The A to Z Challenge – I for Infinity Mushroom

II’m participating in the A to Z Challenge. All through the month of April (excluding Sundays which I’ll be using for the Sneak Peek), I’ll write a post for each letter of the alphabet. Follow this link to nearly 2000 other bloggers and authors.
The A to Z Challenge – participating blogs

Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter I — I for Infinity Mushroom.

Writers understand a fundamental truth — that next creative spark often comes from something that has captured the imagination.  The impetus could be something simple like a color, texture, or scent. It could come from a song, a breeze, or materialize out of a conversation with friends.  My mind is like that warehouse scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie. I never know what my brain will want to store away for later. I love to learn things and often add such imaginative seeds to my stories.  I’m a complex collector. What’s more, I have a very good sense of wonder… if I do say so myself. 🙂  Out of all the weird pieces of information shelved in my head, this one has to be one of the oddest. But in its oddness, it makes sense. Judge for yourself.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, we have 287 toxic chemicals in our body —  180 cause cancer in humans, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects. From pesticides to preservatives, we’re loaded. When we die, our bodies release this garbage into the environment where it continues to pass on its nastiness to the soil, the things growing in the soil, the creatures eating those things grown in the soil and the ground water.

Enter visionary Jae Rhim Lee. Lee is training fungi to consume her own body tissue. Small amounts of skin, hair, nails, blood, bone, fat, tears, urine, feces, and sweat have been put in petri dishes and mushroom cultures grown on them. Why? To create mushrooms that can be used in what’s called Decompiculture — in other words, using mushrooms to decompose the human body quickly, rather than allowing those hazardous chemicals stored in the body, and the extra toxins from embalming, to leach into the ground.

I think it’s a grand idea. It’s also a great spark for that next sci-fi or horror novel.

mushrMushrooms might very well clean up our act on the planet. Mycologist Paul Stamets is a leading researcher on the use of mushrooms in bioremediation (the use of microorganisms like fungi to clean up pollutants). He says they can break down even the most stubborn pollutants like oil spills. He’s figured out that fungi transform contaminants into benign carbon dioxide and water, and that common wood-decay fungi, the ones that grow on trees, are particularly good at breaking down the toxic components of petroleum. And after that work is done, the mushrooms are edible!

Authors, just so you know, the Decompiculture mushrooms are edible too. Now there’s a novel in the making. Stephan King might have a go.

More on the groundbreaking work of Paul Stamets:
More about the Infinity Burial Project and the Infinity Mushroom:

Tomorrow, letter J!

Rose Anderson ~ Love Waits in Unexpected Places

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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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