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I'm in the Room


Lawrence Weill, Ph.D.



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Beautiful baby boy Allen Johnson was adored by his family, that is, until his parents decided to have another kid without consulting him first, no less. That is when Allen began to fade. As a child, Allen was like most other American boys, playing baseball and fantasizing about the major leagues. The one crucial ingredient missing: talent. The discovery of the opposite sex explodes the ballgame, and he quickly forsakes his homerun heavy hitter hopes and focuses all his energy to become the focus of the pretty girls and the popular kids. Despite his efforts to stick out, he remains invisible. Failing in his attempts to garner the attention of the most popular girl in school, or, for that matter, of pretty much anyone in his school, Allen decides the best method for becoming visible is to become a college student, certain that his erudition, average though it may be, and his choice of adopting a Bohemian lifestyle will allow him to stand out from the hordes of other above average, carefully non-conformist young people attending college. Unfortunately, Allen Johnson remains anonymous. Despite living in the Halcyon days of being a college student, Allen continues to be unfulfilled and vexed.

In his mid-twenties, Allen realizes his near invisibility has made him the antithesis of his dreams. He works in a nondescript cubicle, lives in a tiny house in a subdivision of identical tiny houses near a small, invisible city in the Midwest, with a wife and child he has too little time himself to see. Before he takes his place as the anonymous and invisible American Everyman, Allen makes one last push for success as an academic and teacher. Upon which he devolves even further until emerging with the ultimate success: happiness. With wit and wry philosophical humor, Lawrence Weill melds his diverse experience—ranging from a philosophy professor, to university president, to outdoorsman and gardener of the South, to visual artist—with this penetrating story of an American hero who learns, as we all hope to do, the meaning of life.

Download a sample chapter (PDF).
About the Author

Lawrence Weill is an author and artist in western Kentucky. He has published two previous works, his debut novel Incarnate (2013), and Out in Front (2009), a nonfiction book about being a college president. Dr. Weill was the president of Gordon State College from 2002-2010. While there, Gordon increased enrollment by 20%, built three residence halls, a student center annex, a state-of-the-art nursing building, and became a state college. From 2011-2012, after being president, he taught philosophy at Gordon State College. His work has appeared in a wide range of local, regional, and national journals.

Dr. Weill and his wife live in the woods overlooking a beaver pond next to a wildlife preserve. They love to travel when he isn’t engaged in his art. They are the parents of two sons and are grandparents have four grandchildren. Lawrence is also an avid outdoorsman and gardener.

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