Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Burning House by Foster Huntington

There's a scene in one of my favorite romantic comedies, Leap Year, that is critical to the plot. The heroine is asked, "If your house is on fire, what would you take?" She remembers that question, and, later realizes she doesn't have the same priorities as her boyfriend does. Foster Huntington asked people online, and in person, "If your house were on fire, what would you take?" The result is the book, The Burning House: What Would You Take?

In the introduction, Huntington says the answer to that question is a conflict between the practical, the valuable and the sentimental. On May 10, 2011, Huntington launched his blog at www.theburninghouse.com. And, he hit the road to talk to people. In a format similar to the Post Secret books by Frank Warren, people use photos and lists to answer the one question interview.

Foster Huntington said, "By removing easily replaceable items and instead focusing on things unique to them, people are able to capture their personalities in a photograph." Maybe. I found that many of the photos in the book were quite similar. Because so many participants were artists or designers, there were a large number of cameras and laptops included. My favorite photos were ones that also included brief explanations as to why they would take the items, not just a list of items. And, it struck me how many of the participants were single with cats. (Honestly, I would want to get my cats out. It would be a lot harder for me to herd those five cats than for the people who only had one.)

Foster Huntington's The Burning House is a book for thought. I appreciated the answer from the woman who kept a suitcase already prepared with what she would take. Several answers came from people who had to leave a burning house. They answered themselves and their cat. I haven't walked through my place to look at everything, but, in case of fire, I wouldn't have that chance anyways. What would I take? My cats and one photo album my mother gave me. That album is filled with irreplaceable pictures of my early life. There are pictures of my parents and my grandparents. I think I better get it off the top shelf now because I couldn't easily reach it to take.

So, there's your question from Foster Huntington. The Burning House: What Would You Take?

Foster Huntington's website is www.theburninghouse.com, and he's on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/theburninghouse.

The Burning House: What Would You Take? by Foster Huntington. HarperCollins. 2012. ISBN 9780062123480 (paperback), 269p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy, after I requested it.




34 comments:

Christie said...

Dad always said to take the photo albums, because that was what was irreplaceable. Christie

Lesa said...

Dad was right, Christie. And, he went through a house fire.

Jane R said...

With wild fires burning throughout our area last fall, we faced the same question. We actually packed a few boxes of irreplaceable items so that we could grab them if we received an evacuation order. In the end, most of those boxes contained photo albums and pictures, along with a few family keepsakes. Fortunately our neighborhood was never threatened but for some reason, most of those boxes are still packed and ready to move.

Beth Hoffman said...

I'd grab my kitties, all the cards and notes from friends and family I've saved over the years, and my two antique carousel horses. Thankfully, I store all my photos on Carbonite, so they would be safe.

Sandie Herron said...

First, I would do my best to herd my four cats out the door and into something or someplace safe - carriers maybe? The car? Depends on how much time I have. Second, my laptop. So many things are on this laptop - and many of those old pictures are too, because I scanned them for safekeeping. 3 - scrapbooks - which still hold precious irreplaceable photos and memories spelled out. 4 (by now the house must be fully engulfed, so this answer would probably be vetoed by firemen - I'd get the watch my grandmother left me and the heart necklace. Let's hope the fire is out by now.

Karen C said...

I've often thought about this and usually find myself overwhelmed with the things I 'must have'. Perhaps I need to give this some more serious thought!!

Lesa said...

Thank you! I appreciate everyone's comments about what they'd take. Maybe I need to do something about the photos. Then, I'd only have to worry about gathering cats.

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