Friday, October 25, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Pub Date

By Ellen Meister

The following poem is presented with apologies to Clement Moore ... and to anyone who thought it was autobiographical. It exists at the intersection of fiction and wishful thinking ...

‘Twas the night before pub date and all through the house
Not a PC was stirring, nor trackball, nor mouse;
The bound books were stacked by the front door with care,
In hopes that the critics would like what was there.

The writer was nestled all snug in her bed,
While visions of Kirkus-love danced in her head.
The kids in their jammies, the spouse drunk on booze,
Had just settled in for a long winter’s snooze.

When out on the porch there arrived such a thwack
That she sprang from the bed to see what the frack.
Away to the window she flew like a flash
Tore open the curtains and threw up the sash.

The moon on the piles of papers delivered
Gave the writer a jolt and a frightening shiver.
Then, what to her wondering eyes came in view,
But the Sunday Times paper and Book Review, too

More rapid than eagles her curses they came,
But stopped herself short and called help by name;
"Come Valium! Now Paxil! Now Zoloft and Serax!
On Lexipro! Prozac! On Haldol! On Xanax!"
The writer was crazed and so ready to fall
That she felt like she needed to swallow them all!

And then, in a twinkling, she heard on her phone
The jingling twang of Verizon’s ringtone.
She answered it quick and she heard quite a shriek
From her publicist’s mouth as he started to speak.

He was happy and kind—a right jolly old elf,
And she laughed when she heard him in spite of herself,
For his news was so joyous it went to her head
And she knew right away she had nothing to dread.

For the NPR folks said her book had a flair
And could Terry Gross chat with her now on Fresh Air?
Then the writer did cry out to all near and far,
Happy pub date to all and to all NPR!

Ellen Meister is the author of four novels, including Farewell, Dorothy Parker, in which the bad girl of the roaring twenties literary scene rematerializes from an ancient guest book ... and takes up residence in the home of a skittish modern woman. Now available in hardcover and ebook. Coming soon in trade paperback. For more information visit


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    1. Ellen, Phenomenal! Congratulations. Being on Fresh Air with Terry Gross is one of my dreams. Also winning a number of literary awards. The list is long, but the big one: getting published, was the the best. Great rhyming too!!!!

    2. Lol. I revised the post to clarify. I was not, alas, invited to Fresh Air. It's a fantasy. :)

  2. Ellen, I loved this. Are you seriously going to be chatting with Terri Gross? That's incredibly awesome. And YOU DESERVE IT!

  3. Oh God. Let me be clear. This is fiction! I have not been invited onto Terry Gross's show ... unfortunately. I guess I should update this post. :)

  4. Look, Ellen, it's wishful thinking for everyone!!!!!!!! Love it.

  5. You've said enough. No need to update. It's good to be caught up in the fiction of the poem.

  6. LOL, Ellen!!
    I loved this! So fun and humorous...thanks for making me smile today ;).

  7. Love the poem. And, why hasn't Fresh Air called?


  8. Ding, ding, ding! We have a clear winner of the Internet today!

    1. I love winning the Internet! Thanks, Lauren. :)

  9. This is wonderful! And congratulations on the superb reviews! (Terry Gross will need to answer for why she hasn't called you—yet.)

  10. You are so clever! Loved this.