I was explaining to Josetta this morning what Jill Widner was looking for in an essay (and Jill meant a Montaigne-esque essay, a “movie of the mind” kind of essay). The first three papers Jill has had them do have been collages. This is the first essay, so Josetta wasn’t sure how to do it.
Anyway, I used the analogy of telling a friend, “Hey, I discovered a box of rare sapphires in the woods yesterday!” I hoped it would be the kind of pronouncement that would make the friend want to ask, “Wow! Really? How’d that happen? How’d you even know to go into the woods and look?” I told Josetta that that statement (“I found a box of sapphires the woods”) would be like your main point, your focus, the thing you would tell the reader in the introduction. I told her the body of the essay, the “movie of the mind,” would be like what you would say to your friend in explanation. “Well, I was sitting at home on Friday night, not planning on going out, planning on staying home and doing laundry this weekend, when I saw an ad in the paper. At first I didn’t believe it, but then I decided to doublecheck the wording, and then I decided to check it out. So I got in my car…” etc, etc, until the whole story was told.
Anyway, I think that might be a way of explaining what a Montaigne essay is – something that not only says something, but takes the reader on the journey of discovering that thing, as well.