Well, friends, you all sent some seriously healing juju up in here -- after almost 5 days of a constant 100-101.5 degree temperature, Alex woke up fever-free yesterday morning, and today she's going back to school (yesterday was a holiday). So thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers -- they worked!
So now, as promised, to your questions:
From Heather: "Do you have specific thoughts about parenting an only child? We have one and right now I'm not super motivated to try for #2. My first and only is 1 1/2 yrs old and I'm wondering how parents who are raising only children consider supporting the development of their only child. I know you're not blogging much about parenting since Alex is older now... but I like reading your thoughts as a mom!"
On parenting an only child: unsurprisingly, I'm for it! There was a time when Alex was about the age of your child when Marcus and I considered having a second -- but then a wise friend with a large family advised us that we should only consider having more children if we wanted to have more children, rather than "doing it for Alex." That pretty much sealed the deal for us.
We try to make sure that Alex sees her cousins (who are near her age) as often as possible -- not particularly easy, since they live in San Francisco and England -- and we have some very close friends whose kids are Alex's age, and they consider each other "cousins" as well. Ultimately I figure, like most people, Alex will end up creating her own family as she grows and develops relationships. I don't foresee problems: she's a very generous, giving kid by nature, and with her, our family feels complete.
From Amanda Susan: "When can we read your next book? I raced through The Beauty Of Different."
I'm glad you enjoyed it! I do have plans for a second book, but I'm taking a little break from book-writing right now -- I'll probably start it later in the year. If history is any indicator, it takes around 15 months or so for me to write a book (from me typing the first page to having it in my hot little hands), so I'm thinking end of 2012 or beginning of 2013 at the earliest. But of course, I'll let you know for sure.
(Incidentally, this seems like a great time to thank all of you who have written me to tell me how much you enjoyed the book, left reviews on Amazon.com, or have even written posts on your own blogs about the book. I can't tell you how much I've appreciated all of your words. Really, really.)
From Cameron: "I saw your pages in Where Women Create today and I looooooved it. So my question, since you have organized your books by color which I think is SO stinkin' cool, is whether it is ever hard for you to find a certain book? Or do you remember them by color? Or do you just not really need to refer to books very often? I LOVE the look of them organized by color, but I'm kind of (cough) detail-oriented about having them organized by type and with authors grouped together (ie a shelf of travel books, a shelf of my favorite fiction, a shelf of "to read," etc)."
Oh, I was EXACTLY the same -- when I was single I had all my books ordered by genre, by topic, by author ALPHABETICALLY. But now, with two other people living in the house, I found that was a bad idea, because they aren't as anal as I am, and would never put the books back in the right place! This way, by colour, they're more inclined to put them back in the "right place" (and I'm more likely to see when they don't). So far, I haven't had too much trouble finding the books -- I'm a pretty visual person anyway, and tend to remember book covers. Maybe as I acquire more, this will become a problem, though ... hmm ...
From Elz: "how many rum punches can you drink before feeling tipsy?!"
One tall glass. And then it's usually time for a nap.
From Leisa: "What do you like about Squarespace & why did you change from Typepad?"
I switched to Squarespace for the purposes of hosting my site when I decided to quit my job and write and shoot full time. Typepad served me well; however, I find Squarespace far more flexible a tool to create really original sites; in addition, they had a lot of experience in showcasing photographers' work. Two years later, it remains one of the best business decisions I've made.
From René J: "Do you print at home? I know you use an apple, (back in one functioning piece!), but do you take your photos to a lab to print or have recommendations on a printer? I'm struggling with printing quality on my own."
I rarely print at home -- I'm too miserly with my ink. When I need professional-quality prints, I use WHCC -- I think they're the best at making the prints look the way they look on my desktop screen (I think they only cater to professional photographers, so you might want to check on that). For just snapshots -- I try to print my favourites every two weeks or so -- my only purpose is to stick them in my journal, so I'm less picky about who prints them. I just use RitzPix -- I order them online, and then pick them up at the brick-and-mortar store near my house. For those purposes, they're "cheap and cheerful," as Marcus would say.
From Puna: "I do want to know what "type" of photographer you believe you have become. I don't think you do the standard weddings and senior portraits like other photographer do. Do you find your that you are an exclusive web presence? Or would you shoot for others or perhaps you feel like you are more of an artist that would sell her prints? Just curious."
That's such a great question! My friend Brené calls me a "photoessayist," and to be honest, that's the title that feels the most right. I don't do weddings (except as a gift for close friends, and even then, I insist they hire an official photographer), and most portraits I do for my own purposes, and not for hire (although I do give the subject a copy of the shot). But for me, it's very strange to photograph without also writing, and vice-versa -- for me, the two are very closely tied. I love telling stories, and using photography to illustrate them.
And so, I suppose, a photoessayist I shall be. And with your question, it's officially official.
And with that, thanks so much for asking your questions, friends -- we'll definitely do this again sometime soon. But for now, I'll return you to your regularly scheduled Chookooloonks.
Image: Photographed with my Nikon D300, 35mm lens. aperature 2.0, shutter speed 1/2500, ISO 200.
Song: Starry-eyed surprise by Paul Oakenfold