Valentine

It’s Valentine’s Day, and I find myself swamped with the realities of juggling editing clients, managing this fine and growing young publication, struggling with my application on HealthCare.gov (8+ attempts and 3 calls, and I still can’t get the application to submit)—and I realize I need a little love myself today. Since what goes around comes around, before I check out to hang with my loved ones, let me shower some love on my favorite posts from the last year.

Working with awesome contributors like these is why I started Pyragraph in the first place, so revisiting them fills me with love. Thank you, you wonderful contributors, for writing from the heart. xox P

1. Tripped (Or, One Trip to the ER Away from Food Stamps and Reality) is an excellent piece by illustrator Jed Alexander who realizes that he’s not fundamentally different from anyone in the unemployment lines. He comes to terms with the privilege that has allowed him to pursue his creative career, which is something many of us can too easily take for granted.

2. Instead of a specific post, I want to give a shout out to author, lawyer and musician Rich Stim who has written a lot of excellent stuff on copyright and other intellectual property issues for our Resource Center. We are in the process of revamping the Resource Center which is super exciting (look for the new version in April), in part because we’ll be featuring more excellent info from Rich. I’ll include this piece, Can Artist Copyright Art and Text Together? as an excuse to include the Valentine’s Day image—but really, do yourself a favor and check out the rest of Rich’s stuff, both here at Pyragraph and at his Dear Rich blog.

3. Always Be Available: How I Lost My Film Role In An Hour from actress, danger, and big-time badass superstar Tonya Kay is a great cautionary tale about how quickly opportunities can slip through our grasp. We’ve all been there—maybe not on the back of a crotch rocket in LA, but we’ve been there.

4. The Art of the Hustle by zinester, musician and all-around creative guy Billy McCall captures the spirit of what artists need to do, and what so many find really, really hard. The truth is that the artists who make it are the ones who hustle. So if you haven’t already mastered this second art, hop to it.

Coral chandelier by Ben Forgey

5. Add It Up is a beautiful piece by furniture maker Ben Forgey, sharing his mental dance costing out his handmade mirror frames, chandeliers and other pieces he builds from driftwood. I’ve always loved Ben’s work and it has been really great this last year to discover he’s such a fine writer too.

6. PyraCast: From Artist to ‘Breaking Bad’: Set Decorator Michael Flowers on His Career Evolution is our one and only podcast by the one and only Chris Burnett (and we are excited for more from you Chris!). Chris talks to Michael about working in the film industry, and besides all his amazing stories, Michael has a very, very sexy voice.

Outlaw Soaps Unicorn Poop soap

7. In Unicorn Poop + Facebook Insights = Huge Success: How Social Media Can Help You Spread Your Brand Worldwide, Danielle Vincent shares her plan for world domination through viral marketing of unicorn poop. (That is the gist, more or less.) Danielle’s story is rad and so is she.

8. In How to Tour and Still Get Your Exercise, musician Marianne recounts her tour through France on foot and donkey. Touring by donkey is now an item on my bucket list.

9. Tour Brain by The Handsome Family’s Rennie Sparks captures the foggy, disjointed mental state touring musicians often find themselves in with her excellent sense of detail and fine wit. (Sorry, I have to slip in one more from Rennie that I love: Merch Table Basics, which gives excellent practical tips on running your band’s merch table. Any merch table, really.)

10. How Not to Write an Email by singer, songwriter and ukulelist extraordinaire Sage Harrington helps us out with advice we need but feel too stupid to ask. Plus, tips on making cinnamon toast. (Sage writes a ton of great stuff for us, so I had to also include in this list Everything I’ve Learned about PROs, Vol. 1: The Basics of Performance Rights Organizations. It’s the first of an excellent 4-part series in which Sage shares her hard-won lessons about dealing with PROs. It’s a great read for any musician wanting to grapple with that very weird system.)

NOW by Dylan Neuwirth

11. The Diamond and the Damage Done: Getting sober, facing fear and becoming a better artist (and human being) is an excellent, brutally honest piece by Seattle artist Dylan Neuwirth about making it in the art world, self-imploding with addiction and delusion, and putting the pieces back together again.

12. A Day in the Life of a Filmmaker in Berlin by Kaleb Wentzel-Fisher has always been one of my favorite pieces. It’s a simple account of the very not-simple day-to-day life of a filmmaker, juggling the many insane details of his film project, and on this particular day, budding love.

Photo credits are included in the original posts.

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