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Twas the Night
12/1/2017 2:59:00 PM by: Susan Lyttek

A Visit from Inspiration (with apologies to Clement C. Moore)

‘Twas the night before the deadline

When through the writer’s house

Not a pen was seen stirring,

Not even the mouse.

The guidelines circled the laptop with care,

In hopes that inspiration soon would strike there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of royalties danced in their heads;

And my spouse in the lounge chair

With a cat on his lap,

Had just TVed his brains

Into a long winter’s nap;

When in my office

There arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

Up to the terminal I flew like a flash,

Fearing the worst—a hard drive crash.

The light of the moon through the open window

Gave the hint of organization to papers below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But an article that I had written last year,

With just the right slant, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it might just do the trick.

More rapid than eagles the ideas came,

As I jotted and noted and called them by name:

“Now outline! Now structure! This paragraph needs fixin’!

“On edit! On focus! Stop those metaphors from mixing!

“To the top of the page! To my notes in faded scrawl!

“Now cut away! Dash away! Cut away all!”

As loose adverbs before the wild editor fly,

When they exceed word count, go by the by,

So out of the article the poor words they flew

With a page full of typos, and et ceteras, too.

And then in a twinkling, I saw on the screen

Paragraphs coalescing—so neat and so clean,

Quick as a prayer, inspiration came down

First an active verb, then just the right noun,

The page was dressed in prose, black upon white,

Developing into a beautiful sight.

I was ready to give myself a pat on the back

Print it all up and go down for a snack.

The title—how lively! The intro—extraordinary!

The headings like beacons, the end—legendary!

From first word to last it sang to the soul

The tone perfectly capturing the editor’s goal.

The stump of a pencil held tight in my teeth

As the phrases encircled my head like a wreath;

The points were broad-based, true audience pleasers

Well followed-through, no dangling teasers.

It was joyous to read, not put on the shelf

And I laughed when I thought it, in spite of myself.

An editor’s eye and a nod of his head

Would alleviate any traces of dread.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to work

Completed my deadlines before going bezerk,

And laying a finger on the button to send,

And giving a smile, I typed ‘the end’.

I sprang down the stairs, whistling a tune

And stepped out to enjoy the falling moon;

But I heard words echo as I skipped out of sight

“Did you remember to save before you sent tonight?”

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