This past weekend I was in Chicago for a scholarship competition at Shimer College (which is very possibly where I will be next year) that had to do with Michel de Montaigne’s essay Of Repentance. Our task was this: to read the essay in advance of coming to the competition, then to write a timed essay in response and discuss it with the other prospective students. Having gone to small Montessori schools my whole life, I was no stranger to the essay and the Socratic dialogue. But I wasn’t the only one. All those kids were incredibly smart – I would be thrilled to go to school with all of them.
This experience made me feel even more dramatically the hunger I’ve been having for some analytical discourse. Really, there’s not much I enjoy more than sinking my teeth into some text or another and analyzing the crap out of it with some sharp minds. This kind of discourse happens mostly in academic settings, though, and I’m not in one of those at the moment. So, what’s a girl gotta do to get some intellectual action around here?
If anyone else is jonesing for some good reading, why not check out this Mark Twain essay? It’s dear to me, and it’s just as clever as all his fiction is. And it’s short enough to hold your attention, you Internet people you.