Thursday, December 3, 2015

Power of the X

I watched as he sorted through the direction sticks and all the markers and created a map. He stood, hands on hips and turned his head slightly this way and that as he checked his work. He announced that now he would need paper, turned on his heel and walked to the table collecting an index card on his way. 

The only chair available was positioned so that his back was turned to the map he had made on the floor, so he would turn, look, then turn back, draw a line, and then repeat the whole sequence line for line. After a time, he got up with his card and held it above the map and said, "I can't get this right." I suggested that he stay close and look for the shapes that he had made with the direction sticks and markers. The x was not hanging him up, it was the path. The x is easy. He has been drawing that for months. X marks the spot. X is for danger, it is to cancel out bad guys, to stop the witch from coming inside, and it shows you where to look for the treasure. Once you have the x though, you will soon have the rest of the story.

The direction sticks take you from the purple school around and through the forest, over the bike bridge, past the dragon tooth rock, and eventually the blue house. At the top of the photo, you can see his drawing of his map. It begins with the x.

Other works that begin with the x and move into line and more importantly, story.

In the photograph above, the illustrator tells me that the figure at the left is the Superhero Dad. This Superhero Dad has x-ed out the Gobbledygook there on the right. The Gobbledygook is not happy about this situation because his dinner, the figure in middle who is the Superhero Son of the Superhero Dad, was pulled out of his slimy grip. See the slime? Rescued, but still slimy, hence the grimace. The Gobbledygook is trapped by the x. He will never be free.

Knowledge about the x is not just about drawing. Think about how the x is used in other places as well. For instance in this construction. The leaning branches of the den are in an x! 

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