The Essay by Fletcher DeLancey
It is always something special when a writer makes writing part of) the subject of a story.
Meet Professor Jayne Williams, teaching creative writing at the University of Oregon. One day she assigns a “pop essay” to her class: the students have exactly one hour to write about a subject of their own choice. Sitting down to grade these essays, Pr. Williams follows her routine of putting her star student’s (Sarah Northridge) essay at the bottom of the stack, in order to savour it for last.
We then get the entire essay, in which Sarah admits to an attraction to someone in her class without naming the person – could it be Jayne? Of course, professional ethics forbid Pr. Williams to follow up on what she reads, and the reader gets treated to sweet uncertainty until the not very surprising, but touching conclusion of the short story.
Fletcher DeLancey has (to my knowledge) written three more “original” stories which are all very well worth reading, as well as a ton of uber fiction which I haven’t
yet sampled. “The Essay” is one of my favourites of all time. Very likeable, believable characters, coherent story line, and last but not least, impeccable editing. Enjoy!