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Heart Shaped


Here's an adventure in improvisational writing to help our writers keep the ink flowing. Each week, two friends take a single word from a heart shaped box and write whatever comes to mind. The sample below explains the process, and demonstrates the great results. Dig in!


#209 “ARDENT", by J.P. Rayne, July 2nd, 2003


We’ve been fairly ardent about doing our writing practice; usually keeping our getting together to once a week.  Sometimes there have been gaps – when either of us has been away, but mostly we’ve been fairly ardent.

     The little heart-shaped box that holds the words – like a giant pink papier machier fortune cookie – has been filled several times.  My writing practice partner, Jane, could say more about how that particular aspect comes together – as she’s the one who keeps it full. 

     From my perspective, the heart-shaped box appears – filled with words on folded strips of paper – ready to be tasted, one at a time.

     We set the clock for fifteen minutes and, right after reading the word, push “start.”

     Our only rule is to write. No stopping to think.  No editing, no reading over.  Just write.  The idea being that the writing – beginning with the act of having pen on paper – will pull out a string of thoughts and words that hopefully, will make some sense.

     Sometimes a word shows up that draws a complete blank.  And even on days like that, the solution is to put the pen on the page and WRITE.

     No stopping to think about what a particular word might mean – it’s just drop in the line - as an angler would – hope it sinks down deep enough to catch some real meat, and then start winding it in. 

     Sometimes there’s a mess of seaweed on the end of the line.  And sometimes there’s a shiny, wriggling, enthusiastic ten-pounder!

     I always throw it back. 

     Back into the ocean of words where – I imagine – it will swim and play and live life out dodging the big things and picking on the little things until once again, some ardent angler comes along – sticks in her thumb, and pulls out what? 


     an even bigger plum!


     Hmmm – where were we?


    Ah yes, the plum.


Purple and red,

Round and ripe

Falling to the ground, 

the bruises hardly noticed.

Still tastes sweet,

Still holds its’ shape, 

until the birds show up, 

and do their work on it.




J.P. Rayne



Jaywalker, February 2004


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