Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What's Up

Interrupting my coverage of Comic-Con International (which I may have exhausted anyway) to mention a couple of things I'm doing....

I had a nice time yesterday being interviewed for German television. Regular readers may recall that there's a German edition of Mom's Cancer--the only non-English version so far, though I think we're working on others. I met Dennis Wagner from the weekly magazine program "Kulturreport" broadcast on ARD, which Dennis described as the biggest public TV station in Germany. I'll take his word for that. I enjoyed spending some time with Dennis, his girlfriend, and the three adorable German-singing children they're schlepping down the West Coast in a minivan as Dennis pursues a working vacation. I met Dennis in San Francisco at a beautiful spot I suggested overlooking the Golden Gate (near the Palace of Legion of Honor, if you know the area). Dennis really wanted the Golden Gate Bridge in the shot. Unfortunately, the Golden Gate Bridge really wanted to be completely obscured by fog yesterday morning. We made do.

Later today I'm flying to Tucson, Arizona to talk to a meeting of four hospice groups, including nurses, physicians, administrators, social workers and chaplains, about 50 people in all. This speaking engagement was arranged by Dr. Scott Bolhack, CEO of the Tucson Long-Term Care Medical Group and the TLC Palliative Medicine Team, who read my book quite a while ago, saw some value in it, contacted me, and worked with my publisher to fly me down there and put me up for a couple of nights.

I'm very excited about this opportunity. Next to people who've been through a similar crisis themselves, no one's opinion means more to me than that of healthcare professionals who think that Mom's Cancer has something to offer them or their patients. When Mom's Cancer was still online as a webcomic, one of the earliest e-mails I got was from a nursing instructor in Australia who asked permission to print some pages and give them to her students working with cancer patients to help them understand the family dynamics they'd find in the field. That blew me away; I consider it one of my coolest lifetime accomplishments. I've gotten that kind of response from other medical professionals a few times since and it's always a thrill.

I love Comic-Con and similar events but, as I wrote last Sunday, I don't think the wonderful folks who attend them are necessarily my book's first, best audience. The people I'll meet in Arizona tomorrow are the ones who deal with the issues I raised in my book every day and will know whether I got it right or not. I'll try my best to do a good job for them.


ronnie said...

Brian, that is all so cool!

Tell me, do you ever feel sometimes like you've been kind of hit by a bus, if you know what I mean??


Mike said...

Yes, indeed, you have a niche, and it's an important one.

I just gave a copy of your book to a friend from college, one of those great, great ladies where you both kind of know what might have been, if only the timing had been right at one time or another over the years.

You know, Brian, I hate giving your book to such good friends. But thanks for creating something I can give a friend when it's really the right thing.

Lynne said...

Brian, this is wonderful. Going where this can do the most good. Great!

BrianFies said...

Ronnie, it is all very cool. Re: feeling like I've been hit by a bus, to tell the truth: No. I've actually been surprised how little impact the book and hoopla have had on my life. Not that I ever got interviewed for German TV or flown around the country for speaking engagements before... But events like that are few and far between, and they come up one at a time so I have a chance to work up to them, do them, and put them behind me as "another thing I know how to do now." Occasionally I'll look back over the past year or two and the cumulative weight of the experience hits me. Not often, though.

Mike, thanks for the wonderful note. Regarding the kind of great "what might have been" ladies you describe, since my wife reads my blog I have no idea what you're talking about.

Lynne, thanks also, I'll let everyone know how today's talk goes. I meant to write you and tell you that Liz did pass on your Pogo book to me at the Con, but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet. In fact, I haven't unpacked my San Diego suitcase yet. But I'm looking forward to it, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Brian for everything that you presented today. I will forward to you the comments as they come in! All of us have been honored to have you come speak with us!

Safe travels...

Scott Matthew Bolhack, MD
TLC HealthCare Companies

Anonymous said...

I followed your strip and had a deep appreciation for all you all shared. I facilitate a support group for patients and families (and other players) for Scripps. I believe you have done a wonderful service for many folks! Had I known you would be at ComicCon, I might have been inclined to go and ask for an autographed copy of your book. BTW, I have saved several of the strips which seemed relevant to my patients and families/friends.
Would you even consider coming to speak to us??
Thank you, Brian.

Brian Fies said...

Scott, thank you, Paige, and everyone for a welcome and event I'll never forget. It's hard to put into words what your reception meant to me. It was entirely my pleasure.

Anonymous from Scripps, I am incredibly willing. Please write me at and let's see what we can do. Thanks very much for asking!

B. said...

Hi Brian, the interviewer was right - ARD is the biggest tv channel here in germany. And one of the most-read german internet sources features your book also, take a look:,1518,428924,00.html
As a cancer surviver, I'm looking forward to read it!
Greetings from Germany

Brian Fies said...

B., thanks very much for the information, I appreciate it! I hope that when you read my book you find it worthwhile.