I never like the first Monday of the month. Right after the bell rings to release the students, all the teachers have to go to the auditorium. The staff meeting means less time for grading and that Xavier is going to be in daycare for an extra hour as I learn about the latest school district’s latest acronyms. We have a ton: AYP, CFA, PPP, and SOL (I’m serious, but it’s not what you’re thinking – it’s Standards of Learning) to name a few.
The February staff meeting began with our principal saying, “Congratulations to our own Karl Kronlage whose book will be published by Slush Pile Reader.” I scanned the crowd looking for my wife – she had to be the one who told the principal.
We have a large staff – there are 2,700 students and close to 200 teachers. Right away, the teachers around me started congratulating me, telling me they didn’t know I had written a novel, what was it about, and could they have an autographed copy.
Twenty-two years ago when I wrote my first manuscript, I freely told people that I wanted to write novels. But as the years went on and people asked if I any of my books were released yet, I felt like a fraud or a failure saying, “I’ve written three novel but none of them are published.”
I hesitate telling anyone that I have written a novel. When is someone a writer? After writing a novel? Getting it published? Making money off of it? Earning enough to quit the day job? Maybe I have the wrong question. When does a writer stop telling people that he or she writes?
I went part-time twice to write Saint Peter Killed God (2000-2001 and 2007-2008), but I didn’t advertise it. If I did, then I’m sure people would have wondered – when is Karl getting published?
Now that the cats out of the bag, I’m a little overwhelmed. Just trying to make copies, I’m stopped by two or three people asking me questions about my book and congratulating me. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to act. I just smile a lot.
My wife said that she told the principal because he always asks the staff to email any good news. I guess she did the right thing but I feel like I’ve been exposed, which isn’t such a bad thing.