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April 8th, 2006


Eleven a.m. in the morning.  The phone starts ringing.  Not only am I too tired to get out of bed but also I am quite surprised.  Nobody ever calls me.  Nobody ever talks to me.  Ever.  My enemies never call and neither do the friends who don’t like me. 


I let the answering machine pick up.   I recognized CASC website coordinator Regent Proulx’s voice immediately.  He sounded worried. 


“Jimmy I just have one thing to ask you.  Please do not waste your time writing about unimportant people.”  That was it.  He hung up rather quickly.


So Regent knew about the article I wanted to write.  Regent also knew whom it was I wanted to write about.  But how did Regent know?  It made no sense.  I thought that nobody knew.


My diary had been stolen from my parent’s house a few weeks earlier when I hosted a WWE Pay-Per-View party.  Some of my observations had found their way onto Regent’s CASC web site.  I could never figure out how.  Regent was at the house that night and he said he had no idea who could have stolen my diary or how my words found their way on his web site.   He was as surprised as I was.


I didn’t mind the invasion of my privacy however, because quite frankly, my work was, as always, brilliant.  Exquisite, magnificent, check the thesaurus and be impressed perfect.  Brilliant.


But now my work had reached a new greatness, as if that was possible.  I would be writing about the protégé. Regent’s protégé.  Regent’s successor as CASC website coordinator.  The next great writer of the modern era.  The Next Big Thing. 


Regent, however, did not want me to write anything. 




SherryLynn Page was The Protégé.  SherryLynn Page had graduated from Regent’s Academy of Journalism, at the head of the class with honor and distinction.  Unlike Regent’s other Academy students however, SherryLynn refused to enroll in my Writing Course at Sinclair Laird.  SherryLynn felt that she knew enough about writing that she didn’t need to learn anymore. 


Sherry Lynn was right.  She didn’t need anyone else teaching her how to put pen to paper, least of all me.  SherryLynn was the Pavarotti of proper paragraphs, the Woodsworth of the written word.   In short, Sherry Lynn was the Protégé.  Regent’s Protégé.  Regent’s logical successor as CASC website coordinator and top writer.  She had already surpassed Real Paquette in terms of talent, although that was not considered a major accomplishment.


Regent was wrong.  SherryLynn was not an unimportant person, as he had alluded to in his phone message.  She was, in fact, quite a significant figure in CASC.   At 15 she had cracked the starting lineup for the Express squad on Tuesday nights, an unheard of achievement for someone that young.  Her talent at the forward position was there for all to see. 


But this was not about her hockey skill, or about the Express squad.  This was about Regent and the mystery of why he did not want me write about SherryLynn and why  Regent didn’t publish any of SherryLynn’s articles on the CASC web site  


There were a few reasons that quickly came to mind.  Regent refused to publish Sherry’s work because he was afraid someone would overshadow his own work.  But that excuse didn’t fly.  Regent printed my articles all the time, and my material would overshadow Hemingway on his best day.  Of course Regent might not take too kindly to someone so young already being better than him.  Who would?  Perhaps that was a possibility.


Perhaps Regent was afraid that instead of SherryLynn being seen as his Protégé who was capable of bettering him, she had perhaps already surpassed him.  Perhaps Regent felt that, in his eyes, SherryLynn, the young graduate from his Academy, was already his superior.  Thus Regent refused to print Sherry Lynn’s articles because he did not want anyone else to know what he knew: that SherryLynn was the new king, or in this case, queen, of the written word. 


But that wasn’t it either.  It couldn’t be.  Regent always accepted material from anyone interested in writing for the CASC website.  From the very good (me) and the incredibly uneven (Real Paquette).  No it was something else.


And then the answer came to me, entirely by accident.  A few rough drafts of SherryLynn’s work were lying around the scorekeeper’s bench this past Tuesday night.  I knew I shouldn’t have read them but I did.  I read the pages that were lying around, pardon the pun.  And the words were masterful.  Tenses perfect, the sentences short and sweet and the flow rhythmic.  A cascade of ideal and intelligent text. 


And that was the answer.  Regent did not care whether SherryLynn had surpassed him as a writer.  Regent did not care whether her work might sometimes overshadow his.  The answer was right there in front of me.  SherryLynn may have graduated from Regent’s Academy of Journalism, but in reality, she did not learn anything there.


Perfect tenses, nice short sentences and a rhythmic flow were not things that Regent was capable of teaching.   Intelligent text.  No way.  Regent always said that you never want the reader to think you’re too intelligent.  That may have been easy for Regent to say, since he never had to worry about that.  But SherryLynn had the basics of Writing 101 down pat and she didn’t need any help from anyone.  Not from Regent.  Not from me.



My students at Sinclair Laird had all attended Regent’s Academy.  They always quoted Regent saying, “to unlock the door of creative brilliance we have to look inside ourselves.”  Using a key would be easier in my opinion but hey whatever works for Regent. 


Regent simply did not want anyone knowing that SherryLynn Page’s supreme talent was of her own making, not from his teaching.  Publishing SherryLynn’s work would be irrefutable proof to the entire world that Regent’s Academy was incapable of creating great writers.  Great writers, it turns out, create themselves.