What Writers Can Learn From ‘Goodnight Moon’

How wonderful that this oddly compassionate moment, where even nobody gets a good night, shows up in the picture book that is the most popular! There is no template, ever. When writing, how do we allow those moments of impulse, of surprise? How do we not censor that kind of leap? (I’d argue for following tangents — for not feeling bound to the topic at hand.) And when to end a story or poem or novel or essay? It’s one of the most common questions at readings: “How do you know when it’s done?”

.. The reader has time to linger with that end and accept it — it’s not the obvious closing note of the music, it’s not the fully resolved major chord. But she trusted it. How something ends is so much about a writer training her own instinct and her own sense of that note.