Following the recent trend of holding open mic events, BrewLab Coffee hosted a reading of short stories by local writers. The event lasted for over an hour and featured a packed room of literature-hungry students ready to hear great stories.
The event featured four local writers, both students and graduates, men and women, each with backgrounds and life experiences that lead to completely different stories.
Each writer’s content differed drastically, from very short inspirational passages designed to make the audience think to a long and engaging story that captivated all in attendance.
A common theme in each story was the use of metaphors, symbolism and iconography. The writers explained that much in their stories was based off their own lives. University graduate Grant Garland said his rationale for writing and the basis of his stories was coping mechanisms.
“I write a lot about ritual. It’s a coping thing, a way to compare every moment of your day with how it should be. I look for a moment that strikes me for my writing. My piece came to me when my grandma told me her wedding ring didn’t fit anymore. I write a lot of stories about older people, and that’s because I am scared to death of getting old,” Garland said.
Aumaine Gruich, another open mic speaker, uses short stories as a way of preserving memories. “Not wanting things to slip away from your head, whether you remember them or not,” Gruich said.
Champaign-Urbana has a great artistic community, well known for its musical outputs, but it does not have the same level of recognition for writing. The prominence of open mic nights, especially in regards to storytelling, will hopefully change that.
BrewLab plans on hosting more open mic nights as well as specific nights dedicated to storytelling, both of which accept submissions from interested musicians and storytellers in the community.