Sunday, March 06, 2005

Mary's Mercury

Last Monday I did my last sweeps story on mercury toxicity. (Yes, once in a while we get to do serious stories that aren't about killer clay or celeb c-sections. haha) Mercury is a real serious problem in the US. Power plants and improper trash disposal have polluted our lakes and oceans. And eating too much of certain types of fish (such as tuna, salmon, swordfish, etc) can put you at risk. While an average adult has to have pretty high levels to have personal health problems, it can be devistating to a baby or child. So if you're thinking of becoming pregnant, I highly suggest you get your mercury levels tested. Greenpeace is doing a hair sampling project and you can get home test through them for $25.

What does this have to do with writing? Absolutely nothing. Just consider it a public service anoucement. :-) But I do have a funny story to go with this.

When I did the story, I wanted to test three women. So I found the first two (volunteers from a Craigslist ad) and I needed one more person. Well, my friend/coworker Mary said she ate a lot of fish and was curious about her levels. So I let her take the test too. Well, it turned out she was the only one of the three who tested high. Not like she's going to keel over or anything, but if she were to become pregnant it could be a concern.

So she reluctantly agreed to be featured in the story. Fine. No big deal, right?

Well, when you're in a 7-News report, you're seen by a lot of people. Especially if it airs in the 11pm news on a night when CSI is a repeat. Especially if your part in the story is also featured in the promo. Especially if that promo is run all through the weekend, nonstop from Friday to Monday.

Everyone in Boston now knows about Mary's Mercury problem.

It's become almost a joke. Friends have called her up, all concerned. Strangers at the bus stop have asked her about her "condition." People have sent her worried emails. Even the Greek salad guy asked me yesterday whether Mary was okay 'cause he saw her on TV.

Mary's now become an accidental spokesperson for mercury toxicity in Boston!

Luckily she takes it all in stride (she's a good sport!) and has actually been using the opportunity to educate people about mercury and the dangers of eating fish. So hopefully some good will have come out of this embarrassing situation.

The moral of this story is: don't ever willingly agree to be on the news. Heh!

In other news:

I'm back in the writing groove these days, which is good. Up to 23,000 words of Boys that Bite. I thought I'd be further along by now, but the end of sweeps was sooo busy that I just decided I needed to take a week off of writing, concentrate fully on the day job and force myself not to feel guilty about that. I don't know why I have this burning overachiever thing going on all the time. I mean the book is not due til May 31st. Which means I have close to 3 months to write 37,000 words. I could do that in my SLEEP. That's only like 400 words a day. And I average 1,000 normally. So why, when I take a day off, do I become racked with guilt? I should be enjoying the writing process. Having fun with the book.

I know some authors have these crazy deadlines where they have to write a 100,000 word book in a week. I just couldn't do that. I only have so much creativity in me in a day and when I'm tapped, that's it. No more writing til my batteries recharge. I envy those writers who can just keep going and going and going like an Energizer Bunny or something.

One writer that's especially prolific like this is Katie MacAlister. I think she's said she can write over 3,000 words a day. So impressive. I'm currently reading her book "You Slay Me." It's soo good. I love the demon Newfoundland dog. Katie is one of the most funny writers I've ever known. She just has this knack for humor. If you've read her books you know what I mean. If you haven't, what are you waiting for??? I also bought her Sex, Lies and Vampires book so I'm on to that next.

Happy Saturday everyone! :-)

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