Heart of the Matter

by Nancy Casey

Begin by writing a word or a phrase in the center of your page. Any word. It can be an idea that you have been thinking about, something from your surroundings, or simply the first thing that pops into your mind.

Draw a heart around it.

From the heart draw a spiral, a long circular line that goes round and round until it reaches the edge of the page. You will be writing on this line. Knowing that will help you gauge how far apart the lines should be from each other as they circle round and round. As you get close to the top of the page, don’t let the line go all the way to the edge. Leave some space where you can put a title when you have finished writing.

Starting at the center of the spiral and starting with the word or phrase in the heart, write one long sentence that fills up the whole long line of the spiral, all the way out to the end. It will be a long and convoluted sentence, but that’s okay.

To keep your sentence stretching longer and longer, use connector words like because, unless, which, until, whenever, although, nevertheless, however, and so forth. Keep adding to your sentence until you run out of space to write on. You will probably have to spin the page round and round as you write. Don’t go back and read what you have written until you get to the very end.

When you have run out of room to write, bring your sentence to a close and then return to the beginning and read it. Make small changes if you would like to. Add color or decoration, too, if you think your page needs it.

In some ways, your overly-long sentence will seem strange and disconnected. Did it turn out to be “about” anything in any way? Is the phrase inside the heart really “the heart of the matter?” You are the only one who really knows.

See if you can make up a title that connects everything together somehow. Put your initials and the date on the finished page.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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