Rant leading into a solution?

I have been…a bit stressed, recently.  I hid out in bed until early afternoon.  It probably would not have been a big deal, but I lost Wednesday to exhaustion and Saturday to the field trip.  Given that those were the days I’d hoped to take care of most of my homework, I can say there was a bit of stress!

I didn’t realize until late in the week that Wednesday just evaporated because I’d taken two ibuprofen (doctor’s advice) on what I think was Tuesday night (on top of my five regular pills and a Vitamin D supplement), then woke up at 4:10 AM wanting to vomit.  Even though I think I did (eventually) get back to sleep, it makes sense that I would get up for my doctor’s appointment (which I didn’t want to go to and which didn’t have to be ASAP — everyone just called me all at once saying to come in like it was an emergency) on Wednesday morning and then come back home and sleep for six hours.  Because I was probably pretty well exhausted.

And yeah, I’m still irritated about that.  There’s a stronger and more apt word, but it’s vulgar, so I won’t use it.

Right now I think I’ve got four separate homework assignments for the same class, though truth be told, I can only remember three:  the write-up of the field trip, the criticism of two other students’ work, the journal exploration of my symbol.  I think the other one was a reflection on having someone else present my work + posting my work online, which I probably completed sometime last week.  Either that, or it was actually going on the field trip, versus writing about going on the field trip.  I haven’t been able to start the latter because the prompt hasn’t been handed out yet; what I did to save my memory was write about it in the blog.

What I can say is that my Monolith graphite sticks saved my butt today.  I feel now like I’ve done some decent work exploring the symbol associations.  I’ve done two basic sketches (so basic that they’re note-taking, not really ready for daylight yet) in 4B graphite, in addition to some basic concept illustrations (nine) and a huge free-association list of words which I connect with water.

Prof wanted us to write a story with the symbol taking a pivotal role, but I think I know too much about “stories” to see in what way I could actually do that.  From what I was taught, “stories” involve action and conflict and drama, not to mention character, which are superfluous to the nature of my symbol — which is a setting element.  I got into Art so I could stop making linear conflict-ridden dramatic narrative out of everything.  Seriously.

I have a story in mind, but it’s very simple and pretty boring.  Really, it’s more like scene-setting or worldbuilding.  I haven’t figured out whether there are any actions in there that would be interesting both to read and to write about.  If there is, it probably doesn’t involve the water itself, unless it’s water being polluted, and there goes my utopia.  Probably, more or less permanently.

Although, now that I see this, I see a connection between diving for pearls offshore and mining for minerals onshore, with possible Acid Mine Drainage polluting the cove.  That’s…interesting.  I hadn’t thought of AMD working that way in my story, but if someone is after gems in the sea, they’re probably after gems in the rock, too.  And, sulfur + water + air = sulfuric acid; sulfuric acid + heavy-metal-bearing minerals (arsenic, cadmium, selenium, etc.) = probably toxic salts.

I remember reading about a village in Japan that had this going on a long time ago…there was cadmium from a mine draining into the river which everyone ate, drank, and bathed from.  Eventually, because of the cadmium buildup in their bodies, their bones became too demineralized to support their weight (this is called itai-itai), and cadmium can’t be chelated from the body.  I’m not sure what happened after the toxins reached a greater body of water (there are certain places where heavy metals collect in an ocean environment), but the problem was serious.

It’s possible for me to use a version of this in a narrative about the cove from which my main character recovers pearls, the motivating factors being greed and ignorance (of possible collectors who like to display wealth).  It also ties in with my own reservations about becoming a jeweler; “leave it in the ground” is a kind of apt thought to keep behind it.  (This is a motto of a movement that I’ve heard about secondhand in regard to fracking and oil extraction.)  What is destroyed in the process of extraction is likely of greater value than what is recovered.

Maybe I can work with this, later tonight — though I probably have to get out of here earlier than normal tomorrow to take care of some Financial Aid + Counseling stuff, and to make an appointment with DSPS…


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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