Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Little Update

It's very hard for me to believe it's been three weeks since the fire.

We're hanging in there. Karen and I just bought a car this afternoon to replace the one that burned up in our garage.

I did these two pages at the request of a TV station that's adapting "A Fire Story" into something really special. I'll tell you all about it when it's time. They asked "How are you doing now?" and I wrote and drew this in response.

I expect I'll have a lot more to say about this experience in time. Starting to feel like maybe I can process it into something interesting.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Fire Story, COMPLETE

This is A Fire Story, including the initial pages I posted a couple of days ago.

It's much less polished than my usual work, but that's partly the point. Writing, penciling and inking an 18-page comic like this would normally take me a few weeks. I did this over parts of four days, beginning the day after my house burned down, using Sharpie pens, highlighters and crummy paper from Target because it was the only store I could find open within 20 miles.

It's a first-person report from the front line of a disaster. They're not always pretty.

Page 9 has some profanity. Actually, it has nothing but profanity. Sorry. I wrestled with that, but that's exactly the way it happened and I am an honest reporter.

My family, pets and I are all fine--a lot better off than many others. There's not a person in the county who hasn't been touched by these firestorms. Karen and I know at least a hundred people burned out of their homes, including a lot of cops, firefighters, and government staff who've been working hard for others all week.

A Fire Story has drawn a lot of readers, Facebook comments and shares, and other attention. I appreciate that deeply. Thanks.

We'll be fine. I'll keep you posted as we rebuild.

UPDATE, OCTOBER 31: Three weeks after the fire, I posted a short update as my next blog post, HERE. Thanks again for reading.

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.


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.

It's the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel . . . Well, Not Fine, Exactly

Many friends and family already know that my home in Santa Rosa, Calif., burned to the ground early Monday morning. Important Part: My wife Karen and I, and our dog and cat, got out alive. We had about 15 minutes to throw our lives into the back of a car and evacuate. I'm typing this on a computer in my daughters' apartment 30 miles away, where we've been bunking since. Karen's working long, hard days as part of our county's emergency response team. "Normal" is such a distant goal that we can't even see it on the horizon.

However, we've been so touched by the deep compassion, generosity, and kindness of so many of our friends, locally and around the world. Offers of anything we need, or just sympathy when there's nothing else they can do. Most extraordinarily, my high school friend Allison has offered us her late mother's vacant house in Santa Rosa, and we're taking her up on it. I've often doubted it but never will again: most people are very good.

I'll have more story to tell about the fire later--hope to post something I hope you'll find interesting later today. Just wanted to send up a flag saying we're alive, well, relatively mentally healthy (though we and the pets all have a touch of PTSD jitters), and figuring out what the hell to do next.

Here are a few photos of what our region has been through. The first one is a snapshot I took from our street as we evacuated at 1:30 a.m. The rest are from news sources.