Saturday, January 10, 2015

Found Objects: Feathers

Everywhere I walk, I pick stuff up.

Every little thing represents an idea.

Even the red prince. 

Red Prince in the Tree
Though I put him up in a tree to fade away ...

These found objects displayed in a bespoke feather shelf
made by R Hartlieb
All the feathers I'm finding these days will belong to a character I'm filling out with detail. He started as a skinny Second Husband but is being groomed to fill a much larger role. As a Second Husband he was able to be a Scholar. He picked linguistics for his studies so he could still be of use and his people set him and his scribe onto detecting? 

Because things are getting away from them. Toh are being murdered. So what, say the police. You want to know how many murders every year? But the Toh know there's more to it than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The different pieces of evidence left at one of the scenes point to a frightening scenario they would prefer to sweep under a carpet. They send the linguist to find the truth. 

From there, back to the feathers. As I picked up maybe the fifth, the idea for the Second Husband sprang fully-fledged into my mind. If you'll open your mind to possibility, and train yourself out of the instant-commentary habit, you'll set yourself up to be assailed by ideas wherever you go. As I do. You'll have so many ideas in fact, you'll need to pick and choose. 

I ignored the red prince and his idea. Though I wedged him in the tree to be more noticeable. Some other writer will come along. We're pretty thick on the ground in these parts. The feathers I keep. Abe will need all the feathers I can find. He uses them the way you or I might use our clothes to sign-post our moods. Only his scribe is as yet an adept on his master's moods. 

I give you a taste of Abe the Linguist. 

Abe let himself into the bloody apartment. His eyes teared up from the stink, from controlling his gag reflex. The stink, indescribable. Even by a linguist. Spilled blood and lots of it. Fear-loosened bowels in this corner. Post mortem evacuation over there. Shit and shit.

No police presence was a happy mystery, despite a national police information gathering facility on the first ten floors of the building.
Knowing the misery of the task, he’d worn his eagle feather. When his attention wandered to pleasanter activities, dallying yesterday with the runaway bride for instance, he tended to lift his gaze to his imaginary elysian fields. The shaft of the feather stuck through the first crossover of his braid would prong him in his neck and remind him of the work at hand.
Why have a linguist at all, he thought again, if all you give him is police work? He answered his weakling self with pedantry. The former keeps you sane. It’s a hobby. So why did Toh admin give him a scribe? He presumed the youth following him into the kill zone, a scribe by the damned stylus he held poised over a damned tablet. Electronic. What a world. 

As you can see, there's a lot of work to do before he can be outed as a viable character. 

But all that from picking up a feather? 

Ideas are everywhere. Really.

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