Resolutions first: and for would-be bloggers, this ranks up there with “lose weight” and “exercise more” as a resolution cliché, but here goes anyway. In 2013, I resolve to blog more regularly. (Also, to lose weight and exercise more.)
The arrival of the new year is also a traditional occasion for offering toasts, and I have a great one for you. Earlier, I mentioned the wonderful Black Orchid Banquet that I attended December 1st. This is the annual fete of The Wolfe Pack, the Rex Stout/Nero Wolfe appreciation society, and for the past several years, I have had the pleasure of presenting the Black Orchid Novella Award, co-sponsored by the Wolfe Pack and AHMM.
The banquet features a number of pleasing traditions, among them a series of toasts to Stout, Wolfe, and company, and with his permission, I am pleased to offer here the toast composed and presented by James Lincoln Warren, who was last year’s BONA winner:
Has it been a whole year since the last such convention
Did meet to salute one whose splendid invention
Came to be such a source of so great inspiration
That we annually meet thus in joint celebration?
That banquet was one I shall never forget,
A memory for which I remain in your debt:
That evening, great honor upon me you poured,
To wit, the Black Orchid Novella Award.
But equivalent honor tonight is my pleasure:
To put forward the name of the author we treasure.
An orchid himself, an exotic rare flower,
Whose works never lose nor their wit nor their power,
Whose humanity, humor, and imagination
Combined in top measure a font of creation,
Whose words flowed like water with such erudition
To commemorate them we consider our mission.
His characters, well, we regard them as friends.
His plots serve much more than mere means to an end.
In our minds, he deserves uncontested election
As the nonpareil Liege of the Art of Detection.
In our hearts, we all gather together to meet
At the brownstone address on West Thirty-Fifth Street,
To drink milk or drink beer, or tonight imbibe wine,
To toast a great soul and inimitable mind.
So let us pay homage, raise high your potation
In tribute to him, this exquisite libation.
Do not whisper his name, but give up a great shout:
I am honored to give you the name of Rex Stout.
To Rex Stout!
Finally, the turn of the calendar is an excellent occasion to thank our readers and writers, and to wish all of you a wonderful 2013.