Perhaps you've heard of National Novel Writing Month, the East Bay-bred annual event that encourages participants to write a 50,000-word novel within the month of November. A worthy dare, sure, but ever tried writing twenty songs in one day? That's the central charge for members of the internationally dispersed Immersion Composition Society, which was born in Oakland in 2001. Founders Michael Mellender and Nicholas Dobson say their original intent was not to create a global movement or even to invite others to participate, but simply to defeat writer's block and overcome stubborn artistic boundaries by removing considerations of quality from the artistic process. The two friends would set aside twelve hours in a day to produce as much music as possible, with the ultimate goal of twenty tracks, then share their work only with each other. Over time, the process revealed real gems and incredible discoveries. Their model was such a success, in fact, that friends and acquaintances across the country — and, eventually, small groups of total strangers throughout Europe — latched on to the idea and formed their own "lodges" for creating and sharing music.
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