So why the bath ducks? Well, they are props for a writing assignment for my group at VOICES. And for me.
Bath ducks provide a two-for-one opportunity.
Exercise 1: Choose a duck. Describe the duck to someone who has never seen a bath duck before. The purpose is to make us look at objects consciously, differently. (I can use some help with this one myself, which might be why I’m assigning it.)
Exercise 2: I am going to put a label on the bottom of each duck, with a number. Each number will correspond to an item on a list of words I have, words like “courage,” “family,” “safety” and so on. The second exercise is to write for 10 minutes on that word. Far more abstract, and probably easier.
Then we’ll write some more dialogue, since the dialogue exercise last session went quite well.
About seeing objects differently… I am writing a fantasy novella that is set in Earth’s future, where things have changed and magic is viable. People who live in this world scavenge for metals and various historical doo-dads that they don’t recognize. They find a lot of cell phones. I’m been describing cell phones and tablets as being “like black lacquer.” Last night I was sitting next to (shameless namedropping alert) Nebula award nominee Sofia Samatar (shameless namedropping ends), watching her tweet on her lovely pearl-while phone which looked more something enameled. Now I have to think about what that object would look like to my fictional folks.
And by the way, if you love language and want to immerse yourself in a different and dreamlike world, and you like sad tales with sweet endings, go read Samatar’s book A Stranger in Olondria. It is beautiful.