I'm in Minneapolis right now, just finishing up at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference. Yesterday I had the chance to explore the city a bit, and I wandered around the campus of the University of Minnesota. On the campus, I saw a tree that was covered in shoes. It seems that the origins of the shoe tree are unclear, but I kind of like the hazy history. For me, this tree might spark a story idea. Maybe the tree in the story isn't on a college campus. Maybe it's in the middle of a forest somewhere. Maybe the shoes came from the sky, instead of tossed from a bridge nearby. Maybe all those pairs of shoes belong to one person. There are lots of possibilities here.