Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...

You are currently browsing the archives for the Writing category.

Theo Gangi
Miseducation of A Thriller Writer
No Comments | posted October 29th, 2007 at 05:03 pm by Theo Gangi

Originally appeared on
Technorati Profile

I went to college at an open, lush campus in the suburbs of Baltimore. One chilly, blustery evening I was walking against light, falling hail with a group of friends. One guy, Marcus, had his hood up and walked backwards, facing the opposite direction to the rest of us.

“Why are you walking backwards?” I asked him.

He smiled, like the answer was obvious. “Beats the hell outta walking forwards.”

Like Marcus, I seem to have walked the road to my first published novel backwards.

Read more…

Kimberlee Auerbach
8 Comments | posted October 18th, 2007 at 04:06 pm by Kimberlee Auerbach Unabridged (v 1.1) - in·ti·ma·cy
Pronunciation - [in-tuh-muh-see]

1. the state of being intimate.
2. a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
3. a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.: an intimacy with Japan.
4. an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like: to allow the intimacy of using first names.
5. an amorously familiar act; liberty.
6. sexual intercourse.
7. the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar: the intimacy of the room.
8. privacy, esp. as suitable to the telling of a secret: in the intimacy of his studio.

I’ve been preoccupied with the concept of intimacy lately.

Read more…

Cristina Pippa
Yin in a Yang World or Stevie Wonder’s Wisdom
3 Comments | posted October 04th, 2007 at 03:57 pm by Cristina Pippa

YinYangThe first draft of my new play was due on Sunday, and at about 4:30 p.m. with a good 15-20 pages left to write, I found myself at the library, picking up a book called, “Time Management for Creative People.” Reading this now can’t possibly be a good use of your time, I told myself even as I walked out through the anti-theft detectors. By the way, who steals library books? I decided not to read the book that afternoon and to stop switching coffee houses and to stop erasing what I had just written and to stop googling. I simply had to reach the last scene (which I had already written) by writing what I had already planned to write (but didn’t trust). End of story: I did.

But by the time October rolled around that night, I was so hopped up on caffeine or nerves or ideas for my other projects that I couldn’t sleep. I put the time management book down and vowed to take a couple of yoga classes to undo all the doing I had just done. The first was Bikram– and if you like that, you have all my respect but I probably won’t join you at your next class. The second was Lunar Flow or Yin Yoga, and this is where everything in my world made a little more sense.

Read more…

Jennifer Gandin Le
Beauty in a Wicked World: Farewell addendum
3 Comments | posted September 12th, 2007 at 01:12 pm by Jennifer Gandin Le

I must also note that we Beauty-lovers lost two wonderful women this week: Madeleine L’Engle and Anita Roddick. I loved L’Engle’s books, especially “Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage,” an honest reflection on her marriage with her late husband. And I was constantly inspired by Roddick’s passion for justice and environmental care.

May you both rest well, and may we continue your legacies long after you’ve left us.

Courtney E. Martin
Composing a Life: Quarter-of-an-Inch Universe
4 Comments | posted August 28th, 2007 at 10:58 am by Courtney E. Martin

leafI just finished Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love. It is a beautiful little book about the human capacity to hold on to secrets (I hope our friend Joshua Prager, connoisseur of secrets, has read this one), the beauty of earnest childhood, and, well, love of course. One little quotation stuck out to me in a big way:

Sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.

Read more…

Cristina Pippa
All the World: Destino
1 Comment | posted August 23rd, 2007 at 10:25 pm by Cristina Pippa


Disney and Dali. Can you think of less likely collaborators? Let’s be honest– Dali’s work can be downright lewd (and I mean that in a really good way; he’s my favorite artist… outside of certain family members to whom I must remain loyal). And the Disney trademark promises sugar, no spice, and almost everything nice. But their joint work, Destino, is beautiful and bizarre, while strangely familiar. I didn’t even know that it existed until I wandered into a screening of it at the Tate in London last week.

