is harder than it sounds. And yes, I know it sounds hard.) One of my reading assignments included essays by Montaigne, arguably one of the best essayists to have lived, as well as some of the Russian greats - Tolstoy chief among them, but also others, less well known, perhaps, but still great in their own ways. The "Great Conversation" fascinated me, the idea that all of us are carrying on the same conversation from Plato and Aristotle to Montaigne and Adler.
Then I found the book The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate. Filled with essays on every subject, the one that caught my eye is by Robert Louis Stevenson, called "An Apology for Idlers." My eyes were opened.
After I started sharing my writing a few years ago, I started a blog. After that I began working, (playing, really), with other writers on collaborative projects. When I began putting them together into a collection, I realized I have a lot of opinions, just like when I was younger. I share them here, with you, in the hopes that you, too, have opinions and that we, together, can continue in the Great Conversation. Enjoy.