Non men che saver, dubbiar m’aggrada.
Dante, Inferno XI
For it is myself that I portray.
Montaigne, “To the Reader”
Come here often?
We’ve both been around the block a few times. In fact, I think I may have even seen you loitering in my back pages. I don’t hold it against you. It’s like the old joke: we’re both here, after all. My apologies if that sounds slightly salacious. But just as Montaigne wished he could appear naked, and worried that he’d be cast into the boudoir, it’s that desire to be raw and that need to cook, wanting to blurt out everything and wanting, too, to be discreet, that creates the maddeningly necessary friction for essays. It’s that thinking about what you think you thought. Raw rarely wins.
I want something from you and you want something from me, and I’m not trying to just be chivalrous when I say I know I owe you a good time, in the broadest sense. What I want from you is more complicated, reader…