Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

Water you, stupid?

So yesterday, as anybody living in the US probably knows, was Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, which is a federal holiday and means most workplaces are closed. (The roommate's wasn't, which annoyed her no end, but she got a lot done at the office because it was so very slow.) Since I work for a bank, I did indeed have the day off.
What does the Anne do on a day to herself? Well, often I sleep in, but this time I was up only a little later than I usually am. Still, I spent most of the morning just puttering about. Ate a leisurely breakfast, drank lots of tea, watched silly TV, played games. Basically, caught my breath, which I seldom have a chance to do during the week.
One thing I did not do, somewhat to my annoyance, was write. It might have been a good idea, but then again it might not. While my writing does need plenty of emotion involved, in order to trigger matching emotions in my readers, "overwhelmed with frustration to the screaming point" is not what I want people to experience!
So I took my break, and in so doing may possibly have advanced my writing without meaning to, because while I was puttering around the house getting done a little of this and a little of that, I was subconsciously thinking about the daily lives of the characters in my various open worlds, and how their routines compare with mine.
Lots of people have posed the question, what piece of technology makes the most people's lives better? There are good arguments for a great many things, but my personal vote is for something which might seem very mundane. More even than electricity or cars, I am grateful for clean, reliable, hot and cold running water.
Some of this stems from a personal experience. About four jobs ago, I worked in a space in which the infinite wisdom of the architect had placed the coffeemaker in a room which did not have a sink. So every morning, I would have to take six empty coffeepots down the hall to the bathroom, fill them with water, and carry them back.
At first, I grumbled and grumped about this part of my job, but then it struck me that I was participating in a ritual which millions of women around the world are still doing every day of their lives. The consequence for their not doing so, instead of there being no coffee, is there being no water for anything. Cooking, washing, drinking.
To add to their load, many of these women can never be sure if the water they are bringing to their homes is truly safe to use for everyday purposes, or if they will contaminate the very things they are trying to clean. But they have no choice -- they must use the water they have, and take their chances with what may be in it.
I can't say that I've contributed huge sums of money to any particular clean water projects, mostly because I don't have huge sums of money to give. But if and when I start getting rich from my writing, charities which help to provide clean and reliable water around the world will definitely be high on my list of projects I support.
*looks back up page* Huh. Not quite where I intended to take today's blog post, but it's what wrote itself, so I suppose it's what I shall post. Now it just needs a good title... *thinks* Ah well, have to settle for a punny one. Thanks as always for reading, and I shall return on Thursday with (I hope) some actual writing news!

4 Comments to Water you, stupid?:

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Elizabeth Conall on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 2:47 PM
Might want to investigate the clean-water charity/ies you choose to make sure they make sure the wells and such they install will be maintained after they leave. 'Cause if the shiny new well breaks, it's back to the water-trudging. Or I saw this thing on Tumblr somebody invented, it's basically a giant water jug on wheels, so the same trip to the river comes back with a whole lot more water. Maybe invest in that and in making water purification systems (or maybe just water filters) available to these people? Though there's the "what these people need is white folks" aspect to avoid...
Reply to comment
Anne on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:36 AM
Agreed that creating dependency is bad. Helping people help themselves, and get the chance to fix what's wrong with their lives, is what I'm thinking about and what I'm hoping for. In the short run, I'll settle for helping to relieve suffering.

Geoffrey on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 1:18 AM
At least you’re not erasing whole paragraphs! Let’s see, running water. I suppose I could share a few thoughts about charities, in response to EC’s comments. But that’s kind of a mess not worth digging into. (Q: How do you systematically help people without creating a systematic dependency? A: One person at a time.) Oh, I see. You got sidetracked halfway through. Fifth paragraph in, the topic changed abruptly. Clever girl! So how do your character’s routines compare with yours? Besides water, that is, given that it’s one of the significant differences.
Reply to comment
Anne on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:42 AM
As I said above, dependency is bad, but when there are dictators and wars and exploitation everywhere, helping people get reliable sources of water, food, medicine, and education seems like the best way to help them become the kind of citizens who can dig into the problems of making their homes more self-sufficient. As for the routines... they vary less than you might think. At least when I'm home. I don't have to haul the water from the stream or the well, and I don't have to kindle a fire and boil it to get it hot, but I still need to scrub my plates and pots to get them clean. I have much easier access to books and games than my ancestors did, and more time to spend on such enjoyable pursuits, but I still need to pay attention to the words on the page or the figures on the board, and bend my mind to understanding them and their next moves. And come the springtime, I'll be participating in a routine as old as agriculture... all hail the compost heap!

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