Last week, I attended an Ivory Tower meeting in Nolte Hall. The Ivory Tower is the University of Minnesota's art magazine and contains submissions including paintings, songs, and short stories. The meeting began with students going around the room and introducing themselves. We then dove into doing some writing exercises. The first one required us to look around the room and write a short story about someone that we did not know. We were allowed about twenty minutes to do so. Peoples stories ranged from turning their peers into super heroes with flame-throwing hair to people simply jotting down a few notes about physical observations they had made about each other. My story was about a girl sitting across from me who was on the last leg of a tour with her band. I wrote about her depression involving the last few days of her life as a rock star and the struggle she would have to face knowing that she would soon be a "has-been." We then went around the room and those who wanted to share their stories were given an opportunity to do so.
For our second writing exercise, we listened to a song and drew a picture of whatever came to mind. When the song ended, we passed our drawings to the person next to us and they wrote a story about the picture we had just drawn. All that I received was a bunch of squiggly lines and therefore began writing a story about a boy trapped in a maze.
My experience at the Ivory Tower meeting was great. I had never really been forced to write under time constraints nor given an opportunity to share my stories with complete strangers. It helped me to let loose and not necessarily care if my story had a structured plot or character development. It gave me the opportunity to just let my brain wander and write whatever came to mind. I am hoping to go to another one of these meetings in the very near future as I believe it has helped me to expand my technique as a writer and forced me to think in new ways.