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Find the Future Lowdown: Part 3

May 24, 2011

Whatever traveled through Jane McGonigal’s mind as she dreamt up Find the Future, I can’t guess. I think, though, that she held some of it in reserve and spread it around on Friday night. Some sort of magic artifact dust has been floating in my mind since then, and I don’t yet want to let it settle.

I love books. And I love the stuff that gets attached to books.

The first artifact my squad recovered: Winnie-the-Pooh and friends. The originals. Always on display in the Children’s Room, these formerly fuzzy guys (now so flat) sit in a glass case together. Eeyore won my heart with the hairnet that keeps him intact at nearly 100 years old. Maybe it was really, really late for me, but I peered into that case and got all sorts of choked up. Ridiculous.

Upon finding artifacts like Winnie, we returned to the Rose Reading Room to log onto the game page …

… and start writing/drawing/photographing quests. For dear Pooh and friends:

QUEST: A.A. Milne brought a stuffed bear to life, writing stories about Pooh and his adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. In these stories, Pooh and his friends became the embodiment of kindness, friendship, loyalty and courage. What values do you think will be most important in the future? Create a new mascot and friends who could embody those values. Write their first story together …

This was all about imagining a better future, and I had an idea: four friends (Pacific Walrus, Leatherback Turtle, Magellanic Penguin, and Polar Bear) throw a party to celebrate the re-birthday of the fifth friend in their tight circle (Tiger). Why re-birthday? It’s been 100 years since Tiger, after having once topped the world’s most endangered species list, was dropped from it altogether. The others once rounded out the top five but they, too, now face a certain future. The story was co-written with a lovely woman who wandered the aisles saying, “Suzanne? Is there a Suzanne here? Want to write with me?” Her first name and my middle name match: Marie. We knew nothing about each other. Still don’t. But we wrote a one-page scene and became very invested in Tiger and Friends. Marie brought the values to our table: trust, fortitude, loyalty.

Another artifact that stole me away for many minutes. The first novel ever written—The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, circa 1021. Whether the Japanese noblewoman wrote all or just some of the novel is still up for debate …

And another: Malcolm X’s journal. My squadmates and I considered, beyond the words produced by charismatic leader’s brainstorming moment, his elegant handwriting, his deliberate numbering, how hard he pressed pen to page.

And here, principles:

And here, a page from Kerouac’s world.

By 2am, it really sank in that we didn’t need to compete with crowds. Some played hide and seek. Some soft-shoed across the lobby (so fun!). But I just stood over artifacts, thinking.

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One Comment
  1. Jeanette permalink

    I felt a little tight in the throat reading about Winnie the Pooh too, special artifact to so many children. …leading to the first novel ever written, a Malcolm X journal. Goosebumps. The scene you co-wrote sounds really precious, A. A. Milne would be proud.


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