Friday, October 13, 2017

A Fire Story, Part 1

My house burned down. I made a comic about it.

That seems to be how I handle trauma. It's kind of a feature and a bug.

This is quick, loose work. Materials: Pencil, Sharpie pens, highlighter markers, and one nearly dry brush-pen on crummy paper. These eight pages are Part 1; I have another eight pages planned that I'll post as soon as they're done.

I'd be pleased if you'd consider this as a journalistic dispatch from the front.

--Brian








Part 2 spoiler alert: Everything was not just fine.

EDITED Sunday to Add: The rest of "A Fire Story" is now up. Read the whole thing on the next post (click on the link to go). Thanks.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Glad you’re safe

Helga Marie Breyfogle QallieStitcher said...

Brian so glad to see you are safe and thank you for sharing your story in the medium you know best!

Family said...

"I inhaled my neighbors' lives." oh Brian. Thankful your family made it out, and grieving with you over the losses.

J. Lemon said...

Brian. I know you are surrounded by love and community in this wretched hour but let me add my voice to the chorus. Glad you are safe. So sorry for all your losses and keep up the great work. Let me know if we can help in any way.

Paul Blankinship said...

Somehow this is more real than any of the news footage. Thank your for your empathic eye and your perspective. So sorry to hear your home was lost, but thankful for your family's safety.

Mick Geronimo said...

I was alright, until I read, "I inhaled my neighbors' lives."

Definitely a feature, not a bug.

Thank you for this.

Concerned Citizen said...

Holy shit. "I inhaled my neighbors'lives." I am so sorry.

Cathy Leamy said...

I'm so glad that you are safe. Whatever those of us out here on the internet can do to help, please reach out. You are loved and treasured.

laurie norton moffatt said...

I am so sorry you lost your home and so much of your art, Brian. We are holding you in our hearts. Best, Laurie Norton Moffatt

Elf said...

I'm so sorry for your losses, and for all the others out there. This is a great way to share the experience. I'm down here in San Jose simply trying to breathe the air with my asthma, but it's such a tiny issue compared to the thousands up there who are in the midst of it and suffering greatly. I'm glad that you all got out alive and with some precious things.

diversionmary said...

“I inhaled my neighbors lives.” Too true. I said something similar in front of our seven year old and I regret it. I know from the look on her face she understood what I meant.

K martin said...

Jim wants to know what Karen packed (ie did she try to pack all your dirty laundry) hugs.

Unknown said...

Karen-I am so very sorry you lost your house , but so glad to hear you and Brian are ok. I’ve been watching the news obsessively - so many of my friends affected. My heart is breaking, but I know SC will recover. My kids are ok; my son is fighting the fire in Napa. ❤️From Oregon. Laura Sauter

Diana Wilson said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is well done and powerful and important to share with the world and community what's happening. -D-

Anonymous said...

It's even more harrowing on paper

Scott said...

The line "I inhaled my neighbors' lives" is like a kick in the gut. This is so well done, especially given the trauma you're going through. I'm sorry for your loss.

Jennifer said...

So sorry...bless you for making this so real to those of us who live far away from this tragedy.

Cate said...

Beautifully written and, as others have said, it hits you right in the heart where all the news in the world doesn't.

Also: I'm impressed you had the mind to grab "all the right things" under pressure, and to help others once you were in safety.

Wow. Just... wow.

Anonymous said...

Your response left this 62yo guy in tears. I'm so sorry for all the losses your community is suffering.

Jeff Sheppard said...

Amazing work. Glad your family is safe.

Lee Lehrman said...

Brian, this is Lee .. our house on Cross creek is gone as well. Where are, were, you? Where are you now? So glad you two are safe.
Sos

Brian Fies said...

Lee, so sorry, I thought of you and Don immediately when I heard about Fountaingrove, and Jonas told me. I hope you got out OK. Our home was in Larkfield. Karen and I are holed up with our daughters in Novato for now, doing as well as one could expect and a lot better than most. Take care.

R Picard said...

Glad you and Karen made it out safely. Sorry for the loss of your home.

Mike Beede said...

I read the part about your lack of art tools with some puzzlement--the art looked fine. Fabulous, even. If this is how you work with an old crayon and a piece of toast dipped in weak tea, well, I'd be happy to be able to make even one of those images.

I hope you and your wife and the pets land softly.

Tish said...

I am so sorry for your loss, but glad you and your family are safe. Years ago, we lived in a log cabin on Cavedale Road near Glen Ellen. Sounds like your neighborhood. I hope you recover ok.

Stephanie said...

This is so moving and beautifully drawn, Brian. My heart goes out to you and Karen. So very sorry this happened to you, and to your friends and neighbors.

Linda Martin said...

I'm writing this with tears streaming down my face. Like so many others, I've been glued the news on TV, and praying, praying. I have close ties to the area; went to college in Angwin, near St. Helena; still have many friends and family in the area.
Your story touched me deeply, & brought the tears I've been holding back. Thank you for your willingness to publish this.

Anonymous said...

I am so very very sorry for you and your neighbors. Thank you for writing this especially for those of us that live across the country. Tears....

Tom Conlon said...

When reality sucks, heroes turn to art. Thanks for drawing this out.

We evacuated from our beloved Sonoma pueblo to family in the South Bay. On day 5 (with forecasts still ominous) I was given a new birthday book purchased months before: Danger on Peaks, by Gary Snyder. As is my habit, I randomly read a single poem aloud, Mariano Vallejo's Library:

"...then one year the Casa, books and all, burned to the ground."

I wasn't ready for this.

Our home was spared, this time. But I still haven't been able to muster the will to read another of these darkly auspicious "Danger" poems. I will. We're all going to need some time to recover together.

Hang in there. On we go.

https://pulsearch.princeton.edu/catalog/4260099

Paul Harris said...

So sorry to hear of your losses and all that have lost something. I hope your recovery process goes as best as possible. Love reading your comic here

jjw said...

Hi Brian, I just read fire story. I am with the Zoppé and Circus. We are in Redwood City right now, but will be in Fort Bragg next weekend. Besides A portion of the ticket process is going to benefit families that lost their homes in this horrible fires, we are also extending an invitation to those who lost so much to come to one of our shows as our guest. If you are interested, or know someone that is, please email me at jay@zoppe.net and I can send you some more information. We are also working on a fundraiser in Petaluma, or maybe Santa Rosa.

alex carter said...

Damn you're good bruh.