Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Start of It All

I've told the story of how I decided to do "Mom's Cancer" before. I had driven Mom to a chemotherapy session early in the course of her treatment. Chemo takes a few hours and Mom typically slept through it. I'd brought along some paperwork to pass time but got bored, so I turned over a sheet of paper and drew a sketch of Mom reclining in the chair.

I thought the drawing and its few captions captured something true about the experience in a way that words alone couldn't. Chemo's not dramatic, it's tedious. Ordinary comforts like a strawberry milkshake or a CD player contrast with the extraordinary medical technology and biochemistry employed. The unusual becomes the norm, to the point that Mom could sleep through procedures that might have terrified her weeks before. I'd been thinking about finding some way to communicate Mom's cancer experience, and this drawing convinced me that cartoons might work. I went home and started writing "Mom's Cancer."

Immediately below is that first sketch, followed by the finished art. This sketch is an important scrap of paper to me; it's where "Mom's Cancer" began.

2 comments:

Lynne said...

The walking stick is a symbol of the journey of the cancer patient. Plod on, bearing the weight of your supplies, over uneven ground. Climbing hills and crossing streams, moving forward in your quest for health.

I admire your work, Brian.

Brian Fies said...

Thanks very much, Lynn. Just don't give away all the metaphors...!