#1: The Adventures of Emma and George

I am the one who loves to tell stories. Ever since I was little, I’d tell my friends stories about the fantastic, time-traveling adventures of my black labrador retriever, Emma and her invincible, grumpy sidekick tabby cat, George. Emma and George went everywhere together. They conquered castles in medieval times, they cured the bubonic plague, and they stopped the Salem witch trials. They ran with the dinosaurs, warning them about the incoming comet so they could say their final goodbyes. They were an unstoppable duo, going on adventures that saved countless lives.

I couldn’t write, so these stories were never recorded, only remembered. When I finally learned to read, I lost myself in books, and consequently, movies. I became even more fascinated with the idea of adventure, both fiction and nonfiction. My parents both teach history and literature, so they were supply me with plenty of stories to read, watch and listen to. When I got older, it occurred to me that I now had the means to create my own stories. I could go on my own adventures. I went outside, I walked with friends, tried to get as close to waterfalls as we could, went out at five in the morning to wake our whole street up with fireworks (that was ill-advised), got lost apple-picking in upstate New York with piping cups of hot cider, stayed up to see the sunrise over the lake and the cornfields and got lost in the woods trying to find a time capsule on New Years Day. Once, I figured out that I could write these adventures down, that I could perform them. There was nothing stopping me anymore.

I recorded my stories in documents and in journals. I took up the baritone horn in fourth grade, I joined the Middlebury Young Company at the Town Hall theater when I was in seventh grade, and finally started publishing my writing on the Vermont Young Writer’s project. I tried to communicate my thoughts and ideas in every way I could, because I had quite a bit to say (for better or for worse). Storytelling through music and through the spoken and written word are second nature to me.

I am here because this is a whole new way to communicate that I have yet to discover. This is a whole new branch of storytelling I’ve never explored. I’m bracing myself for a brand new, extraordinary adventure.

Maisie Newbury

3 Responses to “#1: The Adventures of Emma and George

  • Greetings, Maisie. I’m Dana Olsen, and I work for the Bread Loaf School of English. It’s been thrilling to be a part of the What’s the Story project since its inception, especially as a blog reader/responder. I love the way it offers me glimpses into the types of issues that absorb young people in my greater community. Your research and questions broaden my own perspectives and beliefs. So I look forward to learning more about addiction and autism, if this is the topic you end up pursuing. I find it so interesting that there are two organizations working to raise awareness of autism issues, with somewhat competing ideas of how best to meet that goal. What are the methods or objectives of each org that you most agree with?

    I, too, enjoy writing stories about some of the everyday adventures I’ve experienced with my children, so I’m also eager to see how your passion for storytelling colors the way you approach, as you say, this slightly different ‘branch’ of storytelling: storytelling with a clear social purpose. I think you’ll grow tremendously in your writing and thinking through this course, and I look forward to witnessing your growth throughout the year.

    Very best,

    • Hi Dana!

      To answer your question, I find myself agreeing with Autism Speaks on more issues. It is a larger organization that Actually Autistic and it definitely has more weight, and while I love an underdog, Actually Autistic only speaks for a very small section of the spectrum, which is the ‘high functioning’ end. I have a brother, and he is severely autistic and considered ‘low functioning’ (which I find problematic in itself), and I feel that the people at Autism Speaks are better able to help kids like him.
      One thing I like about Actually Autistic is that there are several people who are on the autism spectrum, on the board. No one on the Autism Speaks board, although the people on the board are all either relatives or close friends of people who have autism. The campaigns are similar, but Autism Speaks shoots more for awareness, while Actually Autistic shoots more for acceptance. Really, I believe that there is still work to be done in both fields and we can’t get acceptance until there is full awareness for everyone on the autism spectrum.


  • Hey Maisie, this was such an interesting read. I, too, look forward to hearing and reading and thinking more with you over the upcoming year. Your history of writing and performance arts may very well apply at some point to our work together. While we want you to complexly understand social issues and work to that end, we will devise multiple modes to communicate those complex understandings. Some of that may be a video documentary, but others could be through writing or performance. So, while this feels like something new, it can and it can also build on some of those interests and talents that you already have. I’m excited to see the year unfold. Note about the photograph: I just paired this photograph with this post so that all the posts had a Featured Image from the kickoff day. Feel free to keep it or change it.


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