The personal essay is supposed to be intimate with the reader in a way that sets up a relationship with them. At first this was confusing to me since I’m not sure how to be intimate to a reader through writing. I then had an epiphany when I read about Seneca and how his prose was like a conversation with rhetorical questions and replies to the questions he asks. This was also present in Cataline’s letters when I was translating them from Latin to English. I felt like I knew him through his writing and how he expressed his thoughts. He used a lot of repetition to prove his point as well as using rhetorical questions that made you think. When writing a letter to a friend, I tend to almost talk to myself anticipating the reader’s response. Adding a personal aspect to writing intrigues the reader to continue reading in order to get to know the writer. This is something I wish to include in my personal essay. When I’m writing, I will have to remember to include aspects of a letter and try to show my personality to the reader.
Another quality of the personal essay that I want to master is honesty. It is easy to lose yourself in writing and lie unintentionally. While writing this essay, you might even learn something about yourself by analyzing what you were honest about and what you lied about. I want to be as honest as possible so that people believe me. As a child, I would always lie about little things to my friend. It got to the point where she didn’t believe anything I said. Now, I rarely lie to people. I might say some white lies here and there to spare other people’s feelings. I want to make sure I’m creditable.
An obstacle that I’m dreading about the personal essay is choosing what I should write about. Picking a topic will probably be my biggest challenge to overcome. I want my topic to be interesting, personal to the reader and believable.