Saturday, September 4, 2010
Published, Oh, No!
My senior year in High School the English teacher, Mr. Kuehnl, asked to keep something I'd written for an assignment because he liked it. I was pleased to be asked and said, Yes."
Months later the school was going to put out a magazine and I submitted something for it. Mr Kuehnl asked if it would be okay if they used something else I'd written for his class instead and I told him that was fine with me.
I'd completely forgotten about the assignment he had kept, and when the magazine was published I was embarrassed to see that was in it. Thinking nobody but the teacher would ever read it, I'd shared some embarrassing personal information.
Fortunately the publication came out near the end of the school year and I wouldn't have to see most of the other kids much longer.
It was the first thing I ever had published and, while even then I wanted to become a professional writer, it certainly wasn't a completely positive experience. Yes, it was well written, but I would never have consented for it to be published where my fellow students could read it if I'd realized it was what the teacher had asked about.
Since he was in charge of the school magazine every year, I suspect he'd kept it specifically to be used there. He probably knew I wouldn't give permission for publication if I remembered what he had kept.
In spite of the way he tricked me, I still consider Mr. Kuehnl one of the best teachers I ever had.