A Visit from St. Critic: A Writer’s Christmas Eve
~with thanks & respect to Clement C. Moore’s original, A Visit from St. Nicholas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a keyboard was stirring, not a pen, not a mouse;
The manuscript was printed by Yours Truly with care,
In hopes that strong edits soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their bed;
Their visions now story fodder filling my head;
And mamma with her red pen, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long writing recap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Gladly fleeing my writing that now seemed like trash.
The fear in my breast of my revisions so slow,
Gave a lackluster mien to my project mojo,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old scrivener so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Critic.
More rapid than rejection his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, so I’d heed them by name:
“Now, Typos! Now, Pacing! Now Characters and Scene!
On Plotter! On, Pantser! On, Darlings and Theme!
To the top of the porch! To the crux of the hook!
Now en-dash and em-dash… away to this book!”
As metaphors that inside a writer’s brain fly,
When they meet with approval, mount to the sky;
So up to my office the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of stets, and St. Critic, too –
And then, in a twinkling, he read my dear tome;
The editing and scrawling of that wordsmithing gnome!
As I drew on my patience, holding writerly ground,
Down the pages St. Critic scanned without sound.
He dressed down my work, from header to foot,
And he cleaned tarnished words, erased story soot.
A bundle of blank contracts he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler with sales that don’t slack.
His eyes – how they twinkled! As he rechecked my query.
His cheeks got quite rosy, but his face grew less cheery.
His droll little mouth was drawn down to a glower,
And his bearded jaw clenched as he mulled for an hour;
The stump of a pencil he held tight in his teeth,
Yet he typed out the options he soon might bequeath;
He was clearly broad-minded with a well-rounded soul
That weighed my life’s work and my marketing role.
His portfolio was plump, a right fruitful old elf,
And I laughed he might sign me, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Finally gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled out a contract; then turned with a jerk,
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, he accepted my prose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a best-selling epistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove from our sights–
“Happy Christmas to all! I’ll license non-exclusive world rights!”