Inspired | April 2018


Every month, I put together a list of everything that caught my attention. Here’s April.

How to read poetry like a professor an interview with Thomas Foster by Jake Nevins

How Social Media Perpetuates Cliché Photography by Graham Hiemstra: Three key influencers discuss originality, the rise of copycat photographers, and the future of Instagram (via Goodbye Instagram, hello Ello by Samuel Zeller, which is also a very interesting read.)

Can Instagram keep its nose clean? by Gian Volpicelli: “… it’s hard not to feel that Instagram lucked out, effectively airbrushing its public image amid Facebook’s whirlwind of scandals.”

Nikon versus Canon: A Story Of Technology Change by Steven Sinofsky

What’s the difference between a camera and a human eye? by Haje Jan Kamps: Or: What’s the ISO of a human eye?

What about the Breakfast Club? by Molly Ringwald: “How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose? What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it?”

Queens of Infamy: Eleanor of Aquitaine by Anne Thériault

Richard joined Eleanor after a few years, since she was ostensibly ruling in his name and he would one day have to take over as Duke of Aquitaine, and during this time the two became very close. You know that scene in Disney’s Robin Hood where a disconsolate Prince John mutters “mother always did like Richard best”? If that is not the truest line in any Disney movie ever, I don’t know what is.

Style Is an Algorithm by Kyle Chayka

We find ourselves in a cultural uncanny valley, unable to differentiate between things created by humans and those generated by a human-trained equation run amok. In other words, what is the product of genuine taste and what is not.

Snapshot #99 | 10 Things for 22 April 2018



1. going… through all my cake recipes.
2. thinking… about the photos I want to take and the stories I want to write. (Granted, any photos would be good right now.)
3. feeling… seriously productive. It’s entirely possible that I might be figuring out how to do the things. Maybe.
4. wondering… if I should start sewing again. Why? That way lies madness. (But… I really want to make this dress.)
5. getting… the shelves for the office! I’m ridiculously excited. This is the first step in turning it into a room where I want to spend time, rather than just a glorified storage room that happens to contain my desk.
6. waiting… for deliveries.
7. starting… my running season. A little later than I’d hoped (the day I’d planned to start had a -7°C windchill, which… no) but I’ve started.
8. making… some behind-the-scenes plans. There might be an announcement coming soon.
9. befriending… cats. I’m starting to think it’s a superpower.
10. hoping… that spring might be happening for real this time.

Snapshot #98 | 10 Things for 8 April 2018

Snapshot #98 | 10 Things for 8 April 2018



1. finding… my pace in the current draft. Slowly, but I’m managing.
2. resisting… the urge to spend all my money on vintage cameras. I really want a twin-lens reflex right now.
3. planning… to start my running season, very soon. As soon as it stops feeling like winter. (Or… a week from tomorrow. Fingers crossed.)
4. making… these cupcakes. Have I mentioned before that I’m a little bit obsessed with small-batch baking? Because I’m a little bit obsessed with small-batch baking.
5. getting… ready to read The Black Sun in preparation for the first round of edits. I’m equal parts nervous and excited.
6. wondering… just how many coffee-making devices one person actually needs. (But at the same time, I don’t really care, because my new French press is adorable.)
7. starting… to suspect that I’m coming down with a cold. Of course. (Update, between writing and posting this: I’m definitely coming down with a cold. Fun!)
8. eating… far too much candy.
9. thinking… about expanding my bread-baking repertoire. Sourdough’s first up, of course, but now I’m thinking about croissants and brioche and maybe trying my hand at bagels again.
10. refreshing… my German-language skills. I’m kind of rusty. (It’s been years since I officially studied. It’s coming back to me, but wow.)

Sketchbook #31


When it comes to the big picture, I have a three-month attention span.

It takes three months for that initial burst of energy and enthusiasm to fade.

It takes three months to lose sight of my big goals, and get bored with the day-to-day grind required to achieve them. Three months to start to question whether those goals are actually possible, and whether I’ve got the drive to see them through. Three months to start thinking ’I don’t feel like writing today. I’ll make it up tomorrow.’

In other words, March was difficult.

Not impossible. I put together an almost-complete outline for Violet Lane in about a week, and I’ve been working on a new photo project that I’m really enjoying. Plus, I had a few days in which outside forces conspired to keep me from doing much at all, and that annoyed me enough to push me to start moving again. But that kind of motivation doesn’t really last very long—a week later I was doing things again, but I was feeling stuck, too.


I’ve been taking some time to get myself focussed again, to remind myself what I want to be doing and why I’m doing it. I’ve been looking at what’s stopping me from doing those things, at what gets in my way and keeps me from writing, or taking photos, or whatever it is, and I’ve been coming up with ways to avoid falling into those old familiar traps. I’ve been looking at the way I spend my time, and how I organize my work, and just generally trying to figure out how to do things better. I’m doing what I can to eliminate the worst of my distractions, the ones that steal my attention and don’t give anything back in return. I’m looking at how others have pulled themselves out of ruts like this, and seeing what I can apply to my own situation.

And, as I write the current draft, I’m trying to pay attention to how I’m doing it, what works and what doesn’t. I’ve spent too much time only vaguely aware of my own process, and so, every time I start a new story, I’ve got to figure everything out from scratch. Again.

This all sounds kind of clinical. Maybe it is. But I feel good about the way things are going right now. Violet Lane is progressing nicely, if slowly. I’m on a bit of a roll with the photo project (having fresh flowers on hand helps with that… I’m not quite sure what I’ll do when they finally start to fade). And, a step at a time, I’m getting back on track.

I’m not there yet. Of course I’m not. It’s going to take a while to figure this out. And I’m not going to try to make a hundred changes at once – the temptation is there, but if I do too much too fast, I’ll just end up overwhelmed and right back where I started.

But I’m moving in the right direction. That’s the important thing.