Yinzer Cool
Pittsburgh, PA

Bio: My name is Janna, rhymes with banana or cabana - you choose. I've just recently settled in Pittsburgh, which puts me pretty much back where life began, seeing as I grew up in a small town just an hour north. Yet, the last fifteen years have had me elsewhere. There was a degree from Ohio, then some studying and traveling through quite a few foreign countries, followed by another, higher, degree from NYU, which kept me busy with the pulsing, beautiful, inspired New York City for about a decade. What do I do? Well, I wrote a book for starters. It's a called He Never Liked Cake, and it's a memoir of growing up with my father's traumatic brain injury (you can buy it on amazon.com). I also write for magazines and blogs, and I want to do more of that (know anyone in the market for a writer?) And, when I'm not freelancing, I'm writing my second book, which is about yoga for brain injury (check back with me in the fall for more on that). That's my second chunk of professional life—I teach yoga. Anything from good old flowing vinyasa, to anyone who wants to come to class at any level, any hour, to more specialized yoga to TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivors. I truly love teaching people yoga. I even love it when I'm too tired, having a bad day, or when I’m hungover (it happens to the best of us). I've found what I love. I have friends that will last lifetimes. I have a city that has shaped me into the woman that I am. I am learned and I am lucky, and perhaps a little more seasoned than I used to be. And now I'm back, back to the Western PA countryside where I'm closer to my family, where steak salads are topped with French Fries and ranch is staple. Where beers at bars cost $3. Where blankets of stars cover stretches of land. Where I’m closer to my high school friends with their families and their regular jobs and their beautiful children. Where I’m finally closer to home where my mother will always hide my Easter basket and where my father will always try to hide his brain injury. I suppose you could say I’m a New Yorker turning Yinzer. A transition I wasn’t expecting, but one I imagine I’ll enjoy, because my love for the ‘Burgh—its people, its sports, its unassuming allure—has always run deep. After all, life is just one big story, and if you can keep in mind that most of the time it doesn’t work out the way we had it planned, it’s all pretty cool.

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