To essay or not to essay, that might be a question, but how would it amount what the father of modern consciousness said? The question to essay or not to essay would beg other answers than the one our most famous Dane had queried. What do I swear to when I write an essay? And now here we get to the rub, to write or not to write, essay or no, that there is a question worthy of our Prince.
I once examined the possibility of there being fictional essays–I am not so sure that Montaigne had not already examined this potential, possibility. Postures; personas; his much of modern consciousness in the West had been formed by Shakespeare or Montaigne before him?
Why would I assume that this idea of a fictional essays was something unique in the history of letters? Personas are everywhere in non-fiction anyway, and what is it that we mean when we say fiction.
That wouldn’t even be hubris to assume what I have herein said I have assumed.
‘Essay,’ the word, independent of context–herein let it be understood that context is syntax–is simply this or that, a word–just a word? Is it a verb or is it a noun? Context again.
I write an essay, herein a noun; I essay when I write an essay, herein verb and noun.
A verb as well as a noun? It is the same in French, the origin of the word, the origin of its meaning herein from Montaigne . . . just recall the opening essay in his oeuvre, Les Essais . . . “To philosophize is to learn how to die,” yes, quoting Cicero, of course we have before us an English translation of Montaigne’s French translation of Cicero’s Latin, but there is something in it that hits the mark, no? What then does that mean to say that philosophizing is a preparation for death?
To die, to sleep, perchance to write again?
I prefer the Shakespearean play on words there, not the stage performance but the joissance of what Hamlet says, what Shake-scene has our most royal Dane say . . . to be or not to be, thus, to be or to become, for not to be is not being and not being is what exists when one is becoming.
But herein the blog’s the thing to capture the conscience of the reader? Other questions arise; how prepared am I to set forth into the forrest? If I were another kind of man I might write an essay on blogging in my blog, or would it merely be a blog entry, and how do they differ, perhaps in the way a journal entry differs from an essay, even a personal essay–but then, aren’t journal entries personal essays of a kind–the form is plastic, as is the novel as form . . . modern forms. The forms from antiquity have been fossilized for millennia.
What are the different kinds of personal essays than the literary varieties I had become used to, at least those we have called literary in our tradition of essay writing–there is still a tradition of this, no?There is still a value called literary in spite of what too many who imagine themselves educated say, think, believe.
Aren’t letters essays? Yes? No? Otherwise what? But then, they too are different than blog entries, thus themselves different from journal entries . . . what are we trying to say–there is no we here, you say. Nonsense, I say. That’s just you trying to avid responsibility again. We’re masters at this.
I am always we.
It is we who are trying to say here, the reader completes the text? You, my hypocrite brothers and sisters. To be a blogger or not to be a blogger might be a question for another blogger to answer, but then, you are all of you still hypocrites, as I am, j’accuse moi.
I do not call myself a blogger, I eschew what so many readers and writers of blogs have accepted and remain comfortable with saying . . . I am now beginning to question where the limits, the boundaries of an essay begin and end, where they begin and end? Aren’t these the same place, like a terminal (a terminus) on a subway line? When up against the short story or flash fiction, what then is the essay. It is important for us to have some working idea of what the form is, no?
The latter in the above comparison, flash fiction, sometimes enters a grey room with the prose poem. Perhaps in this way the author is the final authority or the prime authority (which is What Levi-Strauss meant in his French when he called all First Peoples, les primitifs, the English translation of which suffered from the subtractive connotations the word has in our tongue, off our tongues . . .)
Here then are the words this other me would say if I were this other self saying something I have not yet had the inclination to say, what then must I say . . . I am writer, author, narrator, expositor–essayer . . . what am I getting at, if I am at all getting at anything?
To blog or not to blog–here I go again. Repetition becomes motif–that, in itself, another motif: the motif of motif.
I have been blogging for how long now? Need I actually count? I started blogging with The October Revue, the sister view of this one here, The Falling Leaf Review [blog]. The October Revue was also called The October Literary Revue. Literary was something I thought I needed to highlight. It might still be something I need to do. I also think that there are too many intelligent people who might be put off with the inclusion of the word ‘literary,’ perhaps as pretentious. I still publish the O. R.–it is now called REVUE 1 to correspond with its URL, revue1.wordpress.com
I published this review from 2007 to 2017, the summer of the latter, monthly or quarterly issues collected in the Pages section, an on-line literary review of essays, short stories, prose pieces of indeterminable genre, poems, et cetera. In the blog portion, some of the former as well as photos and videos (these being films created by me from videos I have taken over the years . . . sometimes I called them video poems, other times other referents have been used).