Writing Prompt: The Sea Urchin

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Have you ever seen a sea urchin’s teeth? I did, last time I was at the Seattle Aquarium, and before the docent told me what they were I assumed they’d come out of a shark. Maybe a small shark, but still: they looked fierce. I also learned that while urchins often feed on algae, some species can gobble up fish.

Sea urchins are considered by many to be a culinary delicacy. They’ve been a featured ingredient on Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. I’ve seen Bobby Flay cut one in half, use its innards to make a soup, and then serve it up in the spiny shell. I don’t understand the appeal of it, but the judges seemed to like it. He probably won that battle. He’s good at winning.

Anyhow, this alien oddity from under the sea seemed like good fodder for fiction; this creature that by all rights should never have come in contact with humans, but is a main feature of aquarium touch pools and high-end menus alike. So today, I want you to think about sea urchins. Maybe urchins in general. Consider that some people call it the “hedgehog of the sea.” Consider the French phrase, “the elegance of the hedgehog” (and if you have the opportunity, read the novel of the same title).

As always, I encourage you to share your work in the comments; I’ll share mine if you share yours.

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