Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Case of Fire

I found out something pretty fucking awesome today, you guys. So awesome, in fact, that I've resorted to swearing right at you.

OK, first: some background.

About a year ago, I stumbled across a post on Apartment Therapy's green sister-blog, Re-Nest, that asked "If your house was burning down, what would you save?"  The article led me to a blog created by West Coast-based photographer, Foster Huntington, called The Burning House, where people take a picture of the items they would save if faced with a catastrophic event (specifically: fire) that would likely destroy everything in its wake. They could then submit their photo and a blurb about the items, to perhaps be featured on the site.

Immediately, I knew I wanted to participate.  This is a question that Jon and I are constantly asking ourselves whenever we're sitting comfortably on our sofa, complacent with life, and looking around the room at all the crap we've acquired.  When we first thought about it, we recognized that there are a lot of things we love around our house and would absolutely rejoice in being able to salvage if everything else got destroyed (i.e. a large portion of our book collection, certain DVDs, necessary items of clothing like boots and underwear and pants, my beautiful armchair, blah blah)... but then, after giving it more thought, it was amazing the things we wouldn't hesitate to leave behind.

While assessing the items I would truly grab in a moments notice, I tried to keep an amazing entry by Sandra Belanger (she has experienced a house fire before) in mind, when she wrote: Word to all the folks with big piles of stuff: You have way less time than you think.

Cut to now. I actually took a photo right after hearing about this project last year, with just the things I was responsible for grabbing; I had plans to take pictures of Jon's items at another time... a time that never really came, because I'm terrible at follow-through. The plan was that he'd grab the cat, some more artwork, and other things personal to him. This means that Fry wasn't part of my picture, but Ennis and Peekay were.

I submitted my picture to The Burning House blog without worrying about Jon's things. I checked every so often, wondering if my picture had made it on. I never saw it. Then I stopped thinking about it.

Now we've moved, things have changed, Peekay is no longer living with us, and the picture that I took way back in May of last year, well... I'd decided that I didn't like the picture very much at all. The angle was off, the items were placed strangely, giving it a weird perspective. The blog post I had started in May of 2011 would be scrapped. "I'll take another picture—a better picture!—and rewrite the whole post," I declared. "I'll save less stuff, this time, too! Who needs all this stuff?"

Well. I started to compile everything again; just the stuff I really would try to save. I took a few snapshots (none very good, wahh wahh), then returned to look at my original picture.

Turns out, with the exception of Peekay and the addition of Fry, nothing was different. All of the same items were there.

Then I decided to return to The Burning House blog and get inspiration from the other photos.

I scanned through, admiring the photographs, admiring people's descriptions.

I noticed something: a book. Foster Huntington had published a book, released just last month, of pictures from his site.

Clicking on the link, I went to Amazon and started looking at the book.

I flipped through the "Look Inside" pages.

Click, click, click.


there it was:

My photograph. The very photograph I had submitted over a year ago, which was never featured on Foster's blog. My name, my dogs, my journals, Jon's artwork, Cassie's mosaic, my [old but still works] blog link... All was there, published, in a TWO. PAGE. SPREAD.

I about pooped my pants. Then I bought the book immediately.

After further research, I discovered that mine is one of 50 "exclusive" entries saved for the book. Why? I wonder.

Foster! If you're out there - contact me! Did you try to contact me? I am a lost soul.



I can't change my picture now!

So, as I should have done over a year ago instead of being a stupid, arrogant, photo jerk, here is my entry just as I submitted it then:

  • Passport
  • Original birth certificate
  • ID
  • Wallet
  • 5 hand-written journals
  • Brown bomber jacket from Paris
  • TOMS shoes (or whatever slip-ons were closest to the door)
  • Yellow and black heart painting from my boyfriend
  • "Kicking Puppies" - original Justin Hillgrove watercolor
  • "Blue Elephant" mosaic - handmade from scrap glass and a wine bottle by my best friend
  • Cellphone 
  • Old Chimney Farm canvas bag to carry everything
  • Crocheted quilt that my mom made for my grandmother
  • My dogs, Peekay and Ennis

Substitute "Peekay" for "Fry" and you've got basically what I would save now.


All of you.

I want to know: What would you save? If you have a blog, post about it with a picture and link to it in the comments!

*Image property of The Burning House Blog and The Sleepy Peach


    1. I used my amazing photoshop skills to update the photo for you! - http://i.imgur.com/TruBf.jpg

    2. OH MY GOSH!!! Stacy, this is amazing!

    3. This is such incredble news. I have to say, I'm not surprised at all that they decided to include your image -- it's adorable and beautiful, not to mention interesting. I'm glad that you felt comfortable submitting back then, and posting it now. Makes me start to think heavily about what I would save if the occasion arose. Hmmm...

      I am definitely interested in getting this book to also see the other entries. I'm so proud of you, Stacy! What a great acknowledgement! <3

    4. This is so brilliant Stacy! I love it when life throws you little surprises like that! I also want to read the book!
      I think so far on my list all I have is my family to save.
      Tobey and Iris the cats, My Boyfriend and our dog Higgs. I would love to save my hard drives. I wish I was saving something more romantic like an old novel I found years ago at a local bookstore that no longer exists.

      1. I have a book or two that I would definitely save. Not because they're rare, but because I have so many notes written in them from the multiple times I've read them. I'd be so sad to lose those.