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 executive director 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.