Help Erin and Bean Move to Pittsburgh

I am planning to relocate from Blacksburg, VA to Pittsburgh, hopefully Bloomfield. While I’ll always have connections here, I know I won’t be fulfilled professionally, creatively, or socially here. Additionally, I need to be in a place that has more healthcare options nearby, and I need to be in a place with. more robust public transportation and pedestrian safety.

I have been on disability for a number of years now, which provides consistent but inadequate income. I have severe fibromyalgia and can’t commit to a traditional work schedule or requirements. I also work as a freelance writer (mostly a music journalist), but income from that is inconsistent and meager. Despite all my publication credits listed on my site, I am still at poverty level. As you might imagine, funding a move is impossible on my income alone. Any money I raise here will go towards the move itself (friends and a U-Haul) and helping me pay a rental deposit/ first month’s rent. Upon arrival in Pittsburgh, I will be seeking out part-time work or steady freelance work. My goal is to be secure until that new income comes in. I will also keep looking for paying gigs (online or irl) writing about music and writing promotional materials for musicians.

And of course I’m bringing Bean! He’s preternaturally photogenic, deceptively angelic, polydactyl, and my fuzzy uber-himbo. He came to me as a semi-feral kitten almost two years ago, and any day now I’ll be able to hold him! 

I want to tell why I want to live in Bloomfield, as well as Pittsburgh as a whole.

Everyone I know who’s lived in the city loves it! That’s a big factor right there. It seems like a town that has a strong cooperative spirit, and it’s scrappy but also arty. People seem really nice there. I just love to be around down-to-earth people who share that certain creative curiosity.

Health care. Currently, I travel three hours each way to receive care for my sensory laryngeal neuropathy (chronic neurogenic cough I’ve had for eight years). I see him every three months because no one closer has the knowledge and techniques I need. He has already recommended a Pittsburgh provider who does an excellent job with the shots I get. My cough is a very rare diagnosis, so that's huge. Closer to home, demand for general care and specialists far exceeds supply. Frighteningly, this means I’ve also been referred to grossly unprofessional doctors—without the option to just find someone else. I've updated this campaign with complications faced during recent bronchitis.

Additionally, fibromyalgia is very difficult to treat, and not all treatments are available to me here. I can't wait to work with a specialist to help reduce the godawful pain that I didn't include in these pictures. I have done what I have as an artist-writer not because I'm not in pain but because I'm stubborn! And because I'm stubborn, I'm trying a lot of things in hopes of sending this crud into remission. The Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research looks amazing, and their work addresses so many aspects of chronic pain.

Creative community. I have an MFA in poetry (Roll Tide). I have so many of my own projects, and I get excited about collaboration, about spending time with other writers and artists. I have several poetry manuscripts, a flash fiction collection and a memoir in lyric essays that I’m working. I’ve also made visual art since 2013. Where I live now, finding experimental or abstract art is difficult (and, trust me, selling it is worse!). While the local MFA and art programs provide some experiences with experimental or abstract work, it's a small, insular population. There’s certainly no Mattress Factory, White Whale, or Pitt press here!

Safety. I’ve teared up at a few posts in a FB group for Bloomfield about clearing sidewalks and getting the city to fix stop signs. I mostly get around on foot, and it’s dangerous to do so here; I keep talking to the mayor and calling local news media, trying to get at least one sign posted in a certain crosswalk. Nothing helps, and sometimes I don't go out because I don't want the risk.

People organize big public games of cops and robbers, there are Stevie Nicks cutouts at karaoke night, and someone paints awesome graffiti about Ironman. No, really. That playful spirit is so important. (Says the woman who makes bizarre flyers, leaves little paintings in coffee shops for strangers to take home, and once convinced the mayor of Madison, WI to give her a birthday cake!)

I really want to live among you, and I will do what I can to lend my talents and skills to your town. I’ll arrive ready to dive in and work on lit mags, make vegetarian food, or hang out while we pretend we’ve mistaken strangers for celebrities.

Here are some ideas if you would like to help me but don’t want to donate to this campaign:

-Please let me know if you have any information on awesome, cat-friendly 1-BR apartments in Bloomfield. My income is modest but consistent, and my rental history is good though my credit is not. I do not need parking. I like funky older spaces more than new complexes, but that's not a requirement.

-If you hear anything about paying jobs in writing or editing, especially concerning music, please let me know. Here’s a link if you want to hire me to write your musician bio or press release

-I sell art (a lot of abstract ink work and resin) at my Etsy shop . I have more than this, and I’m always happy to custom work. I’ve done custom ornaments, resin art, and painted candles for wedding centerpieces. I also make pretty skulls and some really beautiful Halloween items, not just Dollar Tree décor!

(I made a rainbow unicorn out of resin and painted a Little Pony with one of the blackest black paints available.)

-If you have any info or items that might help, please get in touch. I will need some help navigating some things, like finding doctors. Regarding furniture and household items, I’ll bring most things I need.

Thank you, thank you for reading this and lending a hand to your future neighbor. Of, course, also get in touch if you just want to say hello. :) You can message me here or at erinlyndalmartin at gmail dot com. I look forward to meeting you.

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Erin Lyndal Martin
Blacksburg, VA

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