To start, I’d like to appreciate and take advantage of Paul Graham’s explanation in The Age of the Essay. An essay should be about whatever the heck is interesting in whatever form it naturally finds fitting. As if to confirm this point, I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack has just begun to sound in my headphones in which the lyrics, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,” motivates me to write about wonders found in the written word when done well.
The World Wide Web provides excellent transport of many manuscripts for those who seek interesting texts. It distributes first and foremost. Secondly, it provides visibility for the author and her work. This exposure allows the author an audience so she may “think well,” as Graham says, through the practice of writing. And in saying, “You are whatever you wrote,” Graham seems to imply that the Internet helps the author’s and essay’s identity through greater exposure. Theoretically, the essay, author and audience are benefiting from their interaction online.
In his essay, Stand Up Comedy and the Essay, AKA Louis C.K. Meet Michel de Montaigne, Taylor Reinhart somewhat links the essay format to the web as well as the real world through his exploration of comedy. Though following Graham’s prompt to write on interesting, real world areas of intrigue (in this case comedy), Reinhart stands to prove a point. Reinhart argues that successful comedy lies in the creation of unique worlds that don’t rely on stereotypes. Perhaps I’m stretching things a bit in order to connect the two pieces; but as I see it, essay writing as with stand-up should spawn luxury and laughter through malleable means. In my opinion, Reinhart is still too rigid in writing. So, the “essential human experience” Reinhart talks about is not one of discovering truth, but of admitting uncertainty. After all, essay writing is an exploration, not an expedition.