Bill Kraft’s Book Celebrates Life in his Boyhood Home—Strasburg

Bill Kraft, the book and Karla Kraft’s incomparable lemon meringue pie.

Kraft, Bill. "Bill Kraft's Book Celebrates Life in his Boyhood Home-Strasburg." Emmons County Record, 2 September 2010, 2

(Editor’s note: Bill Kraft’s book, “Kaleidoscope: Shapes and Colors of Childhood,” is now available. Kraft is a native of Strasburg and is the youngest of the 11 children of the late Pius and Agatha (Baumgartner) Kraft. Kraft graduated from Strasburg High School in 1958 and from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., in 1962. Kraft is retired, and he and his wife, Karla, live in Sauk Rapids, Minn.)

When I began to write short pieces for magazines several years ago, I had no idea they would evolve into a book. It is true that sometimes the creative process takes on a life of its own. It has its own momentum, its own rhythm. You go with what feels true and honest. And you always try to tell the truth the best way you know how. Anything less is counterfeit and unworthy of the effort.

I think, too, that it is the writer’s responsibility to find what’s good in human nature, to celebrate the fundamental decency of people. My book was written from that point of view. It was written with a very specific tone in mind. I want people who read the book to feel good about human nature. I hope the book is an homage to my hometown, to a time less complicated than the present, to a time when I found a joy and innocence in simple games, boyhood friends and decent people. I tried to do it by shaping a kaleidoscope of experiences into a valentine, an affectionate tribute to things since gone and people never forgotten. I decided to self-publish for two reasons. Self-publishing allows for complete creative control. I wanted to be sure that my point of view remained intact. I did not want to engage in editorial debates about content, tone or style. Secondly, I did not want to negotiate the maze of literary agents and publishers. That’s a process that can take years with no guarantees. At my age, time is no longer the luxury it used to be.

Subscribers will recognize most of the stories, which were previously published in the Emmons County Record. I hope readers will find the additional graphics and complete collection of stories between two covers to their liking and convenience. And I hope I told the truth in a way that will honor my rich cultural heritage and the people who toiled to make it a gift for generations to come.  Much credit for the book goes to my wife Karla who always found a way to jump-start my tendency to go on indefinite hiatus between stories. Her technical expertise and editorial input were indispensable.

Reprinted with permission of the Emmons County Record.

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