Confessions are good for the soul. Here’s one I will make. Sheepishly, I’ll admit, I got hooked. I got hooked watching the History Channel’s series, “The Curse of Oak Island.” Of course there is treasure buried on Oak Island, otherwise why would the Laguna brothers—Rick and Marty—and their team spend millions of dollars and dig through muck and stone searching for the money pit? They have built a dam; they have bored holes; they have researched bits of wood; they have dynamited areas; they have used technology and heavy machinery; they have drained the swamp; and they have captivated millions of viewers who hope they will find buried treasure. Actually I laugh thinking surely I cannot possibly be hooked, can I, watching people dig holes?
In teaching and critiquing manuscripts and writings, I tell students they must have a good hook at the beginning of their stories. In the Oak Island saga, the hook can be termed “the search,” which for some two hundred years has driven people to study the landscape and terrain of that small island off the shores of Nova Scotia. Will it be the Holy Grail? A chest full of gold? Perhaps the lost manuscripts of Shakespeare’s works? What I know is the search, the hook as it were, is the story, and in this case, it isn’t fiction.
Speaking of adventures and holes. Years ago the librarian in our town (now deceased) told me of an adventure I should take with my children. “Visit the Blue Hole,” she said. “It’s a wonderful short trip from here, and you’ll have a good time.” So, on a summer day, the family packed up and we traveled east to Castalia, Ohio, where we were informed the “Blue Hole” was located.
When we arrived and asked where we should go to see the Blue Hole, the woman in the restaurant –I think it was a Dairy Queen, said she’d never heard of it. Another person, overhearing our conversation, said she knew about it, but that it was “nothing special.” Off we went, not knowing what to expect. Truly, it was nothing special. Except it is. From 1920 until it closed in 1990, the Blue Hole was a tourist spot, and some 165,000 visitors came annually to see it. Alas, we never did see the Blue Hole. What we did see was a little park area, a couple of benches, and a hand pump. It wasn’t the Blue Hole. Later we learned the real Blue Hole, a fresh water pond fed by an artesian spring, had closed, and it was in the private domain of the Castalia Trout Club. We later also learned there are several blue holes in the area.
Oak Island’s treasure, I understand, has been discovered. I’m still hooked. Like a good story, like a good book, there is intrigue, mystery, good characters, and a plot. Every writer should get hooked on his or her own story. Interestingly enough the Blue Hole is still the subject of articles and questions about its history. When I talk about watching the digging on Oak Island, my husband likes to say, “Well, well, well --three holes in the ground and it rained.” I note, however, he seems intrigued.