Posted on Monday, 22 December 2003
'Twas the night before Christmas at the DWG,
Where not a creature was stirring - except a fanfic devotee.
She should have been nestled all snug in her bed,
But ideas and storylines danced in her head!
"I must get it written - each word must be right!
So what if it's 2:00 A.M. on Christmas Eve night?
No rest for me yet, no long winter's nap!
If I don't post soon, I know I'll just snap!"
So at her keyboard she feverishly slaved,
She wrote and she rewrote, deleted and saved.
But she felt that her head on a wall she could knock -
She just couldn't get past that fiend, writer's block!
"It's so clear in my head, I just know it's all there!
But I can't get it written, which makes me despair!
I can't find the words, and my brain has stopped thinking.
I'm just staring at my monitor too long without blinking."
She got up and stretched, and she gave a big yawn,
When she heard a strange noise from out on the lawn.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moonlight that shone on the new-fallen snow
Gave the aspect of daylight to objects below.
Not to mention that cold air, causing shiver and shake,
Was more than enough to get any writer awake!
Then what to her wondering eyes should appear
But a smart barouche drawn by eight tiny reindeer!
More rapid than eagles they pranced down the lane,
As the driver whistled and shouted and called them by name.
"On, Darcy! On, Knightley! On, Tilney and Brandon!
Keep moving now, boys! No stopping or standing!
On, Lizzy! On, Emma! On, Cathy and Marianne!
We've a big job to do, as fast as we can!
There's a writer in there who needs help and inspiration,
And our sudden appearance will take some explanation!
To the end of the drive! To the end of the hall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!"
The watcher was stunned - was she waking or dreaming?
She'd never seen anything quite as this was seeming.
Perhaps hypothermia was causing these hallucinations.
So she closed the window fast, without hesitation.
But she heard the front door open as she was turning around,
And fast up the stairs she heard someone bound.
She was half-expecting her visitor to be a certain jolly old elf,
So imagine her surprise when she saw it was Jane Austen herself!
Her eyes, how they twinkled! Her expression, how merry!
And she looked pleased with the writer - ever so very!
"You make me quite happy," Miss Austen did say,
"Keeping my stories alive, on day after day.
I'm sure I never thought they would last all these ages,
Although I had a knack for putting words onto pages."
The fanfic writer was glad that Miss Jane wasn't vexed,
But she just had to ask, "Miss Austen, what next?
Only six novels finished, the rest aren't done!
Your readers want more, and won't accept that you're gone!
Please tell us this isn't the end of the ride!"
Jane smiled and said, "That's for you to decide.
My writing is over, and yours is what follows,
To give my old characters new joys and new sorrows,
Or place them in new times: present, future, or past,
And see how those plots will work out at last.
Then imagine the variations that you could explore!
If General Tilney was nice? If five Bennets were four?
What if Anne married elsewhere, with no Frederick in sight?
If Emma were sensible, would it still come out right?
Or else give those minor characters your attention:
The Gardiners, or Palmers, or others I could mention.
Or create someone new, who in the books doesn't exist,
And your readers will applaud each clever plot twist."
Jane's words set ideas in the writer's head twitching,
And to get back to her keyboard her fingers were itching.
"Aha! Now I have it! I know just what to write!
Miss Austen, my thanks - you've saved me tonight!"
Seeing that the writer's block was finally broken,
Miss Austen departed, without another word spoken.
Down the stairs to her carriage this cold Christmas Eve,
To aid the next writer whose plea she'd received.
She mounted the box, and she pulled on the reins,
Setting the eight tiny reindeer prancing onwards again.
Soon she'd arrive at the next writer's venue,
And with her help the stories would ever continue.
And the writer upstairs, typing madly away,
Knew she'd finish and post before break of day.
What pleasure to make the Dwiggies' spirits lift,
By giving them a new chapter as a Christmas gift!
Though caught up in her story, the writer half-heard
The holiday wish in Miss Austen's last words,
Calling up to the stars as she drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"