A regular reader wrote in and asked about my proclivity to label essays with straightforward titles that begin with the preposition "on."
I subconsciously - and later in a conscious sense - began to use this format in emulation of Michel de Montaigne, a sixteenth-century French writer often credited with inventing the literary genre of the essay.
I also like to use such titles as a consistent, easily-recognizable cue when I delve into this sort of personal reflection on a given topic, both to forewarn readers who visit the site for hard news, and to keep myself moored to the theme of the post.
Essays, for me, are a way to sort of think out loud, to put down some thoughts that have been bouncing around my head before I lose them in the many distractions of the hyperactive modern world. In a selfish sense I also use essays to get feedback, seeing if readers spot glaring holes in an argument, or if I seem to have struck some sort of chord with my writing.
In some ways I find essays to be my favorite form of writing, as there are no limitations other than those of the imagination. If I choose to deliberately break a grammatical or stylistic norm, I can feel free to do so in an essay, whereas in writing designed for a journalistic or academic audience I have to follow the particular forms and rules for those genres.
Finally, to me the essay is one of the purest, most natural forms of writing I can fathom. It succinctly represents my thoughts - albeit in a far more organized fashion than the relative chaos normally found in my head - and gives the reader a momentary snapshot of where my befuddled brain is.