From the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival to the Sonoma and Napa County Fires

I spent this weekend at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR, selling Word Horde books, launching Tales from a Talking Board, teaching a writing workshop, listening to pitches, participating in a pair of panels (Women of Weird Fiction [w/Anya Martin, Rose O’Keefe, Mike Griffin, and Liv Rainey-Smith] & Small Press Publishing [w/Rose O’Keefe, Sean Hoade, Andrew S. Fuller & Cody Goodfellow]), and reading the introduction to TTB as part of a reading block with Orrin Grey, Nathan Carson, and Edward Morris. I brought David Templeton along to help out at the table (and to introduce him to some wonderful people), managed to catch Philip Gelatt’s latest film, They Remain (based on Laird Barron’s story “–30–“), and got to hang out with folks like festival organizers Brian and Gwen Callahan, Hippocampus Press’s Derrick Hussey, Dominique Lamssies, Kim Bo Yung, Bawb Hale, Obadiah Baird, Christine Morgan, and Kelly Young. Normally, I’d tell you all about it, but…

Driving home Monday morning, David and I began to hear news stories coming from Sonoma County. An unprecedented number of wildfires combined with high winds and dry conditions created a series of disasters ranging from Santa Rosa to Napa to Petaluma. At current count, more than 1500 homes have been destroyed and at least eleven people have died because of these fires, and thousands are displaced, waiting for word on whether or not they have lost everything.

We were lucky. Our homes, our neighborhoods were spared. But at points it seemed touch-and-go over our ten-hour journey, and we worried over friends and loved ones. Others weren’t lucky. Because I was traveling with David, I was witness to just how devastating these fires were to his colleagues in the Sonoma County theater and newspaper communities. Venues have been destroyed, homes have been gutted, people have been injured. So many people have lost so much. So many lives have been disrupted by this disaster.

But at the same time, so many people are rising to the occasion. Taking in the displaced, collecting food and blankets for local shelters, helping out. In the worst of times, we can see the best in people, and that is what defines community.

If you’ve read this far, I urge you to keep that spirit of community alive in your own lives. I urge you to rise to the occasion. Please make a donation to one of the organizations I’m linking to below. Or make a donation to your local food bank. Or your local blood bank. Help others wherever you can. Make the world a better place. And thanks!

How to help evacuees of Northern California fires:

How you can help people affected by the North Bay fires (or get help if you are an evacuee):

RESOURCES: Getting in touch, marking yourself safe during Napa, Sonoma County fires:…/2513223/

ichael Bailey Fire Recovery:

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