Choose your metaphor: Roller coaster, whirlwind, nightmare, earthquake. Any one of these could be used to describe my life in the past year. My last couple posts got you up to speed on the medical issues plaguing my daughter, and I’m happy to report mostly good news since those posts. Her hepatitis (liver inflammation) finally got controlled by medication (prednisone) which she has been tapering off since early March. In less good news her platelets and white blood cells started taking a dive around that same time, so we’re concerned about that. It feels like we’re in the whack-a-mole portion of the medical adventure. She and I are just about to head back to Cincinnati for repeat biopsies so I’m hopeful we get some good news, some answers, and a turnaround on the blood counts.
The other big news that I haven’t had the chance to share here yet is … drum roll … I have launched a new publication!
Allow me to introduce you to my new online creative career magazine, Pyragraph.
It’s the most excited I’ve been about a project since probably, ever. It was no small undertaking, and I never could have gotten it off the ground without the help of my dream team: David Dabney (Technology Director), Alexandra Gjurasic (Creative Director), Turtle O’Toole (Media Director), Mary Schmidt (Business Developer) and Eva Avenue (Managing Editor). We got started last fall when we thought my daughter’s hepatitis was viral and would clear up on its own; then when we learned her condition was more complicated we took a break for a few months. We had already gotten a fair amount of momentum with Pyragraph before that happened, so after a lot of soul searching and deep breathing I decided to forge ahead once my daughter’s condition started improving.
There’s no rulebook or roadmap for stuff like this and I will say it definitely felt very disorienting to try to figure out the right decisions while in that situation and mindset. But at the end of the day I’m very happy we went ahead. (As a side note, I’d love to hear from other entrepreneurs about how they handled life crisis in the middle of launching a venture.)
In a nutshell, Pyragraph is an online career magazine for artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers, writers and other creatives. It offers entertaining, practical information on how to manage creative projects and careers, and keep your creative fires burning.
What sets us apart is that the bulk of Pyragraph’s content isn’t written by journalists or consultants — it’s the artists themselves sharing their career experiences. Our contributors (who are paid for their posts, in case you were wondering) are working artists, designers, writers and other creative folks, sharing stories, practical information and advice about their creative work.
The contributors are amazing and I really encourage you to head over to Pyragraph and read all the great blog posts, feature stories and resource articles they’ve submitted.
So between my family life and Pyragraph and playing music and finding time to just zone out on the couch, I’m not sure how much more blogging I’ll be doing here at peripakroo.com. I’m still fully involved in maintaining and updating my Nolo books, and possibly doing more books and projects with them, so I’ll make sure to include updates regarding new editions and such here as well. And I am continuing to take coaching clients, so feel free to contact me if you or someone you know needs self-employment or small business guidance.
Pyragraph launched in early February and I just managed to publish my first post. Below is an excerpt. Please let me know what you think of Pyragraph, and let your creative friends know about it, ‘K? Each and every referral, recommendation, link and mention helps build traffic which is so essential for us in these early days. Thanks so much!
Getting Knocked in the Head
by Peri Pakroo
“My name is Peri Pakroo and I live at 512 E. Fox Dale Court.” These were the first words that tumbled out of me to my bewildered cousin Parisha after falling and hitting my head (hard) in the ladies’ locker room of the Fox Point pool when I was about 10 or 11. At the time, I had seen a lot of after-school specials and TV movies about amnesia, and the thought that a head injury could make me forget who I was and everything about my life had (apparently) really gotten under my skin. So when my wet foot slipped off that painted wood bench we had been jumping on and I went crashing down, head slamming into concrete, my first reaction was to blurt out this weird confirmation that I’m OK, I know where I live, and that I’m still me.
I’m usually reminded of this story when Parisha teases me about it (which she likes to do, a lot). But it flooded back to me in vivid detail recently as I’ve found myself feeling a little stunned by some life events crashing around me, and needing to remind myself exactly who I am to make sure I’m still intact. Life has been hitting me on the head a bit harder lately, and more often than I’m used to, and I’m smack in the middle of figuring out how to deal with it: emotionally, professionally and creatively.
Sure, challenges are great for learning and personal growth, but what if you’re trying to create in the moment and you haven’t had time to process what you’re going through? What if it’s just too damn heavy to deal with creatively? That’s what I’ve been grappling with.
So let me explain as briefly as I can the main challenge that dropped like a boulder in my path. Out of the blue last June, I noticed my 6-year-old daughter’s eyes seemed yellowish, and it turned out to be hepatitis. She had virtually no symptoms, but blood tests showed her liver was extremely inflamed. The kicker is that she tested negative for all known causes of hepatitis: all the “letter” viruses, A, B, C, etc., and any markers of autoimmune hepatitis. All negative.
Today, nearly 10 months later, she is on medication and much improved, but continues to have concerning test results with various blood cell counts. We are fortunate to have been able to seek out the best docs in the country (I’m eternally grateful for our team at Cincinnati Children’s hospital) but they still don’t know what is causing her symptoms. They have seen cases like it before, but do not fully understand the mechanisms behind it. So while most similar cases have resolved with positive outcomes, no one can promise us what her outcome will be.
Needless to say, it’s all been quite stressful, and I’ve had to get really focused about stress management. I’ve learned a lot about that, but I’ll save that for a future post. For now, I want to share a few things I’ve learned about dealing with crisis when trying to be open and honest with creative work.
Read the rest of the post at Pyragraph.