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Beginning Again

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Although the wind
Blows terribly here
The moonlight also leaks
Between the roof planks
Of this ruined house

~ Izumi Shikibu

When Brian and I met at a dinner in 2015, it never occurred to either one of us that we would begin a life together. I had no inclination to step away from the world of academia I’d dedicated myself to for 20 years, and he was the artist of StoryPeople, already three years in to a contentious divorce that lasted until just yesterday...

Yet here we are. Beginning again. From scratch… here at Flying Edna. Creating a new company together. 

This morning I think of a dear friend from South Africa… She and I met in a stairwell in 1999 at a conference in NYC, and have been like sisters ever since. Two years ago her car was burgled in a grocery store parking lot while she was inside buying milk. She lost irreplaceable intellectual property she’d spent years creating and didn’t have the money to replace the lost digital equipment. When she calmly told me the details, I asked her if she was ok, and she said something like, “I’m fine. This is South Africa. What happens to one of us happens to all of us. Why would I expect to be spared of the violence of spirit that is happening in my country to so many people…” This was her response. No anger, no blame, only compassion and understanding for the larger whole.

That Brian would lose the company he built and fed, is one thing. But to lose 19 years of copyrights to someone who had nothing to do with their creation is quite another. To separate the work from the living artist... to lose control of how your name goes out into the world... As a fellow artist, this seems improbable.

But, blatant lies are passed off as truth not only in our legal system, but all over the country right now. 

He is fighting this, but currently this is the way things stand. Because there is nothing posted on the StoryPeople website that lets people know Brian no longer has any personal or financial relationship with StoryPeople, we are taking the time to clearly state that here.

As I think of my friend and breathe deeply. I summon her grace and expanded heart.

This is my country. What happens to one of us happens to all of us.

Our country is much bigger than this drama we're entangled in. And while we must continue to be authentic and speak up, what's equally important is to keep in motion towards the life we wish to live. Each of us gets to choose the stories we believe about any given moment in time. And while we may be surprised by something in life, the shock can be an opportunity to reframe something in an entirely new way, one that leads towards a life you love... 

always in motion,

fia

(added as of Sept 13, 2019)

Why air something so personal? Brian didn't just run a company, he created relationships with individuals that have followed his work for over 25 years. That was Brian who wrote all those stories and drew all the illustrations. Not a company. Not his family. It's like the stories he writes now. Though Yoshi and I live a life together alongside him, the words and heart of Brian's work belong to him. They will never be mine or Flying Edna's. 

It is dishonest for StoryPeople to suddenly say, after 25 years, that there is a "style"  that belongs to anyone other than Brian. The sons have very clearly stated in writing to their father they wish to have nothing to do with him. To promote they are stepping forward in his footsteps is ethically questionable. We can only think that this new story is to justify his sons copying his style without his permission. (here are Brian's thoughts on this)

The outcome of a divorce is one thing, fighting to maintain your reputation and rebrand your work after 25 years of SEO is quite another, especially when there is disingenuous marketing done by family members.

None of this ridiculous drama is your business, and yet, at the end of the day, businesses are simply people doing a particular thing in the world.

Narratives matter. Actions matter more.

p.s.  Always attribute – never claim another’s words as your own. Even if you change just a few, the thought and heart, philosophy and insight is not yours. It is the original artist that was so accurate in a moment to inspire something so familiar, you thought it came from you. It didn’t. Attribute. Demand it of others… it will help people speak more freely if they know their words will not be taken.

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Comments


  • This is heartbreaking. I found Brian’s work when I stumbled upon “Different Plans” in 2008. It hit me like a lightning bolt, it was just what I needed at that point in my life and I can fairly say it gave me the courage to give up and it set me on the path I was supposed to be on. Brian’s words and art is not only inspired, it’s other-worldly. It’s eternal. It’s so hard to see that art that has a life of it’s own is in the hands of the legal system that accepts lies and dolls out judgement as it sees fit.

    I hope Brian is fighting this and his precious art is given back under his control. I also hope his sons / ex realize that inspiration such as Brian’s cannot be copied, no matter how hard they try, and they need to branch out and find their own way. It’s painful to see the “newer” stories posted on social media.

    My best wishes for the future, and I will continue to purchase from Flying Edna in the future!

    Nicole Olsen on
  • I was receiving stories from Story People that didn’t connect with me after years of loving all
    Of them. I sent them an email saying please don’t send anymore as I did not care for them. Now I see why. Those weren’t Brian’s words speaking to me. I’m so glad I stumbled onto this site and thankful to find you again.

    Lynn Adams on
  • I have been collecting Brian’s works for years. I have never tired of them. I have given some as gifts. I had no idea this had happened until my daughter sent me a link to “Flying Edna”. I see so many new things I want to get. I always wanted one of the wood sculptures but wouldn’t allow myself to buy one. Who knows what I will find on your new site that I can’t live without. Blessings.

    Barbar on
  • My wonderfully packaged order arrived today. Thank you Fia and Brian for becoming “members” of my support team, helping me through the tougher days and for your personal messages!!!

    Kate on
  • I first met Brian Andreas through his art, with a gift “Angels of Mercy” about 20 years ago. And when my best friend passed away “Perfect Stranger,” and although she wasn’t a stranger, she was gone. Brian, you’ve been by my side through divorce, remarriage, and my toughest struggle, now a “four-time survivor.” I knew something was off, and a friend who gave me the first piece of artwork told me this story. So happy we can continue our relationship. Just received my first order of cards from Flying Edna along with a hand-written note from Fia and Brian, delivered in sustainable packaging/reusable material. So glad to have found you both! Kate from Birmingham, MI

    Kate on


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