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Lecture city part 1.


By Jimmy Garoufalis, April 9th 2006.


I’m mad as hell right now and I’ve got a lot to say about these writers and how they teach us to write the wrong way.


So there I was, teaching my Writing Class at Sinclair Laird Elementary School Thursday afternoon.  Three dedicated students, three young girls who wanted to learn how to write.


First there was Sandra from Grade 4.  Right away I had doubts about Sandra.  At our first session she loudly proclaimed that she had recently graduated from Regent Proulx’s Academy of Journalism.  Not only that but she was proud of it.  I knew I’d have to reprogram her.  Sandra would obviously be the weak link in my class.  


I asked Sandra what she had written for Reggie and she told me she had been the editor of his weekly newsletter.


“I wrote an article about Regent which I am so proud of.   I described him as a wonderful writer, a great teacher and a role model for all his students,” Sandra told me.


Well, at least Sandra had a background in fiction.  


Next student in my class was Tharaniya.  Also from Grade 4.  Unlike Sandra, Tharaniya failed Regent’s Academy and felt very sad about it.  She wondered why Regent didn’t give her high enough marks. 


I told Tharaniya that it wasn’t important why she failed Regent’s Academy: the only thing that was important was that she failed.  It was proof that she in fact had talent.


Tharaniya picked up on my line of thinking immediately.   “While it’s never a shame to fail sometimes it is.  In this case it wasn’t.  Is that what you’re saying Mr. Garoufalis?”


I didn’t understand a word Thara said.   She had potential. 


And then there was Ahnjana from Grade 6.  Her disposition was so sweet it was diabetic.  She had also attended Regent’s Academy except she neither graduated nor failed: she had simply dropped out.  It seemed Ahnjana didn’t like writers who only sought attention by attempting different styles just to show off.  Yeah, I don’t like those writers either.


But why did she drop out of Regent’s Academy?  Simple reason.  Ahnjana was hoping that Regent would notice her brilliant writing and compliment her on it.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that brilliant writing was something Regent was incapable of noticing.


I didn’t know how to go about teaching these girls.  I had never attended Regent’s Academy so I was unfamiliar with his teaching techniques.   I also didn’t want to blame Regent for the girls lacking any writing talent but it was his fault.  And in this world we can blame anything on anyone.  Well maybe you can’t blame me.  But everyone else.  Sure.



Regent’s teaching style was different than mine. It had to be.  Mine was efficient.  His wasn’t.  I mean it is always great being me but the worst part of being Regent was, being Regent, I guess.


I was, however, very familiar with Regent’s writing style.  It was on the CASC web site for all to see. 


I mean, read his stuff why don’t you.  There is never a conclusion to be found: Regent loves making his readers wait until his next article to find out what happens next.  He cannot end his articles with an ending.  Part 2 next week he always writes.  Stuff like that.


Not only that but Regent’s use of dots like this …… whenever he let his thoughts trail off was annoying.   Regent always did that and I am quite sure my students picked up this nasty habit.   Maybe that is why he failed Tharaniya and maybe that’s why Ahnjana quit the Academy ….. I don’t know.


Parentheses.  Brackets.  Why do writers use brackets (like this) anyways?  Anything in brackets is considered throwaway stuff. That is what I always taught my students. The words in brackets are too unimportant to be considered part of the regular text.  Yet Regent always uses this method (perhaps he has a reason to do so…I don’t know)


Next week: Part 2 of “Lecture City”  titled “Protégé Hour”