• Carol Wiebe

What Is It About X and O Marks?

So many of us put X and O marks in our work.

At first blush, I think of X as an indication of wrongdoing, an error ~ from school days when you received a check mark or an x. But the wrongness that someone in authority (or even just another person who decides they have the right to judge you) has expressed may simply be a result of their lack of imagination or vision. They may not understand you, or the idea you are exploring. Long ago, I came to the realization that I must expurgate this conception of mistake from my consciousness ~ extinguish, expunge and extirpate it. The computer has provided me with a wonderful mental picture of doing just that: control (PC) or command (Mac) X. This keyboard sequence deletes whatever I have highlighted.

An even better way is to rename the mistakes as Opportunities (the O is nudging in, finding an opening). That enables me to extricate myself from regret and exhibit an entire exposition of new possibilities. I exit one methodology, and begin to execute another, better informed by having experienced the former. Perhaps I have not actually abandoned that path, I have simply expanded my repertoire to the extent that it is only a small extension in an ever expanding existence.

I am really getting excited about all the examples of X words now: exhibit, extraordinary, extrasensory, exalt, exaltation, examine, excavate, exceed, excel, exceptional, excite, excerpt, exclaim, exclamation, execute (as in execute a drawing), exegesis, exemplar, exercise, exert, exhale, exhibit, exhilarate, exist, exorbitant, exotic, expand, expansive, expectation, expedite, expend, experiment, expert, explain, expository, expound, exemplify, extant, extend, extensive, exude, exuberant, exult.

And the O? Oh my, the sphere, the circle, the symbol of wholeness and completion. The meaning of that symbol goes on and on, reverberates forever. Can you sense the vibration? It is no accident that OM is holy. The Mmmmm is the closing of the lips, the attempt to enclose the O, or bracket it temporarily, because we must attend to other things. Mundane things, Ordinary things.

Let’s play a little more with O, and the meaning laden words that spring to mind: original, omnipotent, open, one, optimal, optimist, observe, obsess, obtain, occasion, occupy, ocean, odd, offbeat, offering, opportunity, olfactory, omen, omniscient, operative, oracle, orator, ovary, ovulate, orbit, oval, ovular, orb, orchid, orchard, orchestra, order, ordain, organize, orgasm, orifice, other, our, outrageous, outskirts, outstanding, ovation, ovum, owe, own. One of my favorites is onomatopoeia.

This is my most recent journal cover. I have now explained to myself where the X and O marks came from. Those insights will exert an influence on the contents.

X and O Journal Cover ~ by Carol Wiebe


I am pleased with this because I think it can stand as a piece of art in its own right. That’s a bonus, an extra.

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