Nora McInerny Purmort

What do you feel is the most meaningful/fulfilling part of the work you do?

Running Still Kickin and hosting Terrible, Thanks for Asking immerses me in other people’s stories and lives. It reminds me every single day that I am not special, that every day people are going through things, having their lives turned upside down and learning to live at that angle. I know from experience that when that happens, the most overriding feeling is loneliness. It’s lonely being sick or sad or losing someone. It’s lonely because we’re so afraid of showing our discomfort to other people, and of our discomfort around other people’s suffering. We don’t mean to isolate ourselves or others, but we do it. Humans! What could mean more than helping other people feel seen and heard, than making it a little easier for people to go through these things? Curing cancer, I guess. Ending systemic racism. Okay, there are probably a lot of things but this is the one that I do.

How would you describe your creative process?

OH FUCK SHIT DAMN WHY DID I PROCRASTINATE SO LONG UGHHHHHHHHH I AM A FAILURE I AM THE WORST I AM SO DUMB AND USELESS HEY THIS ISN’T SO BAD  WHEN IS MY NEXT PROJECT DUE? OH PLENTY OF TIME, NO NEED TO START YET. REPEAT DAILY.

What is it about the place you chose as your escape that inspires your work?

It’s quiet and internet-less. It could be a weekend in Lutsen (yes, I know they have internet but it’s way easier to ignore with a giant lake in your face), it could be just laying in bed with my son, or walking meditation or eating dinner with all my siblings or going to a great barre class (hello jessie and kaye at blooma!). anything that takes you outside of your chattery, busy brain is good for you.

What drove you to be an entrepreneur?

Becoming an entrepreneur was accidental for me. When my husband Aaron died in November 2014 of brain cancer, my life had fallen apart. I had a choice: I could go back to what was left of my old life, close myself around my losses and sit in a cubicle and do my best impression of Normal…or, I could not.

I didn’t know what “not” was, but “not” turned out to be quitting that job, doing freelance writing, selling and writing a book with HarperCollins DeyStreet, making Still Kickin a real thing and launching Terrible, Thanks for Asking with American Public Media. Once I did one brave thing and realized I hadn’t made my life any worse, I couldn’t stop doing new things. Now, I’m much more afraid of NOT doing things I want to do than I am to fail at the things I have tried.