I had seen Dali’s collaborations with filmmakers such as Buñuel (Un Chien Andalou) thanks to an inspiring screenwriting class with Mickey Birnbaum in San Francisco 6 months ago, but I would never have expected Dali’s dabbling in film to cross the ocean to Hitchcock, and certainly not to good old Walt. By the way, another great feature of the exhibit was the inclusion of Dali’s correspondence with his collaborators– I’ll never forget Buñuel’s instruction to “please bring the ants” which they were to use in L’ Âge d’or. He even included instructions on how to ensure the ants’ safe journey, somewhat like a worried mother’s advice on how to prepare her son for the school science fair.

Read more…

Jennifer Gandin Le
Beauty in a Wicked World: It’s About Time
No Comments | posted August 22nd, 2007 at 08:08 am by Jennifer Gandin Le

I love how play-within-a-play-within-a-play the news media can get. For instance, I enjoyed this article (free registration required) in the New York Times on Monday, about Time Inc.’s coverage of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath — a reporter reporting on how the news is reported. Awesome!

The gist of the article is that 10 of Time Inc.’s magazines are running pieces about Katrina, a theme that grew from a New Orleans trip that editor-in-chief John Huey and 12 editors took in May. During their time in the still-devastated region, the editors realized that the story is still not over for local residents. They talked with local politicians, scientists, and engineers, and got a sobering view of the landscape.

Mr. Huey said the multimagazine experiment was not intended to build Web traffic or attract advertisers; rather, it was an attempt to put the journalistic weight of 10 big magazines behind a particular topic. “It felt good to flex those muscles all at the same time,” he said.

I appreciate this week’s example of a major corporation consciously using their journalistic weight to address a problem that still needs real solutions.

Jennifer Gandin Le
Five Blogs That Make Us Think
5 Comments | posted August 15th, 2007 at 03:08 pm by Jennifer Gandin Le

About a month ago, Crucial Minutiae was given the Thinking Blogger Award by The Hathor Legacy: The Search for Good Female Characters.

Thinking Blogger AwardThe award comes with these guidelines:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

We’ve gathered this list of our faves, so, without further ado, we officially pass on the Thinking Blogger Award to these five blogs (in no particular order):

Read more…

Kimberlee Auerbach
The Devil, The Lovers and Me: My Life In Tarot
6 Comments | posted August 02nd, 2007 at 12:27 pm by Kimberlee Auerbach

My book, The Devil, The Lovers & Me: My Life in Tarot, hits stores today! If you want a signed copy, come to Borders at Columbus Circle tonight at 7PM. I’ll be there. My mom will be there. My dad will there. And many friends, including these peeps to the left and Courtney’s tongue.

To read about my book party, check out Penguin’s blog.

Thanks again to everyone in my life for being so supportive. I feel very loved and very blessed.

Cristina Pippa
All the World: Air Traffic Control?
5 Comments | posted July 27th, 2007 at 03:23 am by Cristina Pippa

What do you call the person who guides your plane into its gate with orange sticks? And if you know that, do you perhaps know what those orange sticks are called?

Why? Because it’s a little after 2:30 a.m. and I’m printing off draft 1.5 of ORANGE ALERT, the new musical (I mentioned in a recent post) that I’m writing with singer/songwriter Sharon Kenny. This is -for sure- the first time I’ve ever finished a first draft of a play in two weeks, and was only made possible by the determination to have a reading of Act One by the incredibly talented actors who we happen to be surrounded with. Perhaps a bit overambitious, we got through act one in one week and decided, what the hell, let’s finish it! Now be the first draft what it may, the main character’s job title is one detail that I think we really should have dealt with by now.

Read more…

Courtney E. Martin
Writers Group Face Off
4 Comments | posted July 25th, 2007 at 11:22 am by Courtney E. Martin

Last night we had a raucous face off, disguised as a dinner party, with another, to-remain-unnamed writers group in NYC.

