By Ronda Simmons(With apologies to Clement C. Moore)
Twas the night before deadline, and all through
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse;
My laptop was plugged into the outlet with care,
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of royalties danced in their heads.
I prepared for the worst, an endless all-nighter,
Regretting, again, that I was a writer.
When down in the basement, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
And what did my wondering eyes then perceive?
But a table of spirits, were they heroes or thieves?
The guy at the head was all bearded and drunk.
He couldn’t be Santa unless Santa Claus stunk.
He was dressed in a turtleneck, bulky and gray.
I knew in a moment, it was Pa Hemingway.
When he looked up and saw me, he startled a start;
Straightened his papers and fartled a fart.
He wasn’t embarrassed, he blew out more gasses,
And ignored me completely, and filled up their glasses.
“Now Shakespeare! Now Tolkien! Now Kafka and Yeats!
On Dickens! On Austin! On Faulkner and Keats!
Get back to critiquing, let's hear what you’re writing.
I’m sick of your pissing and moaning and fighting.”
“Excuse me,” I said, my heart quickly beating
“I need some peace, this isn’t a meeting!
You all had your chances when you were still here,
To write your great works, now quit drinking my beer!”
The silence that followed was like that of the tomb,
Until Hemingway belched and woke up the room.
“I’ve got writer’s block, bad,” I said, with a sob.
“If I can’t get past it, I will lose my job!”
“Relax,” said Ernest, “Here’s what you need:
A piece of advice, just sit down and bleed.”
I felt like a toddler, just starting to pout,
“Get out of my basement! All of you, out!”
Faulkner spoke up; he was angry, I knew it.
“I have no patience,” he said. “Kid, you just blew it.
Don’t be a writer, instead just be writing.
Stop being so cowardly, approach it like fighting.”
Tis better to be brief than tedious,” he said.
“I need solitude for my writing,” Kafka woke up and said,
“Not just like a hermit, but as if I were dead.”
They all gave advice, some hard to remember,
Like “Write drunk, edit sober and thank your bartender.”
I stopped to consider, their words sounded true.
I turned to leave them, I had much to do.
And I heard them proclaim as I snuck out of sight,
“Happy writing to all, and to all a good night.”
Wishing all of You Joy this Holiday Season
and a New Year Full of Promise.