what is an essay?

The other day I listed several different types of essays with interesting adjectives, some of which intrigued me (not to say baffled).  I've been thinking about them and I was planning to do something about them.  My power is almost gone (I mean my battery, not my power) but I want to make this a commitment before I shut down.. 

First:  essay   noun  1 a short piece of writing on a particular subject.2 formal an attempt or effort: a misjudged essay in job preservation.• a trial design of a postage stamp yet to be accepted.  verb   1 formal attempt or try: " Donald essayed a smile."   ORIGIN late 15th cent. (as a verb in the sense ‘test the quality of’): alteration of assay, by association with Old French essayer, based on late Latin exagium ‘weighing’, from the base of exigere ‘ascertain, weigh’; the noun (late 16th cent.) is from Old French essai ‘trial’.

Thats all for now, the Blue Jays game is still on, so I'll sign off and plug in. (Put out the light and then put out the light.")

So now it's September 5 and if anyone cares we lost in the 19th inning. AAARGH!  Back to the essay(s).

I came across the source of my list of essay types. Its from CWIlLA - Canadian Women in the Literary Arts - with a notice out asking for women (in the literary arts) to contribute some writing, that is, essays, as follows:  "Especially encouraged are innovations that seek to revitalise or re-imagine the form of the essay itself; some examples include (without being limited to): the aphoristic essay, the collaborative essay, the dramatic or dialogic essay, the polyphonic essay, the long poem as essay, the meditative essay, the personal essay as witness, the visual essay, "  and it goes on to say that they encourage all genres and types of women too. Now that takes some thinking about.

This may take loge than I expected.  

aphorism   noun  a pithy observation which contains a general truth. the old aphorism ‘the child is father to the man’. [ mass noun ] : the debate begins and ends at the level of aphorism, with commentators saying that something must be done.• a concise statement of a scientific principle, typically by a classical author. the opening sentence of the first aphorism of Hippocrates.  DERIVATIVE  Saphorist noun,  aphoristic adjective,  aphoristically, adverb,   aphorize (also aphorise) verb                         ORIGIN  early 16th cent.: from French aphorisme or late Latin aphorisms, from Greek aphorisms ‘definition’, from aphorizein ‘define’.

This definition makes an aphoristic essay sound as if it wold be a tedious lesson.  I don' t write in aphorisms  -  more like parables. I do stop short of saying, "My point is, and I do have one." Perhaps I should, because  people often don't get my point. I remember in one speech I made, I was telling my audience how difficult I found it to make Jello.  I actually forget what point I was trying to make, but it wasn't quite as simplistic as the advice I received from  a member of the audience after my speech. This woman came up and said, "It helps if you count to sixty," meaning that's how many strokes I should stir Jello.  I don't think that was what I was trying to communicate. So maybe scrap the aphoristic essay.

Actually, that is a very useful piece of advice and I have used it a lot, out of context.  I'll leave you with it for now.