Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

For his two min­utes (two min­utes? read more here…) dur­ing the Net­work con­fer­ence (200 authors in 3 days! Oh my!), author Joseph Ski­bell (A Cur­able Roman­tic) wowed the audi­ence with a dif­fer­ent approach. Tak­ing a cue from Gilbert & Sul­li­van, Ski­bell stood up and began to play on his ukulele and sing (warn­ing: for­mat­ting is a lit­tle off…):

The Mod­el of a Mod­ern Major Nov­el­ist by Joseph Ski­bell
(with apolo­gies to Gilbert & Sullivan)

I am the very mod­el of a mod­ern major nov­el­ist,
I’ve got­ten great reviews and been on Amazon’s best nov­el list
The Rosen­tahl Award from the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my
Is but one of the awards with which they’ve thought to flat­ter me.
I’ve writ­ten books in prose both ele­gant and eco­nom­i­cal
My char­ac­ters are well-round­ed, my plots a bit fan­tas­ti­cal
And though my sales to date have not been astro­nom­i­cal
I’m hap­py to relate nei­ther are they abominable.

This Jew­ish mythol­o­gy with which my work is quite infused
Has cap­ti­vat­ed read­ers among the gen­tiles and the Jews
And if you gave me more than these two min­utes of your time to use
I’d describe my nov­els to you, both the old ones and the new
To demon­strate that I am nei­ther mad­man, fake, rake, nor loon
If I make extra­or­di­nary claims for A Bless­ing on the Moon
But since upon two min­utes you insist, you’ll have to take my word for it
I am the very mod­el of a mod­ern major novelist.

(And now a verse about the new book!)

A Cur­able Roman­tic
is his­tor­i­cal about an hys­te­r­i­al
Patient of Dr. Freud’s, it’s a book about an era full
Of utopi­anists and dream­ers, and I haven’t even men­tioned
Esperanto’s Dr. Zamen­hof and half-a-dozen oth­er luft­men­shn
There’s a dyb­buk and there’s Drey­fus and a dra­mat­ic sense of criss
That pro­pels the pro­tag­o­nist Dr. Sam­mel­sohn through a life of stress and strife that
Speaks to a dozen major themes I’d be glad to illus­trate
If you’d only giv­en me a lit­tle more time to elaborate.

(Still, I’ll try.)

There’s God and man and Israel and love and death and sex galore
The Sci­en­tif­ic mod­el in con­flict with folk-a-lore
Parts lin­guis­tic, sci­en­tif­ic, Hasidic, and also Oedi­pal
Arith­meti­cal­ly add up to a romance unfor­get­table.
It’s antic, not pedan­tic. It’s called A Cur­able Roman­tic

You can order it online; there’s no rea­son to get fran­tic
And to your JCCs I’ll come if you real­ly must insist
That I am the very mod­el of a mod­ern major novelist.

In case you need it, here’s a this lit­tle Gilbert & Sul­li­van refresh­er to aid with the tune:

Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the CEO of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.