“All Lit Up!”: Lit Crawl Boston’s A Little Box of Yes


Entertaining, delightful, and creative are three words that best describe a Little Box of Yes and the two wonderful people who created it, Ethan Gilsdorf and Brian Mooney. Life and stories are more fun when you just say YES! Getting to know this session and its presenters was enlightening and I hope you enjoy reading about them too.

  1.    Tell me a bit about how your session came to be? Was there something that inspired you to form your group?

Brian Mooney: Everyone knows that writing can be a solitary thing, but it’s also a spectacularly improvisational thing—it’s just that hardly anyone ever sees that part of it. Usually, nobody is around when you sit and ask your characters, What if you did this or that? What’s your first memory? What do you sound like? What do you want? When you ask your places, What if you rained? What if you snowed? What if you had purple trees? When you ask your story, What if I wrote you in first person? What if you’re in present tense? Writers constantly ask themselves questions like this. It’s important to be able to say Yes to asking and answering those questions and exploring where they take you. That spirit of exploration is what inspires A Little Box of Yes, and it’s a lot of fun to do that exploration with other people and see what comes out of it.

Ethan Gilsdorf: On a personal level, Brian and I have known each other since the early 1990s, back when I lived in Vermont. Brian still lives there. I live in Providence. So it’s great to reconnect in this way some years later on our literary trajectories, and see what kind of trouble we can cook up collaboratively as part of Lit Crawl Boston.


  1.    What is one thing you hope those attending Lit Crawl Boston will gain from your session?

Brian: That it’s totally entertaining (and legit) to hang out with your friends and make up characters and settings and scenes and stories.

Ethan: And that storytelling is something that anyone can do.


  1.    In honor of Lit Crawl including drinks or food, what would your session be if it could be any type of drink and or type of food item?

Brian: A spiked watermelon on a picnic table with a red-checkered table cloth.

Ethan: Or, that funky, improvisational soup/stew/stir fry you make from all the random found items in your refrigerator. That you wash down with a ‘Gansett TallBoy.


  1.    Boston is such a historic and literary city! If you could have any historic figure attend your session who would it be and why?

Brian: Gertrude Stein, the Queen of Yes. Or William Gass, because that guy knew how to say yes.  And if we’re going just Boston-area, then Kerouac. He also knew a thing or two about yes.

Ethan: And Poe was born not far from here, near the Boston Common behind GrubStreet‘s offices on Boylston Street. So it’s fun to think of his spirit watching over us.

Brian: Stein, Gass, Kerouac, and Poe… Now THAT’S a party!


Thank you to Brian and Ethan for letting us interview you! Now let’s get ready to Litcrawl!



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