A Park Full of Trees

photo copy 2This weekend during an adventure to Wicker Park, I stumbled upon an exhibit happening from October 30-November 3. It was advertised as a “New Kind of Story, Made with Motorola.” The title was A Windy Day, which seemed perfect for the cold, wet weather. I entered into the white room, which had odd trees standing in sporadic places. I was confused, how could a phone company tell a new kind of story? All that phones seem to be good for were texting, calling, and in-class Internet surfing. I entered the building filled with my doubts. I was handed a phone and told to look at the screen and follow an orange hat.

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As I aimlessly wandered, I waited for the story to appear on the screen, but all I saw was that annoying orange hat being blown around by the wind. I continued to wander inside the store and felt like an idiot who was tricked by inviting sales people. But then that irritating orange hat finally stopped moving.  I looked up and saw a tall white tree with different red, orange, and green paper leaves covered in personal stories that people wrote while inside the cellphone store. It was an insane combination of technology, creative nonfiction, and engaging atmosphere that I’ve never experienced before. Each tree had a different open-ended prompt that allowed for the audience to write down some of their memories.  One of my responses to the open-ended prompt was “The best day ever was…when I walked in downtown Chicago at 3AM. Empty streets and bright lights”.  Other leaves were covered in stories about love, success, or even failure from fellow Chicagoans.  “A Windy Day” was the perfect expression of ingenuity that presented a new way of creative nonfiction. So thank you, annoying orange hat, you’ve broadened my horizons.

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