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Saturday, 22 April 2023


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I joke with friends that it I ever had a windfall, I'd have 2 immediate priorities. First, I would only ever fly first class again because flying today is repulsive and anything you can do to make it better is worth it. We wanted cheap flights; well we got them, I hope you're happy. Second, I'd go to Hertz or Avis or one of those guys and I contract with them to bring me a new car every first of the month. I've never buy or maintain or repair my own car again. I like driving, I even sort of like cars, I've been a participant in motorsports, I just hate owning cars.

It looks like the editor of nikonrumors went on vacation and look what happened: "I am currently on a plane, but you can see the leaked Nikon Z8 camera..." I can see this happening if you go on vacation. How would you resist? It's not just the writing, it's human communication that you need.
Obviously you could continue this while being elsewhere, but I don't think it would be easy for you. I don't know what you call this writing, but I look for it every day. I'm bored but extremely picky.


You wrote: I don't work very hard; and I like this work.

This means you do not need a proper vacation. Anyway, how does one define "proper" for a vacation?

IMO, a proper vacation is usually a boring one because it's too well organsied and planned ahead. My best vacations are those free and easy ones when I don't know what I will do the next day after waking up from a nice sleep with lots of dreams.

Just sharin'

Dan K.

As I have said many times while posting here, TOP is really the only specific content that I read online. I basically have browser tabs open for gmail, calendar, facebook, instagram, the Boston Globe and TOP. I have not navigated to Amazon or B&H without linking through TOP in years - and I think I purchase a lot. I hope that has contributed something!

But I wish you monetized the site more. I wish you did more print sales here. More book sales. And also I think there is a market here for individualized photographic feedback. I would love to have a call with you to just look at my images together and hear your feedback. Not a portfolio review, but general impressions and feedback from your perspective. One hour session. You might spend 30 minutes prior to call looking through images and preparing some thoughts. But that's it. Maybe $250?

I would also love for you to go on vacation. But I wish you could travel and write. The travel would probably inspire the writing and some photography. Make it happen.

There are things one might do that demand 100% attention, else you're badly hurt or dead. You mentioned rock climbing. My own list includes landing a plane, splitting wood with an axe, and driving Philly's Schuylkill Expressway Westbound from Spring Garden to City Avenue, when the traffic is really moving. But that's not the same as being immersed in a project and losing track of time.

Men are notoriously ill-equipped to multi-task. While my wife can pace herself to spend, say, 30 minutes in one area today, then move onto something else, then come back the next morning and spend another 30 minutes, day after day, that sort of thing makes me crazy. I need to focus on just one thing, and one thing only, until it's either done, or I get tired. You've described me exactly.

So, you should give up all hope? Not really. Somehow I managed to hold down a job for 60 or so years, and I think maybe ... maybe .... it was because I viewed random events as of a piece with "the job," whatever it happened to be at each stage of my career.

I think giving advice is like giving excuses - it satisfies only the giver. But, having had to think about this since you've described it, I wonder if somehow rethinking what constitutes "the job" might help? Dunno.

I hope you figure it out for yourself. Good luck.

Ironic (if that's the correct use of the term) that I'm writing this as a comment. But in this and your previous post you mentioned moderating comments as taking a lot of time and energy.

Have you considered dispensing with comments? Or limiting the number of posts on which you solicit/permit comments? Do you think readership will decrease if you limit or eliminate the ability of readers to post comments?

Hi Mike,
very interesting read and even though you say you wrote it for you, it is still beautifully written and entertaining to read (and I see parallels to my life and thoughts). So keep doing this!
And it shows me again that I would also like to read "other" things (meaning other than photography) from you. So please let us see the first chapter of your book about your son (I am actually very curious about the story, as I follow your blog for a long time (Xander was still small at the time) and always wondered about the background story)! I would pay extra for it (I am already on Patreon)!
Best regards and have a good Sunday!

