[Thanks Lesley! Thought this posted Friday but it got stuck in Drafts. -dp]
Treat the following like your own personal Mad Libs. Copy and paste the following to a post on your blog [title: MY MAD DREAM OF AN ESSAY]. Fill in the blanks to write your own story. Then answer the prompt at the bottom. Feel free to spoof this, play with a friend or relative, read it out loud at the Thanksgiving table, etc.
Remember that time you ate that spicy [noun] just before you went to bed on the night before the big [event]? Oh, that weird dream you had about the 2016 presidential election. When you woke up you couldn't quite remember the [adjective] details, but after reading "On Self-Reliance" and "A Sound of Thunder" it's all coming back to you now.
The dream started badly. You were in line with your family at a [place] waiting to be sent to [a place you don't want to go]. Everywhere you looked there were posters of president-elect [goofy name], looking like a crazy [animal] who could eat a whole [noun].
Suddenly, there was Ralph Waldo Emerson telling you, "[your favorite quote from his essay]." You realized that you have something to contribute to the world so you decided to [verb]. But it wasn't easy. First you had to put on a fancy [noun] and [noun] and then you had make a [noun] to go back in time to the [public place] so you could convince people to learn about the candidates and the [political issue you care about most].
But right there in the [public place] there was a giant [noun] and it started [verb] ing at everyone. People started to [verb]. You grabbed a [noun] from a nearby [noun] and yelled [something important you have to say]. Everyone stopped and listened, so you kept going.
[Here is where your essay begins.]
Write a speech in which you explain how the choices we make in this moment influence the future. Using at least one example from your life, one example from "On Self-Reliance," and one example from "A Sound of Thunder," tell your audience how our thinking and our actions create our individual sense of self and the society we all share.
[NOTE: since this is a speech, feel free to give it on a video as well and post! In the old days this is the sort of thing we would call "extra credit".]