X is for X marks the spotBack when I was a boy, I loved stories about pirates and buccaneers and I particularly loved their treasure maps. Any book that had an illustration of one was longingly pored over as I imagined discovering the fabled spot where their hidden jewels and bullion could be found.
When I was older and started performing with bands, stage hands often marked an X on the stage with chalk or gaffer tape indicating where they wanted me to stand, particularly if the event was being filmed. And, occasionally, I’ve come across this technique when delivering a public talk on stage. Just stand on the X and everyone will hear and see you, I was told. Of course, I might have started on the X but I inevitably wandered around.
No matter where I’ve had to perform—in a classroom, on the street, or in a corporate boardroom—I will imagine that X as part of my pre-storytelling ritual. Creating a space from which to deliver, a space into which I invite my audience, figuratively, of course. In my work, X marks the spot of “storied treasure.”