"An Itty Bitty Column on Writing" by Mindy Phillips Lawrence
From Sharing with Writers (Carolyn Howard-Johnson)
March 8, 2009
Let’s learn a little about essays today. No, not those staid old things we read in Eighteenth Century anthologies in college or that some English teacher assigned us. Let’s think about the modern essay.
Several well-known modern writers have excelled at essay writing. Among them are Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, E. B. White, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, James McConkey, Cynthia Ozick, Alice Walker, Philip Levine and John Updike. They used the form to say something poignant and to get a point across.
In school we learned essay writing as a strict five-part form that I advocate you learn and then bend as you wish. I’ve given you links to the basics at the end of this article. I’ve also given you links to present-day essayists so you can see what they have to say and how they went about saying it.
So what can you say with an essay? Almost anything. Here are some examples:
· A significant experience in your life
· An epiphany you had
· What you want to do in the last ten years of your life
· The influence of the Internet, good or bad?
· National health care: for or against?
· Does the war on terrorism have an end?
· Neil Sedaka, “The Immigrant” and how things have changed
· The influence of Irish music on Bluegrass
· The real history of the Suffragettes
So see? You can go fancy-schmancy with your topics or write an essay about why you like tulips instead of roses on Valentine’s Day. It’s all up to you.
ESSAYS – Wikipedia
GUIDE TO WRITING A BASIC ESSAY
DIFFERENT KINDS OF ESSAYS
“THIS I BELIEVE” - NPR
John Updike, “On Not Being a Dove” http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/on-not-being-a-dove-7529
Alice Walker, “Alice Walker Reflects on Working Toward Peace”
Joan Didion, “Why I Write” (excerpt)