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There is a Place Like Not Home

Weeks and weeks had passed by, like listless grass blowing down the dirt lane, since she had returned home. Still, no one was going to challenge Dorothy as the saddest person in Seward County, perhaps in all of West Kansas. Not the moping cows, not even the Rogers family who lost their grain silo, two sons, and a new tractor in a freak silo toppling could compete.

“Why was I so gung ho to come back to this puke bucket of a town?” she whispered inside her head. “Auntie Em is nice, but as exciting and dumb as a door post. And Uncle Henry? His breath reeks of wet corn and all he was really interested in was prepping for the winter hunt. Guns, cleaning guns, oiling guns, guns.

With seismic sighs, she resolved herself to be a spinster who would watch the world drive past, right on through Liberal, Kansas, a place so dull-ly named that people did not even make jokes about it.

Why was there never a truck that would slow down, stop, and a glove covered straw hand would pull her up in the cab, and head off to the land of saturated polystyrene colors, never to return to this glorified cardboard box of dung. And that stupid Toto, what kind of companion was he? All he wanted to do now was chase field mice hump the new piglets. What a moron.

These were the conversations she had internally, with her younger self. The one who maybe had not so fervently asked to leave Oz.

dorothy and her younger self

In her single minded focus of wanting “home” Dorothy had left behind a vibrant and caring community, one that fully accepted and embraced her faults and features. They sang. Danced. Counted stars. There was all night hookah parties down in Munchkin Village, and Horatio had been teaching Dorothy how to play ukelele. She missed the philosophical exchanges with the Strawman, who had eventually softened his Socialist Embarkation theory to at least appreciate the nuances of cross benefit competition.

And Tinman, with his puppy eyes and gentle need for being taken care of, who at the same time would stand up as a protectant and scare the boogie man with his axe. The wizard himself, once freed of his needs to present himself as a powerful persona, had become a pleasant person to hang out with, baking cookies or discuss fingernail polish. Dorothy did not even care if he was gay, that was accepted in Oz but certainly not in this part of the country just two stones throw from Texas.

She had left her found people, the people of Oz. In her mind was an image of the poster hung over the mantelpiece in her little yellow cabin–

stay in oz

Thus the plan began as a tiny single grain of idea, that tumbled along and picked up more and more fellow ideas. Doing her research with the Liberal Memorial Library’s computers, she located a lead of where to pick up a new pair of rare ruby shoes, since hers had of course fallen back to the earth before she fell to Kansas. Sure it took months to save money and to pilfer some gold from her Aunt and Uncle’s jewelry. She was off to Doha, dragging Toto because she needed some protection, to a special shoe shop in Villaggio.

The Emir was not pleased to see her cross his store’s threshold, and did not want to let some magic go into the hands of least of all, but his hands were tied by destiny. Dorothy smuggled the shoes home, masking their emitted cosmic radiation with the falos lead cloth lining in her little basket. She was on the lookout for a travel agent that would be able to organize this kind of trip without the histrionics and drama that comes with the kinds of hippies who usually operate the routes.

After reading about 5o different web sites, she found what she needed at the Ozomatics, a group so clever and secret they hid their web site inside the Tecknomadics site

And waiting for her under the Travel menu was a direct link to get to Oz, all on her own (now that she had those ruby shoes again).

Her heels clicking, chanting in a satanic dirge “emoH ekiL ecalP oN s’erehT” she found her way back to the magic land.

Had te magic gone south?

What happened to that lovely garden of Munchkin Village? There were now massage parlors, porn stores, and cigar vendors, and the Munchkins themselves were too busy tending their home grown weed to spend time singing and dancing. The Lion was off beating up flying monkeys, the Wizard was soaking in a bottle of rye.

Confused, Dorothy wandered into a little cafe where she was accosted by this foul mouthed guy named Robert


What he did is unspeakable.

Oh, Dorothy wailed alone in the dried up poppy fields, which were mostly covered in beer cans and used condoms. What happened to Oz? WHy was she not settled here nor there? Would she ever find that place?

Kansas was sure looking good again.

——————————- THE END —————————-

Note: This is my attempt to do the same kind of final project I am asking my ds106 students to do:

For your final project in ds106 this fall, you are going to produce a media project around a single theme that explores at least three of the genres we’ve investigated this semester: visual/design, audio, video, web, remix/mashup.

Pick a person, place or thing that you would like to focus your project on. You could pick a book or movie, a character from a movie, a historical person, a place you’ve visited, an imaginary location from a TV show, the University you attend, a company, a political candidate, etc.

Using the assignment repository for inspiration, come up with a plan for how to explore a narrative involving the topic you chose in Step One. Your plan should include creating 3-5 media pieces that use at least three of the genres we covered this fall.

The idea is that you are planning a media landscape around your narrative, built of the kinds of assignments you’ve been doing all semester.

Creating the media pieces is part of the project, how you weave them together and present them in your web site as a complete story is the goal.

The media I used and how they were made are documented:

I was worried because some of my students seemed to think all they had do was 5 or so assignments about the same topic and call that a story. We had not done this kind of project before, soe we did not have examples t point to. I should have done this earlier, but… well you know the one abut excuses, right?

The important thing is that these stories should be woven together in a blog post, with embedded media, and in a way to the text connects and fills in bits of the story between the media. That’s what i am looking for.

I cam not claiming this is the greatest of all stories (in fact its kind of crappy), it more or less emerged from my trip across Kansas two weeks ago. And I worked out the idea two days ago, but decided to assemble and write it it all in one crazy all night session.

I want to make it clear that the kind of stories I hope to see are more than a pile of media or a list of assignment links.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Wow! Fun example! I imagine something very different, but I have promised myself to dial it down over the holiday and not to get all wrapped up like a kitten in a ball of yarn in just such an insanely complicated and obsessive project, so I leave it at admiring your example… 🙂

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