The Man with Two Arms and a Fifth Floor Office

Olivia Geier

Staff Writer

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Photo: Carli Kovel

Mr. Lombardo’s mysterious sabbatical has been a topic of conversation in the halls throughout the year so far. I, most auspiciously, had the great pleasure of getting to interview him to discover the great unknown.

He opened up to me, initially, by saying how his first novel took seven years from the beginning to publication. You can imagine that some issues resulted from  the amount of time the novel took up. Mr. Lombardo basically stated that he was a completely different writer from the time he began to the time he finished and started revising. He felt some passages in the novel made him wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?” while others truly reflected his overall growth as a writer. His first novel was a collection of interconnected, making it into a fictionalized autobiography.

Learning from the seven-year novel experience, his main rationale for going on sabbatical was so he could have plenty of time to focus on writing at least one more novel. He wanted to be sure that he could sit down and create something that was going to be tighter and more concise, showing his growth and ideas. He also wanted extra time to put together the Polyphony NET (National Editor in Training) workshop meetings that were held over the summer, alongside the set-up of the online workshop.

In addition, something that Mr. Lombardo has been especially passionate about for the past several years is putting together a Literary Festival at the Latin School. The Lit Festival is currently in the works, and what Mr. Lombardo hopes to bring to the Latin community is many diverse types of writers. The Lit Festival will bring in writers such as playwrights, poets, journalists, screenwriters, etc. to share their own work and knowledge with students. The Festival was a key reason why Mr. Lombardo proposed his sabbatical. It’s something that will be significant and special to students and to Mr. Lombardo himself. Going on sabbatical gave him the opportunity to set it up appropriately rather than working on it sporadically and  inefficiently.

Ultimately, Mr. Lombardo is psyched to be back with everyone. Although he admitted he was nervous about what it’ll be like to jump back into full-time teaching after months of simply working on his own. Nevertheless, he said, “It’s really fun to be back in the classroom, and to be around this age group again… Smart people who are reading books right along with me… It feels great to still be able to create while I’m back, too.” The sabbatical experience was deeply liberating, to the point where he came back into teaching with a disciplined plan set, a clearer head, and a positive attitude towards creating new material.

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