The Fool's Errand
by T. Renee Perry
A professor of mine asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her. She was applying for her doctorate at the university.
At first, I was just plain shocked! I had taken every class she taught in the English department, I knew she thought highly of my writing skills in the classroom setting. It never occurred to me that she revered me as a writer.
Turns out, it was true and my second reaction was sheer angst. I had never done this before. How was I to create a letter she and I could be proud of, much less capture what a fantastic teacher she was.
I didn't even know where to begin. Should my tone be cordial, professional, could I add humor. What should be included, I only knew her in the classroom setting and every now and again I chatted with her at a coffee shop we both frequented.
I was lost, it took hours to get anything good down. I looked at the few templates on a software program I had at the time and did my best to match it up. In the end, I wrote 4 different letters and I let her choose which she thought best.
She loved all four, kept all four and she never revealed to me if she really used all three like she teased she would, or if she just picked the one in which I called her a “queen.”