When I came home from work last Friday night, this package, intriguingly marked with the words “Curios and Conundrums,” was waiting for me on my front porch. I had an inkling as to what this package contained and who was responsible for sending it 🙂 However, I was not ready to deal with what I found inside the package: (I opened it with a steak knife because that just seemed, well, the correct implement to use for some reason).
It was another box in the shape of a book. Now, if I had not already known that this was from The Mysterious Package Company (and who sent it), I might have freaked out a little. I learned that some recipients of such boxes have called the police because they were so upset.
The MPC is so mysterious that you cannot even access their website unless you apply for membership. I will use their own words to describe what this company does: “We specialize in remarkable deliveries which intrigue, befuddle, and delight…We tell stories you can touch.” In other words, they provide what I would call “immersive stories”, stories in which you must interact with physical objects in order to understand the story — if you can figure out the story at all.
Yes, it is mysterious. In fact, it took me four days of trawling the internet and asking questions on various social media groups and forums to learn…. absolutely nothing! The participants seem to know that the fun of unraveling the puzzles presented in the package is doing it on your own and spoilers are absolutely forbidden. The only hints I was given were to read everything, take notes, know that “Google is your friend,” and be ready to be inspired.
Okay, then. In keeping with this “mums-the-word” stratagem, I will only say (and not show) that the box contained a Victorian era-styled gazette newspaper with an odd assortment of news stories, opinion pieces, period advertisements, puzzles, and what-not; various replica stickers from Victorian-era apothecary bottles; two paper-craft items requiring assembly, one with a warning that the images in the completed assemblage might be disturbing; a magnetic replica of a phrenology head that you can write on with dry erase markers; a little cookbook of “gruel” recipes from around the world, a tiny enamel pin of a guy in straight-jacket with the word “Bedlam” written on it, and — the coolest thing — an little metal Egyptian-style obelisk with odd inscriptions and depictions. All these items tie together to make some sort of story.
In my research just to understand what I received, I learned something vital about myself as a writer: I have become quite ordinary in my story-telling. That is, I write the words in an order that I choose with the intent of conveying a singular narrative to the reader. My readers stand on the outside while I feed them the narrative. I don’t allow my readers to interact with the story except to a specific end that I dictate.
Not so with this MPC Curios and Conundrum box. I, the reader, am invited in to create the story through the provided objects and texts.
It took me four whole days to figure that out.
Let the writing commence.
ljgloyd (c) 2017