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X Marks the Spot

March 8, 2013

When my sisters and I were little we used to make old stuff. We’d draw somewhat vague treasure maps and then burn the edges so the paper browned and curled. Then we’d hide the paper under a rock or in an old box, fake-find it, and  try to dupe the neighbor kids into believing we’d discovered clues to a chest of gold —I’m not sure why. Probably we were just bored. Maybe we wanted to watch them search fruitlessly all afternoon for entertainment? And I don’t know why we thought all old maps had to have specifically been through fire to look authentic. It may have had something to do with the opening score to the TV series Bonanza, where the Cartwright brothers ride toward the camera through a hole a branding iron has just seared into a map of Nevada territory. We loved all things Ponderosa. Particularly Ben Cartwright and his handsome sons.

But our claims were bolstered by the fact that legend had it that the pirate Black Beard had sailed up the Magothy River in the 18th century and been engaged in a fierce battle near Black Hole Creek. In the height of the battle Blackbeard and his first mate slipped off the ship with a box of treasure, rowed ashore, and buried it within a 15- minute walk  of the creek–which would put the alleged treasure somewhere in the vicinity of our woods and pasture.

Write about something you did as a kid that you can’t understand or which you now regret having done—something to a sibling? A friend? A teacher? Parent? Pet? What were the best and worst of your motives? Write about a favorite TV show from your youth.  Why was it compelling? Who were you identifying with? How were you affected?  What did you long for that may have been represented in that show? Write about treasure—where you buried it, where you sought it, where you found it. Are these prompts somehow all one story? X marks the spot. Dig here.

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