The Night Before Pitch Night… A Christmas Spoof for Writers
By Maaja Wentz (after Clement C. Moore)
‘Twas the night before pitch night, like inside a dream,
The writers were trying their best not to scream;
They drafted their log lines concisely with flair,
In the hopes that big contracts soon would be theirs.
While spouses and children lay snug in their bed,
The writers all tapped at their keyboards with dread;
For dawn’s early light and the coming deadline;
When revising a mess, there can’t be enough time!
Then deep in the basement, a sound like a gong,
You rush down to answer it’s siren-like song;
And behind all the boxes and cobwebs and junk,
Excavate a first draft, from the era of Funk.
The dull yellow bulb swinging from a bare wire,
Gave a lustre of newness that burned like a fire;
To abandoned old novels that had long been discarded,
When the author was still young enough to get carded.
One novel was brilliant and charming and slick.
You knew in a moment it could still do the trick!
Faster than spellcheck the visions they came,
Of agents and publishers calling your name.
Now Penguin Random House! Scholastic and Pearson!
Now Simon & Schuster! Bloomsbury in Britain!
On Hachette and Oxford! On Raincoast, Macmillan!
To the desk in the office! At the end of the hall!
Now submit away, submit away, submit to them all!
As pages tossed out of a window may fly,
You leap over obstacles for one last try;
And over the internet cover letters flew,
With your hopes and your dreams, and your best pitches too.
Then in more than a twinkling—but in less than a year,
Came the flutter of answers you’ve long learned to fear;
But with sherry in hand, for a bit of wet courage,
You crack the last envelope, already discouraged.
It was typed in Times Roman from header to footer,
Its surface all tarnished with coffee and sugar;
A cluster of legalese in bafflegab style,
Unbundled a treasure that drew a fat smile.
The clauses they twinkled, sub clauses how merry!
The Canadian Rights, like a deal-topping cherry;
The droll legal terms tied it up in a bow,
They would print up your pages as white as the snow!
The advance was so plump you could buy a Mercedes!
Did this deal go to auction like books in the 80s?
You pinch your arm hard to see if it’s a dream,
Then shriek with delight as you hear yourself scream.
As you spring to your laptop to draft an epistle,
You try not to wake up the kids with your whistle;
You give them a yes and hit send with delight.
Happy writing to all, and to all a good night!