Just Try

Sitting at the kitchen table this morning, getting ready for work, I spied, with my big blue eyes, this:

It reminded me that the origin of our word “essay” is French, “essai,” which I always heard interpreted as “an attempt.” (I don’t actually know French, but I know the things Moliere wrote were called “Essais” and I know Dave Smith wrote some essays called “Assays.”)

So when Bounty wants to tell its French-speaking paper towel customers to try napkins, it tells them to ESSAYEZ. (I picture my French doppelganger in Montreal, finishing her tea, taking a deep breath, hoping it’s going to be a productive day….She’s a lot like me except her clothes look better on her because she’s French.)

And that’s my message to students as they head into a rough draft for their first essay assignment–just try.

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