Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dancing on Quicksand

So now I am "Former Daily News cartoonist" Peter Dunlap-Shohl. I knew this day was coming, and feared it. I've been cartoonist for the Daily News for so long, it was a major component of my identity. And before I became the actual Daily News cartoonist, I was an aspiring editorial cartoonist, going back as far as the fifth grade.

In the six years since my diagnosis, I have struggled to maintain my viability as a cartoonist. I've been dancing on quicksand, learning to use new programs and expanding into animation and increasing the writing I did for the paper. All the while trying to shrug off the weight of Parkinson's Disease as it dragged relentlessly at my every movement.

Then word came that our paper was looking for voluntary reductions in staff. Reductions that would be come involuntary should too few volunteers come forward.

After weighing my assets and liabilities, I decided that it was time for me to go. Time to step aboard, or maybe in front of, the Express Bus to the Future. Ironically, it is my experience with Parkinson's that helped absorb the blow.

After the initial shock and hysteria following my diagnosis, I discovered strengths, resources and skills I didn't realize I had. After surviving word that one has a debilitating progressive disease, loss of a mere job doesn't seem as momentous.

Plus I have a terrific support system of family and friends.

The upshot is that we are not brushing up on our street begging skills yet... although when we get there, we're going to have DESIGNER SIGNS, baby!

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