You know why I felt so ashamed of sounding like I thought I could do anything I set my mind to? I just went back to classes to finish my undergrad work this term. School is creepy because I have to pretend that I think life will be the same as it is now roughly in a year or two. "What have you been doing this summer?" says a student I liked from another botany class in Spring. "Oh well- I'm doing non-GMO stuff because ...contamination... rolling out of more every day... people feeling helpless and forced to eat poison .... you know- planning on doing this mission every waking moment I can spare until we win or I die. How was your summer?" She told me about her work and school and it sounded so good. Life I could relate to before this overpowering concern.
The good- no - GREAT news is I met people including one of my professors that gets it- the ecological disturbance and the threat of faster spread than others predict- and my experiment to test whether it is. I talked to her, and a friend who has a Masters and is simply amazing and both knew more about the DNA and microbiology aspect than I do times a million. Both said it sounds legit for a true scientific investigation. But with my teacher I also said, you know I'm poisoning chances at grad school and I'd like to be there because that is a chance to do this experiment. I've been poisoning it because I'm the only one I know that thinks this threat is what I think it is. I think the rest of the world is insane- especially the scientists that study this and aren't concerned. (At first I thought it was just the paper was professional and appropriate but then I talk to them and they're just not that concerned. Not like I am.) I am concerned, as a person would be if their home was in a fire's path- and I have to keep on. But then I heard a scientist and professor say yes, she'd like me to leave the articles with her, and thank you for showing her. She might refer me later to someone about this experiment I want to do but it seems reasonable. Before this I tried for several years to come up with a worthy research idea- bouncing them off of teachers every chance I got and it was so difficult to think of something practical, original, and accessible to me. Well, now, I have to impress her in class. I have to focus on school as much as I can so that when I finish my last term I can take this opportunity to prove this hypothesis. I wish it weren't true but there's so much evidence I can see that to me, its a matter of proving it out unfortunately. I'm not saying she can just plop me into grad school and into my experiment but its a reference possibility if I can earn it with my work this term- and she can then vouch for me after checking it out more that this isn't a conspiracy theory but a sound inquiry. The proof of this will be my ability to do the class work in a challenging but exciting class. It stops my mind from constantly being troubled about wasting my time in this fake world because this is a path to a longer-term but solid lead. My class is now part of this endeavor so I'm not just abandoning my work, I'm doing it. And that's nice because it is some needed normalcy too. I'd have to rush and still do the experiment well but its not far away really.
So what do I think about this renewed hope at grad school? I think yay! Another thing to try to get this whole GMO thing stopped. That is all that matters to me of grad school- my career- my academic life. It is a means to an end. An end of GMOs. Tomorrow, Ernie and I meet with the business counselor to tell him we're doing everything for free still for businesses. That's because they're interested in being non-GMO friendly and we want to help them do that for all our sakes. We were asked by one place and inquired if another would come if we put on a sort-of class for employees and/or execs on what the non-GMO life is like- What our consumer needs are- What the natural food industry is about to face (that you guys know too well but they may or may not.) Its a go. We have a huge course manual for the meeting to put together that folks can take home. And it will be recycled to a zillion other uses. I'll be able to answer these questions with illustrations and evidence for everyone like a GMO guide book.
Meanwhile, as I write my confident, optimistic, empowered, big thinking (See Ralph Hinkley post below!) pitches I'm basically giving myself affirmations that I won't fail. I'm being my own cheer leader. Remember I tried to see if anyone wanted to form a non-GMO support group? I had a couple people say they could use it but so far nothing is formed but one day we may do it and that would be so nice. It feels like we get slammed all the time out there, doesn't it? The fish and pigs was a punch in the gut- so was the illegal disregard for the injunction on planting GMO sugar beets by the USDA. I talked to people who told me how the farmers' crops are failing and how they're being treated. I read that horrible press release I linked to in my update 9-28 when the non-GMO report folks gave us a heads-up because I happened to be calling about a contamination issue I found in a science journal from 2009. BTW, Ken there keeps up on everything GMO hot off the press. (We hadn't talked as much about them or the Organic Consumers Association on this site but lately I've mentioned them because I'm seeing more things they do.)
Anyway, from Mr. Pollan's office I got a form letter that said he gets so many he doesn't respond to most but it was read. We don't know by whom- but we have to figure that he is keeping tabs and taking what we say together as information. It didn't make me feel like he was going to write or call. It may have been automatically generated and we'll hear from him yet. But after that today my heart sank and then I re-read my letter thinking it would sell him on the idea. Well it would if you knew we were cheerleaders here and a support system for all the people we've found like us. It might sound good if you knew we have many numbers who hate GMOs too but feel they're impossible to avoid and tell us this- or people that make fun of us (Ernie and I are lucky but we've heard from some of you about how there was NO ONE that respected your concern and will to avoid eating them and you've gone through hell.) So I'm blasting around that I am not going to accept defeat and we have a plan and I've already done this and that and if one thing doesn't work, another will because we're going to stop these things! Was it in the late 90's when Detroit won the Stanley cup twice? The method was hit it toward the goal, every body get down there as the goalie has it bounce off of him and then they all just kept hitting the puck off of him over and over until it went in. This letter still has potential- but what a tone. I get so fed up with reading bad news and so angry when others have to go through what we have been and do that I fume or mope for twenty minutes and then I spring up and go try something else.
But today, I had to go to my alternate reality life where I get fooled that I could just be thinking like other people and concentrate on academics for the sake of my future as a professional who will one day have money to fix up my car or whatever I might do if life were normal. If I thought life were going to be normal without some serious changes in the short run I wouldn't be busting myself and putting myself in situations where I have an inclination to be self-conscious. Ernie wouldn't be putting in all sorts of hours doing this project and keeping the whole house together and keeping me from forgetting to tie my shoes (Ok I have Velcro all-terrain sandals so I don't have that problems but I would.) If I'm on a phone call for an hour or three, he is listening on speaker phone saying hello and sometimes helping jot notes or find stuff online for the caller. So it is disconcerting and surreal to go to school- or was. Now I see the light- I see a path to grad school- a path to doing the research project that could get folks to take the threat seriously and just admit they don't know and we have some science to do and less talking about what we think we know because its obvious.
So you guys, being readers, are like the people holding my line. I'm going out - far out on this line to get the big fish... I'm going to try to get this research done by putting in a term of "my dues" and then having somewhere to go after that- to grad school- with an experiment lined up and waiting that will help us slow this assault on life and our food down. Even if I find out that this won't work, I had two people I respect that understand science versus justification and rhetoric, tell me thumbs up on this research. Yet another angle. So now I look at my audacity of writing Mr. Pollan saying how much I'm going to do and how I've got something he could help us with so I can make a difference. I look at it now and what I see is that I'm not defeated. I'll sleep tonight.