Essays on the Essay
and Other Essays

by Eric LeMay


For Mister Essay Writer Guy,
Dinty W. Moore
who has three bees in his nose

My thanks to the generous coders, on whose work I've relied for many of these pieces, and to Scott Black, whose keen thinking about the essay has shaped these pieces for the better.

Thanks also to the friends who have support my work: Janice Clark, James Hennigan, Jennifer Kabat, Renita Romasco, and Jill Talbot.

A special thanks to the editors at Zone 3 Press for their support and to Amy Wright in particular, for her generosity as an editor and example as an essayist.

And thanks to Kristin and Roland LeMay, for more than I can ever acknowledge.

Some pieces in this collection have previously appeared in other venues through the support of fine editors: Nicole Walker at Bending Genre ("100 x 10"); Jill Talbot and Justin Daugherty at Sundog Lit ("drive, he sd"); Erin Wilcox and Amanda Dambrink at Drunken Boat ("The Montaigne Machine"); Leonardo Flores at the Rio Grande Review ("About a Bee"); Ander Monson at Essay Daily ("Monster Essay"); Thomas Mira y Lopez at The Sonora Review ("Random Baby"); Sean Bishop at Better ("Threat Lexicon"); Susanne Antonetta at Bellingham Review ("On Nonsense" and "Hic Sunt Dracones"); Sarah Wells and Michelle Webster-Hein at River Teeth ("The Killer Bee"). Thanks to Dene Grigar and Kathi Inman Berens for including “The Montaigne Machine” in the electronic literature exhibitions at The Monongalia Arts Center in 2012 and the Boston Convention Center in 2013.


Eric LeMay is the future of the essay, but fortunately he's here now. He writes and assembles and creates and builds and digitizes essays. He takes new media and uses those media to show us what the essay can be by remembering what it has been while transforming it into something it has never been. His essays are sometimes videos, sometimes digital games, sometimes video games, sometimes text taking us to new places. He writes an essay about the essay that asks if it's an essay. He writes an essay about nonsense that makes sense out of nonsense, and blessedly, nonsense out of sense. His essays are about bees and babies and randomness. They're all beautiful and unsettling, and I admire him and them very much.

- Ned Stuckey-French, author of The American Essay in the American Century

The first collection of its kind, Essays on the Essay and Other Essays combines the delight of a Wu-Tang name generator with glimpses into NSA search-monitors and the ways a baby is like a “readymade.” LeMay’s elegant digital forms invite readers to join in his essay-making; they show us how essays have always relied on chance and multiplicity in shapes as reflexive and as boundless as a Möbius strip.

- Sarah Minor, author of The Persistence of the Bonyleg: Annotated

“Is an essay about the essay actually an essay?” Sometimes I fear there’s no more fun left in the world—then I am confronted by the Wonderlandgenius of Eric LeMay’s newest curation and I am relieved, fun and world. Meditating on a variety of existential questions about the nature of things, metaphors, words, bees, children, dragons, friends whose names are not John, the imagination and the imaginary, LeMay takes to task our relationship with things and facts. Internet, social media, the immediacy of information, the overwhelming-ness of it, what is and is not trending—all this has changed the way we read and learn. Here’s an essay that struggles with that change, remains caution of it, and is also in love.

- Leia Penina Wilson, author of i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown)

This little gem of a collection is full of diversions, surprises, and keen thoughts about the parameters of the essay and the raw materials that help shape/shake it. Reading these essays—though I suspect the act of encountering LeMay’s work involves something even more than “reading”—is a heady delight.

- Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses

Zone 3 Press

Zone 3 Press
Copyright 2017