The Other Side of the Wishing Coin
July 14, 2011
Audio Post – Soundcloud ready
August 24, 2012
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“But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod
ready for the next arrow.”
— Billy Collins, “Aimless Love”


Aimless Love, An Exercise

I’ve borrowed this writing prompt from brilliant author Cate DiCamillo, who was inspired to create this writing exercise based on the Billy Collins poem. I find it a shining portal to imagining. My answers are below, but if you’d like to play along, here’s how it goes:

Imagine your heart as a target in a field. Begin by describing the field.

Describe the tripod.

Describe your heart.

Name the arrows.

Describe the sound the wind makes as it moves through all the arrows bristling in your heart.

Describe, in as few words as possible, how your heart feels.  

Ask your heart if it would like to be removed from the tripod. Ask it if it would like to lay face down in the field, in a place where every arrow would simply sail on by. How does your heart answer this question? What does your heart say?

Here are my answers:

Imagine your heart as a target in a field. Begin by describing the field. 

Well of course it has to be a dream field, built over a baseball field that was once a corn field that held a scarecrow who helped a ruby-slippered girl on her way to an emeral
d city to make a dream come true. (Thank you Mr. Kinsella and Mr. Baum!)

Describe the tripod. 
The tripod is an antique from the 30’s, borrowed and then traded for five magic beans. It was used on set during the filming of a little MGM project entitled The Wizard of Oz. (Most of what it shot ended up on the cutting room floor, but the scene where the horses turn different colors, that was recorded with a camera that sat on this tripod!)

Describe your heart. 
It’s name could be Dorothy, but it’s not. It’s got brains and heart and courage and home and it’s the color of ruby slippers. It knows how to pilot a hot air balloon all the way to Kansas. It’s Soft and fleshy and scabbed and scarred and tough and vulnerable and…willing.

Name the arrows. 
Mouse yawns. A lion’s tousled brown mane as he sleeps next to me on a turquoise pillow, under circus sheets, with an orange teddy bear. A lullaby sung by Storm Large. All things little that are really big. All things big that are really little. The book Desperaux. Chihuahua freckles. Tinkerbell. Misunderstandings with a side of Forgiveness. Redemption. The sound of Amazing Grace. Pain with a side of laughter and a pinch of hope. The movie “Magnolia.” Fat girl. Ugly girl. Too-much girl. Over-the-top-girl meets Over-the-top-boy under the big tent of the circus. The circus. Being seen. Seeing. Even through the crooked lenses.

Describe the sound the wind makes as it moves through all the arrows bristling in your heart. 
It’s tinny and scratchy, like something played on an old brass phonograph. If you listen closely it might sound like crickets in a dream-baseball-corn field singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Describe, in as few words as possible, how your heart feels. 
Broken open. Broken free. Like dancing. Maybe a whirling dervish.

Ask your heart if it would like to be removed from the tripod. Ask it if it would like to lay face down in the field, in a place where every arrow would simply sail on by. How does your heart answer this question? What does your heart say?

Pin me up
like a scarecrow.

I’ll take the field.
There’s.
No.
Place.
Like.
Home. 
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
I
surrender.