|Influences||Virginia Woolf, Mary Anning|
|Bio||I'm a South African born, Canberra-based student, and I really enjoy a good rock. Geoscience and creative writing are my two loves, and I believe observations of the natural world can contribute beautifully to people's art and passions.|
Annotations of the Mantle
Mantle: the solid rock layer between Earth’s core and crust. It accounts for the majority of the planet’s interior.
Stone cold missed its mark. Mounted on the microscope slide, a hair-thin slice of rock fires kaleidoscope colours into the eyes poised above the lens. An artwork of impossibly fine detail, drowning in vivid failures of focus as flesh hands fumble to adjust the magnification. A mantle rock; it was magma once. Eye to eye, I will draw a pen and mark my first observation: we are not dissimilar.
I’m a geode; not shattered, sliced. My layers did not settle like a riverbed; they grew from within, pushed and fought painstakingly to segregate themselves. They grew to grow, neighbours griping at the extents of their fences, erecting the stakes, digging the canals, stripping the tarmac. A paradox of distance: I grow no larger, but I grow apart. There’s inevitable distance within myself. Potholed paths erode to dirt roads that scorch the bellies of cars, and underfunded the wayfaring workmen cannot navigate themselves out. It’s a biological privilege, to be distinct.
Crystallisation is a race. A stick of quartz has only torn the minerals from the rock around it. It was not sculpted, it grew as fungus, feasting on what the rest was not fast enough to gather. My cells sing with selfish hoards. We are hunters and gatherers; I don't need a history book to be told, I need a microscope. I am the amalgamation of what grew with haste; I’m a race, a trophy, without asking to be. Biology doesn't care for philosophy, only to be.
Olivine: the primary mineral of peridotite, an ultramafic rock. Olivine is the main component of the mantle.
Olivine shines under a microscope lens. I look at it and want to be it, the work of the winning seamstress, strung together by her needle with the core’s sentience, crystalline. Olivine withstands a thousand degrees, ten thousand metres deep; at the surface, it erodes the fastest. Volcanic arteries best not find the sky. The mantle turns like the chamber of a revolver, a cyclical upending of molten rock, and when the gunfight breaks out those bullets will tear crust and skin apart. Fire is never far from solidifying. At the surface, olivine weathers fastest, and my blood would do no better.
Melt: the composition of a melt will change through time via fractional crystallisation. That is, as magma cools, the olivine preferentially crystallises out, and the rest of the siliceous melt moves on without it, less mafic, full of silica. Viscous and sticky. It grows ever more explosive.
I will not mellow. Olivine: it precipitates in my veins, but my body won’t hold crystals, it holds blood. The calcium in brittle-bones will not remould like limestone. Melt me into currency for I fear oxidation, my corrosive ending, spare change decomposes into copper stains and I am one linear body longing for elasticity. Let my blood evolve like lava and not link itself to linearity in a bid to be better. Direction leads to inescapable certainty. I’m dragging the weight of my entire history. Force human bodies mineshaft deep, to plunge back into the earth with claws drawn, teeth bared, so whatever minerals I scrape and scratch I will draw back into my veins. To evolve again but kinder, mellow, slow. Too much pressure beneath the surface, too much fire; but they don’t harden us, they melt. Bury me a thousand kilometres deep; the mantle isn't red, it’s green. Green: the colour of olivine.
Viscosity: resistance to flow.
Viscosity belongs to sweeter things. Honey, syrup, me. Be feminine, be sweet, why resist if even the firmest rocks will eventually flow? It wouldn't be resistance if I gave. Butter me to be sweet as lava, for what can I do but assume molten rock burns like molten sugar in your lungs. Pour it homeward, throat-ward; sugar crystals have the same viscosity I do. Too much olivine, and lava flows like blood. Fluid snakes have crystalline teeth; tempt the vipers with garlands of blushing cheeks, round, red, rose-like. In venomous veins blood turns to crystal, accumulates, coagulates, a toxin to tear the olivine out. I’m a gold-panner, green-fingered, I rear not trees but minerals. Green: olivine, it makes my blood thin. I want to be viscous, vicious, co-evolved words, because I am only vicious when I resist. I am not silk. I will not flow when these crystals grow.
Isotropy: uniformity in every direction.
Olivine melts at one thousand degrees; why do I know things I could never withstand? I’ll bask in my understanding of the impractical, unreachable, as a jarred God with formaldehyde for blood, and suspended in alcohol I am immaculate. A museum specimen on a shelf; unconfined, I’ll rot. I’m only safe knowing everything, achieving nothing. Olivine: I was carved out, put into me. Bottled I corrode myself, a caged volatile, a cap on a volcano but I won’t erupt; I’m too viscous. If I did, I would shred through myself.
Plutonic: rocks that form beneath the surface. They cool slowly, developing larger crystals.
If I erupt too soon I’ll shatter into dust. Only the last of us, the deepest of us, have crystals. For the championing eruption we sacrifice our structure; my grains are thinned, fine, they formed firework fast. Was patience ever my choice? Olivine: it weathers fast. Viscous: I resist, and there is my downfall, my up-fall, my rapid ascent through volcano walls as I press my fists to this rock and explode.
Linear: a procession, not necessarily straight, from one point to another, in sequence, unbroken.
I want to be fixed in the fickle manner of rock. Eruption is not my final form; I reform to weather, to melt, to plummet back into the planet’s gut, the storm of non-linear evolution where time fears the way rocks comes undone. I am crystal, I am magma, viscous and thick; I will resist until I am compositionally distinct.