A long vacation might be less helpful than you think. It's all too easy to loose focus rapidly, and find yourself watching soap operas or pointlessly wandering the Internet.
My day job is pretty intense; at age 65, the usual retirement benchmark, I'm happy to be down to a 60 hour work week. It used to be 90 hours plus. I do take vacation time, mostly visiting family, though I do attend at least one workshop with a painter I admire every year.
Perversely, 4 days into any vacation, I already miss the oddly comforting work routine. Feeling vaguely guilty about unstructured time. By the end of a week I'm glad to be back at work. There's a great quote from the actor Laurence Olivier about this. An interviewer asked him if he enjoyed acting. He found acting almost painful, but was compelled to keep working. "I wonder if the ox misses the yoke."

Do you have any more commissions from The New Yorker? I very much enjoyed the one you mention in this post.

I always found that when I was doing a lot of writing at work (software requirements, as is / to be maps, instruction manuals, whatever), my blog writing died back. Don't get me started on what that does to the complicated novel I've been working on for decades.

It sounds like comment moderation (considered as entirely separate from actually reading comments from the readers) is something that takes lots of time, and isn't something you particularly like. Maybe you need to discover how much it would actually cost for a volunteer moderator, and compare that to the value of time freed up.

Thom Hogan takes off occasionally. In fact, he has been off for nearly a month.

As others have suggested, why don't you travel and write about it at the same time? I would love to read your take on the world.

Would love to read the story about Xander. Whatever exists - one paragraph - two - three...
Here is an idea about the vacation:
plan an Europe trip that will result in some form of a travel blog with accompanying photography - ask readers to donate for the trip - stay only at readers places around Europe (or the world). I for one would offer a room in Skopje, Macedonia on that occasion.
Such a trip would probably increase the traffic, but in any case could easily become the most fun thing you have done your entire life. Could you do such a trip if you were rich - NO, but you can, because over the years you have created a strong community of likeminded people who respect and trust you!

I commiserate with you! Since 2011 I have only been able to take 4, true, unforced "vacations"---I put that in quotes because there were either family obligations involved, so slightly stressful, or other issues that made them less than "recharging"; unforced because I've had some stressful non-choice time off because I'm a contractor. And I'm also someone conditioned to longer time-outs---to recharge I need 3 weeks at minimum.

I wonder whether you couldn't find a helper to hand off to for a month, with a mix of invited writers, old posts, some pieces you prepared before leaving?

As for concentration and being in that head space, I also can't just bop in and out of my studio easily. I used to decades ago, but I was in a different job then that was far more conducive to that.

A true vacation happens when we fall in love. Many times for me. Now at 70, it's time to cowboy up.

Thanks for sharing with us the anxiety and mental calculus that are a part of running this blog. Also, I would love to read the first chapter you wrote of the story of your son.
Any chance you could write the book, and incorporate it into the blog, piece by piece? I know some readers would complain that it's off-topic. Just an idea. I'm sure it's already crossed your mind.

Can you travel to anywhere interesting by train from where you live?

Whether self-employed or an inmate in a cubicle farm, work gets in the way of life.


Train it with all the blog posts you've written. It can respond to comments, draft blog posts, and produce a week's material.

Or, do what many columnists do, write ahead, and let the comment moderation go for a week or two.

Or, close shop for two weeks. If you've never done it, you can't know it would be a disaster (recognizing there's some risk here).

Or, line up two weeks' worth of guest posts. Your loyal readers will stick with you (again, the risk here is higher than others).

Robert Roaldi, you can just skip the rental companies. Steve Jobs famously had such a deal with Mercedes directly, getting an identical car every few months.

Of course, he was also trying to avoid having an identifiable license plate, but you can't do that anymore: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2016/07/steve-jobs-loophole-closed-california-wants-temporary-license-plates/

Your state of focused concentration seems to resemble what was called Flow by the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. There is an interesting description on Wikipedia.

Yes, I do want to read the chapter about your son Michael.

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