random thoughts: on flying, law, creativity and good books

In answer to some of your great comments and questions from the other day:

While I've certainly heard of Malaysia, I hadn't heard of Subang Jaya.  But now, I have.  I love it when I learn of somewhere new.

I love the idea of an online art class -- getting the guidance to make art, without anyone seeing it before you're ready to show it?  Sounds great.  I'm thinking that maybe after I meet a few writing deadlines, I may have to sign up for one.

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My fear of flying:  it's not crippling, by any means; I just don't like doing it.  After all, I've flown all my life.  I don't like it, but I do it.

Sarah said, "The thing about airports is how grumpy a place they can be, which is why I love random acts of kindness that sometimes happen there."  God, I so totally agree, and if I'm traveling alone and have a long wait, it's actually one of my favourite places to practice kindness -- and if I can get away with doing it anonymously, even better.  It's a total mood-lifter, and makes flying a lot more fun.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is good airplane reading, but on this trip I took The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson's memoir.  I'm about halfway through it, and so far, it is very, very sweet.  Another good flight read, and a strong recommendation.

As far as Alex's favourite books:  she's recently started reading pretty fluently, and now she's devouring every book she can get her hands on, so lately it's hard to pick favourites.  The Paperbag Princess has been very popular with her (and I have to admit, I love its feminist message), as has Daft Bat; also, our friends from Australia gave her Diary of a Wombat, which she loves.

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I never say never, but I sincerely hope I don't go back to practicing law.  I really, really love what I'm doing now, and I hope one day that I'll be able to support my family by doing it.  It's nice to have a back-up skill in my back pocket, in the event I need it, though ...

... but far as how living a creative life is going?  Well, this week marks my 1 year anniversary, and I have to say, it's going really, really great.  I'm living a life that feels authentic, to the point that it's sort of difficult to imagine that I lived any other way in the past, actually.  The only thing that I've been struggling with is the fact that I'm not making as much money as I was hoping to make by this point.  But last week, as I was writing this article, I realized:  I practiced law for 15 years before I quit.  I've been doing this for 1 year.  And while I'm not rolling in dough, I certainly have accomplished enough to feel like I'm going in the right direction, you know? 

In short, I'm happy.

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Denise asked me:  "When and how did you start to realize that your photographs were, you know, really really GOOD?"  Oh, man, bless you, Denise.  The truth is that while I guess I figured out that people liked my photographs some time ago, I still struggle every day with thinking my photographs are anywhere in the neighbourhood of "really, really GOOD."  Sometimes I get excited about a particular shot (like the one above, which I shot completely manually, adjusting not just ISO and aperture, but even shutter speed and manual focus -- I haven't done that in years), but then I look at the work of people like Uwe Eichens, Nate and Jaclyn and Matt Hoyle, and I realize that I have a lot of work ahead of me yet.  But thank you.  Encouragement like yours makes working hard at trying to constantly improve an absolute joy.

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Marie asked when I was going to make it to Washington D.C.  I'm not sure, which is a pity, because I do love the city.  However, I'm hoping to do some PR trips around the country once the book comes out, so you never know.  Related: I'm trying to think of some creative ways that I might be able promote the book -- different, beautiful ways, of course -- so, if you happen to think of any that might work particularly well in your neck of the woods, please let me know, and we'll see how we can make it happen.

I loved the recommendations that you had for what to do and see in Atlanta, but unfortunately, I was there for less than 24 hours.  In the event, however, that some of you who've never been to Atlanta are going to be there anytime soon, thanks to some generous readers, you shouldn't miss:

  • having breakfast or lunch at the West Egg; or, at the very least, go there for "the best Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies you'll ever have in your life"; or
  • checking out the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Photo Festival, going on until the end of October.

Thanks again for all of your comments, everyone.  It really was great learning more about you.


SongAddicted by Waldeck

Image:  My kitchen table, photographed manually yesterday afternoon with my Nikon D300, 50mm manual lens.