Are You a Rock or a Feather? (writing exercise)

Are You a Rock or a Feather? (writing exercise)

I found a great exercise for young writers that begins like this:

“Are you more like a rock or a feather? summer or winter? the city or the country? Which word [in a pair of very different things] best describes you, your personality, your dreams?”

The idea was developed by a teacher from Georgia, Dick Fuller, who first used it to inspire outdoor education classes. The idea is simple. Students “have to choose one – the one that describes them the best – and they have to be able to explain why they made the choice.”

That article (on Education World online) offers some other pairs:

  • rock band or string quartet?
  • clothesline or kite string?
  • river or pond?
  • bat or ball?

You can think of your own. Pick two specific things that are opposites or very different (tornado or light breeze, step-ladder or catapult, etc.)

Think about their qualities. Now, which of those qualities describe you in some way? Why?

This is a great idea for a poem (or a personal profile). Write a short poem or a paragraph for your writing journal that uses that imagery.

It helps you think of how one thing (a rock, a feather) is like something else . . . you!

Note: If you want, you can be both: I’m a rock because . . . I’m a feather because . . . The idea is to get you thinking (and writing) in concrete images.

[For those who like terms:]
A simile is when something is like something else. I am like a kite string.
A metaphor is when you say something is something else. I am a rock. I am a [whatever].

Don’t be afraid to be something surprising! The idea: to learn to write more colorfully . . . to think about how to describe (a little bit) of a person’s nature by comparison with something we know well.

Like a rock or a feather.

Which are you?

Pick one and tell me why.

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