Even while limited physically to the realms of our desk chairs, sofas, dining room tables, bedrooms, back yards, or occasional car back seats (and maybe even one dentist waiting room) — the possibilities of the places we can go are expansive! The young writers who joined the two sessions of this Choose Your Own Adventure exploration ventured near, far, farther, (and even farther than that!) in the imagination of their storytelling. Between the two groups, we explored settings as diverse as outer space, and portals to sword and shield fantasy lands — to broadway stages, and a favorite chain sandwich restaurant or two. We met dragons, Martian dust horses, very talented sandwich artists, marshmallow zombies (?!), nefarious space ball coaches, and so many more. The young writers found stories touching on action/adventure, fantasy, science fiction, and comedy — with always a lot of heart and often a good sense for the absurd.
Which is to say both sessions were a whole lot of fun. I was so glad to have the chance to help create a space for creative collaboration within the Zoom-osphere. These game young writers and I started a week as strangers — and through storytelling games, sharing their writing, and thoughtfully listening and responding to each other — we ended the week as a group joined together in the telling of a single story… with endings as far reaching as the minds of the writers.
Before you go forward, I’d like to share a little advice from the warning in front of an old Choose Your Own Adventure book
Beware and warning! This book is different from other books. You and YOU ALONE are in charge of what happens in this story.
It’s a helpful reminder, in these stories and beyond. Choose your story, but take care — the choices are yours.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
Fast Times at the Third Mars Colony: Part One
It starts in space. It always does, all stories do — because when you think about it all stories are in space because even if you’re just on Mars, or even Earth, everything is in space.
You’re not on Earth though. You’ve never been there. You can see it, that shiny blue dot of a far off planet you’ve seen not blinking there in your sometimes night sky of the third Mars colony — where you were born and have lived your whole life.
Oh the Mars colonies…After we found evidence of water and ancient life on the surface, it wasn’t long before we found the advanced society hiding underneath. The Martians were not so keen on company — they had remained out of sight for so long. They had developed technologies to combat the solar radiation, the heat, the dust — and to stay off the radar of other advanced societies.
That was a long time ago.
Like two Mars colonies ago.
After the spacewar and the spacepeace and the space cold war, there was actually a sort of space peace, but for real this time..
But you know all that, duh. You’ve lived at the Third Mars Colony your whole life. You’ve heard all the stories. And today, you don’t have time for those old Martian Pioneer stories. Today is big.
You’ve been marking the days and waiting. You could hardly wait. Today is huge. You’ll be trying out for the Third Colony Spaceball Team. Spaceball — the sport slash dance performance slash halftime musical review — takes a lot of different talents. You have a lot of talents, though don’t you?
You are in your red dust apartment with your family. You can hear them in the other room listening to the 3D radio — your favorite show, the one about elephants from Neptune? But, luckily, you’ve already heard this episode. And it’s time to go.
You gather your equipment for the tryout slash audition into a big duffle-type bag. You hear a sad little squeak and get a treat out of the jar for your pet, Marty Feind Oliver. You be a good Martian Guinea Pig-Packrat. MFO coos with excitement for the treat and pet. Your mom calls for you and the two of you take your seats in the mostly-self-driving bubblecar, it stops at the stadium. You say “thank you,” and grab your things. Your mom wishes you good luck before the bubblecar drives away.
Before entering the stadium, you check your bag to make sure you didn’t forget something important. But what’s that there? Not a piece of Spaceball equipment, no, that’s for sure! You see a stowaway, squeaking there in the bag.
Marty Feind Oliver, your pet Martian Guinea Pig-Packrat is there. Gazing up with love and all its seven antennas.
How’d you get in there? you ask, but before MFO can squeak a reply—
A loud noise, not sure from where or why, or even what, but —
Marty Feind Oliver startles right out of your hands and runs! You move to chase him. But where did he go? MFO has disappeared right out of sight. Your audition is supposed to start in less than two minutes!
What to do?