Wednesday April 8th, 2009

Don’t Be Like the Moose

Wells Tower, whose debut collection of short stories was reviewed here by Daniel Menaker, is interviewed by The Book Bench (the books blog at The New Yorker). His response to a question about his revision process:

There’s this metaphor I settled on for revisions. I was in Alaska on a kayaking trip, and I was warned by this park ranger to be really careful in the arctic lakes when the moose are around. A male moose will jump into the lake with the idea that a female moose is on the other side, and then he’ll get to the other side and think that the female is on the other side, and often the moose will continue to go back and forth until he drowns from his own indecision. To me, it’s a sitting metaphor for revision. You can’t keep mindlessly pacing from one impulse to another or you’ll drive yourself insane.