Thursday, April 27, 2006

Postcard from the Edge

It's been a year of many "firsts" for me, but I don't think I'll soon forget this one: a student at an East Coast university wrote a few days ago saying that he/she (his/her sex isn't evident from his/her name) is taking an "International Graphic Novel" class and is writing a final paper on Mom's Cancer. The student plans to focus on "the art of your work and how your artistic decisions and the different styles you take up have allowed the reader to understand and sympathize with the characters."

The student asked a few questions about how and why I drew what I drew. Being a sucker for both flattery and academic legitimacy, I spilled my guts and told him/her about nearly every jot of style, symbolism, metaphor, foreshadowing, and any other literary or artistic device I remembered employing (although I kept a few secrets to myself). It was fun.

I hope I get to see the result. In any case, it provided my most recent jolting reminder of the impact my story has had among so many people I'll never know. It's a bit unsettling to realize my book's out there with a life of its own, and it's nice when it sends home a postcard from Germany, Australia, Brazil, or an East Coast university to let me know it's doing fine.


Lynda said...

Well, you should give away all your secrets! I think it is great you get so much feedback!

My dad read your book, because I brought it to California. He said it reminded him of what Laurianne went through also.

Deborah said...

Dear Cancer Bloggers:

This is a message to those of you who maintain/read/participate in blogs related to cancer. Might we request your assistance in an academic study about cancer blog usage?

My name is Deborah Chung, and I am an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications. My research focuses on the use of new communication technologies and their potential to empower information consumers. Currently, I am interested in examining how health information seekers, particularly cancer patients and their families/friends, adopt blogs.

I am teaming up with Dr. Sujin Kim, also at UK, who is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science and has a sub-specialization in medical informatics. She has been working closely with the UK Cancer Center to build a biorepository information system (UK-BIS) for lung and ovarian cancer samples. Together, we would like to learn about how new information channels, such as blogs, are being used by cancer patients and their families/friends — specifically we are interested in their motivations, uses and consequences of using blogs.

As approved by our internal review board (IRB) at UK, this study is an anonymous survey that does not carry any risks to cancer patients. At the same time, we believe the information gathered from this study will greatly contribute to our understanding of the adoption of new communication technologies by cancer patients. This information will in turn assist in supporting the needs of cancer patients for future information technology and service development.

Thus, we would appreciate your participation in our survey. You can find the survey here. You might get a notice regarding the validity of the certificate. If that happens, please continue to proceed.

We appreciate your time, and thank you in advance for your help.


Deborah S. Chung, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Journalism &
University of Kentucky

Sujin Kim, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
School of Library & Information Science
University of Kentucky

Lynne said...

wow cool

Sarah said...

Brian, that is *SO* awesome. I am so excited for you. The little write-up I did for our newsletter is going to print soon so another 30K people or so will get to read about Mom's Cancer. :-)

I'm just so pleased and happy to know your book has touched as many people as it has, with the numbers continuing to grow every day. I think the college crowd/young adults are a demographic (both as cancer survivors and people who've been touched closely by this disease) that a lot of people tend to forget about and who have not been very sought out by groups that provide supportive resources. Stories like this just go to show how much your book resonates with people of all ages from all sorts of walks of life (which is true of cancer itself - it doesn't discriminate against anything or anybody).

Actually, I might contact you directly about this, but there's a young guy from a college back east who is trying to become more of an activist in that arena to reach out to college students who've lost a parent to cancer. He lost his mom to a bt, which is how I know about him, but I would love to tell him about your book and connect the two of you (as if you needed to add to your list of people to meet!). Obviously this is all of intrinsic interest to me based on my age and I'm hoping to do more program development here at NBTF for young adults as well.

ANYWAY, that was long-winded. Just giving you a big ol' thumbs up and as always, keep up the fabulous work!!