I think it is safe to say that we triumphed easily over them in a few categories: mixed martial arts, time-sucking blog addiction, and tiny cupcakes. They had on us on jobs, books, and cute shoes, but whatever.

But seriously, it was a real joy for all involved, and reminded me that there are so many young and young-ish people in the world trying to create lives out of their gifts, convictions, and health insurance needs in an artful, earnest way. It was heartening. And happenin’. I just know great things will come out of the relationships forged across the great divide of writer’s group loyalty.

We would like to publically thank A. for her absolutely unwarranted generosity. There were cloth napkins people. We’ve never been treated so good.

Cristina Pippa
All the World: Imagination
2 Comments | posted July 06th, 2007 at 12:00 pm by Cristina Pippa

Wild ThingToday my youngest students will be sharing their writing in front of their parents. Many of them have started novels– even at age 11– and I’ve had to trim their work down so that we’re not sitting in Main Studio for an eight hour creative writing showcase. My high school/college students are also performing today. Every Friday, they present a fresh episode of a series which they have created. All I gave them was the style: Film Noir, and they’ve gone from there with characters, dialogue, plot. Today, the audience is in for truth serum, original music, and a dash of stage combat!

As these young artists stretch and grow and throw ideas at me of which Stephen King or Spielberg would nod their heads in approval, I’m thinking about where my own imagination has gone since child or teenhood. My mom and stepdad were here in Steamboat Springs for the 4th of July, and they asked me over dinner the other night, “One day, please, if you can, will you tell us why you were so frightened at the Haunted Forest when you were 8 years old?”

Read more…

Jennifer Gandin Le
Beauty in a Wicked World: Belonging, plus Maybe-us Corpus?
4 Comments | posted July 04th, 2007 at 08:08 am by Jennifer Gandin Le

No One Belongs Here More Than YouI came across this week’s beauty via Andrea Scher’s “Superhero Journal” (a source of beauty in itself, and I have no idea how I first came across her blog).

This is the promo site for Miranda July’s new book No One Belongs Here More Than You. I don’t know her work, though I’ve seen her name here and there. Her book’s website, though, delights me. Simple, playful creativity on the web. Is this what we all hoped the internet would be, back in the beginning?

Courtney’s post yesterday reminded me that I should touch on America’s Independence Day in today’s Beauty in a Wicked World. After all, America is so, so beautiful, and so, so wicked. And in light of last week’s news, I hope that a future BIAWW post will read “Habeas Corpus RESTORED!”

Read more…

Ethan Todras-Whitehill
Punch-for-Punch: Drama Kings
10 Comments | posted June 25th, 2007 at 11:33 am by Ethan Todras-Whitehill

Women have a rap for being dramatic. The phrase “drama queen” gets three times as many hits on Google as “drama king.” The way women choose to express their emotions—which is to say, that they choose to express their emotions—seems to lend itself to the sorts of situations that are entertaining if you’re a spectator and upsetting if you’re a participant. In other words: drama.

But I think that’s a mistake. Guys make for way better drama.

Let me explain. (No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is marrying Humperdinck in a little less than half an hour…)

Read more…

Jennifer Gandin Le
Happy Birthday, Walt!
3 Comments | posted May 31st, 2007 at 04:09 pm by Jennifer Gandin Le

I love American Public Media’s daily newsletter, The Writer’s Almanac. It’s a spectacular daily vitamin containing historical writerly birthdays, other “on this day in literature history” paragraphs, and a daily poem.

I have a huge crush on whoever it is that researches and writes the “today in history” section, because they unearth the most exquisite quotes and trivia tidbits. For example, today is Walt Whitman’s birthday, and they include this quote of his:

“The public is a thick-skinned beast and you have to keep whacking away at its hide to let it know you’re there.”

I thought all you published-and-publishing authors out there might appreciate that. See, it’s not a recent phenomenon! I find that both heartening and sad.

To read more about Walt, check out the full bio on the APM page (scroll down to May 31st).