Somewhere over my head, I heard the call of a moose.
“Hey!” he called with a flourish. “Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.”
I rolled my eyes. “That trick never works.”
“This time for sure!” he cried. “Here’s the secret: Don’t think, just write.”
“Oh, please,” I said. It was close to midnight and a dark and dreary time, while I pondered, weak and weary, over a quaint and curious volume I was attempting to write, and the last thing I wanted was another piece of advice. “You keep coming by to chat, but you always say the same thing — “Don’t think!” — but I keep thinking.”
“No doubt about it,” said the moose, “I gotta get another chat.”
So there I was, reaching into the ether, trying to drag a story kicking and screaming into this plain of existence, and the characters were there and the setting was there and the motivations were there, except my own motivation — I didn’t care, and if I didn’t care, how was I going to get you to care?
“Stop worrying about it,” the moose said. “Just write.”
I sighed. “Don’t you see that I’m writing?”
“Meh,” said he. “Your fingers are moving and words are coming out on the page, but that ain’t writing, that’s the way you do it.”
“What do you suggest?” I challenged.
“I dunno. You’re the writer. I’m just a moose.”
And with that, he just stopped talking. I have waited here each night since then, waiting for the inspiration, waiting for the moose to speak again. He had to be joking, didn’t he? He saw me write, he saw the words come out, how could he say that it wasn’t writing? What did he mean by that?
Yeah, that must be it. He was telling a bad joke, trying to make me laugh and start telling the story I was born to tell.
What story is that? I’m glad you asked. Once upon a time …
The moose grinned. “I guess I don’t know my own strength.”
All these years I’d been hearing it wrong. It turns out, when I sit down to write, I need to invoke the moose.