Today, just to shake things up a bit, I turned to Twitter for inspiration for today's blog post. The following are items several people asked me to address.
Oh, Franny -- this presumes that I'm organized! I'm so not, but would really love to get better at it, particularly since I really only have between 8:30 and 2:30 to myself every weekday. The only thing I'm religious about is that I start every morning doing my morning pages, and I try really hard to do it before I turn my computer on (because my email is such a distraction). Then I make my to-do list for the day. If I have something that requires particular concentration, I try to do it first thing, because I find my attention span is best in the morning, then wanes after lunch, then picks up again in the late afternoon. During the times when my ability to concentrate dips, I try to get out and shoot -- a breath of fresh air and doing something with my camera always shakes me out of the doldrums.
But with all of the new projects that I've got coming up, I need to be more rigorous about my schedule. And I haven't been able to make that happen yet.
Moyrascott asked: "what ravens mean to you?"
Not much else, though. Should it?
Sweet Shauna James Ahern asked: "what is the thing that is frightening you most right now? or at least uncomfortable?"
Dang, Shauna, go for the jugular, why don't you! As it happens, I'm a worrier, so at any given moment, I'm mulling over or overanalyzing something. This is a tough question.
I suppose the biggest thing I'm fretting over whether I've bitten off more than I can chew. I have a crazy travel schedule over the next few months (starting with Portland this weekend), and I have a few personal projects that I'm dying to sink my teeth into; couple this with the fact that I haven't seen or been in contact with some really great friends here in Houston because life has taken over, and I'm feeling a bit ... overwhelmed? Like a bad friend?
Anyway, I guess it all boils down to balance. I need to get a bit more balance in my life, and it's going to be tough over the next few months.
Sarah Blackthorne asked: "what do you do when technology fails you? Or, how to bake a great batch of cupcakes. :)"
Weep uncontrollably? Actually, in all seriousness, recently my main computer hard drive crashed, and I hadn't backed up any data since ... well, 2009, I guess? (I know. I know.) And I found that a calm settled over me, much like I imagine the calm would settle over a hiker in the Serengeti who suddenly finds himself with the jaws of an adult lion closing down around his throat -- you know, that resignation that must come when you realize that there is nothing more to do than to wait for than the sweet, sweet release of death? Yeah, that.
Luckily, we were able to get the data off the hard drive before it was completely toast. So 2 years of work was saved, we bought a new hard drive and I now back everything up daily.
In general, however, "technology" in my world means my main computer, my laptop, my cameras and my iPhone (which I primarily use to access my email). So in a lot of ways, if one thing goes, thankfully, I have a back-up. But otherwise, I'm actually very low-tech: I use a journal, not an electronic calendar, I don't own a Kindle or any kind of e-reader (I'm old school), and we don't have a Wii or even a TiVo. We're woefully behind the times up in here.
Also, I'm not a big cupcake maker - but I do bake some mean muffins.
And a couple of questions from Facebook:
Danielle asked: "how you have found balance with family, travel, blog, photos, friends. I know balance is elusive, but do you feel you've reached a bit of a groove?"
Ha -- see the answer to Shauna's email, above! Although I will say that for me, travel/blog/photos/family are often very intertwined, because photography is such a big part of all of those things. In fact, Alex now finds things for me to photograph often, as does Marcus. And because we love to travel (and Marcus is a pretty avid shutterbug himself), travel just allows us to do more of that.
As far as balance -- I really am starting to think that you can have it all, you just can't have it all at the same time. So soon, I'll put work on the back burner to reconnect with friends, and then the pendulum will swing back again. And it will go back and forth. It's not ideal, but I do try.
Andi asked: "How you stay inspired to write every day! As someone with a blog, I find it hard to find the time. And I sometimes feel lacking in the inspiration department."
Well, there are a couple of things: First, I see Chookooloonks as part of my job as a writer, photographer and photoessayist, so I make a point of blogging every day (this schedule was much harder to keep up when I was practicing law). But secondly, you guys inspire me to write every day. I've received so many lovely emails from people who tell me that they like to use Chookooloonks to set the tone for their days, and the truth is writing Chookooloonks helps me set the tone for my days. I've been blogging for seven years now, and I can't imagine not doing it. The fact that you guys keep returning with your kind support is a fantastic motivator.
Thanks for all the questions, guys! And if any of these questions move you to respond, I'd love if you'd share your answers in the comments, below.
(Also, on a completely unrelated note: I had the opportunity to interview Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind for Own Your Beauty of Blogher on the subject of individuality and self-expression -- click here to read all about it.)
Image: Photographed with my Nikon D300, 60mm micro lens. aperture 3.5, shutter speed 1/125, ISO 200