August was a tumultuous month of extreme highs and lows for me. It was so divergent that at times I felt happiness that felt extremely pure yet at other times I was not sure if I would make it another day. It is not really easy being an independent creator, especially as a Black woman, especially as someone who has to use social media as a "workspace" in order to earn and survive. I alluded to this before in a lot of my writing, but most recently in Social Media: "Fans," Supporters, Hypervisibility and Survival and in Abusing/Exploiting Independent Creators Is Not "Fighting Capitalism". August is also my birthday month; I received lots of well-wishes and a few lovely gifts; I also dealt with several major incidents of plagiarism and erasure. People still continue to hover around the work that I did with Gradient Lair and refuse to stop the plagiarism and erasure. They are desperate for "wealth" in a social media "economy" where performing "wokeness" is "currency," and they will acquire this "wealth" by any means; ethics be damned. Part of this is either erasing my work and my role in how people know certain concepts today; another part is simply lifting the work and pretending it is their own. They will even assert that this abusive behavior is being "woke" itself. It is a plague. It makes me feel like I am in some type of wilderness, almost alone, where being ethical is iconoclastic.
Despite all of this, I was still able to get some of my projected work done in August, and so much so that I still have a good feeling about the rest of the year in terms of a few things that I want to publish.
In August I created:
- Content organizational tools in the process of working on my anthologies for Gradient Lair. I sat back and felt somewhat proud of myself—despite the ongoing plagiarism and erasure—because I did the damn thing; my work. I did that. I have the content for multiple digital anthologies that can each be easily a book length each. Each anthology will focus on a particular topic that I wrote about while the space was active from 2012 to 2015. Sometime in 2016 (hopefully), the anthologies will be available in Publications here, and on an anthology link on Gradient Lair itself. I know what work I did no matter how many people lie, cheat and steal about this. I went through a lot emotionally when initially creating this content. I am going through a lot revisiting it. I am going through a lot still dealing with people who want me to "get over" their targeted harm that they will not stop and have no contrition over; "get over" what has not even ended yet. But I am still proud of my work there and the growth that I have experienced even since closing the live space aspect of Gradient Lair. October will be a year since I closed Gradient Lair. I hope to release the first few anthologies before or by then.
- New photographs that I shared on my Instagram profile for Drift Sojourn. On Drift Sojourn blog I posted: Fresh Fruit and Veg Blends That Last Longer, Summer Dessert Variety, Sweet Potato Waffles, and Imported Aged White Cheddar Cheeseburger With A Butter Maple Waffle Bun. As I mentioned last month, I now follow @manygradients, which posts various colour gradients that make me think of certain moods and motifs. I reply to some of the gradient tweets with one sentence stories that they made me think of. I post them in a TweetDeck Collection: Colour Stories. This exercise helps me mitigate anxiety and it is something that I like to do as a visual artist who works in colour all day. In the last few months I have been using Snapchat (user name: thetrudz) a lot; if Twitter is hell then Snapchat is heaven. The collage above features some of my Snapchat selfies, however, I primarily use the space to share my step by step cooking and baking experiments as a newbie cook. I also share my professional photographs of my newbie recipes there. Sometimes, I just share day to day life stuff.
- Additional ideas for my new photography eBook, which will be my fourth one. 2 of my previous three photography eBooks—Photography Projects For Practice and Portfolios and Free or Frugal: Learning and Creating Photography On A Budget—are available in Publications and on an eBook link on Drift Sojourn itself. I do not mean to keep pushing this book back, but I keep thinking of additional things that I want to address. However, I will publish it before 2016 ends, for sure.
- An anniversary post for Cinemacked; one year anniversary in August! I am thrilled with the direction of the space. I enjoy reviewing films and TV shows, participating in film and TV show live tweets, leading and participating in chats, curating great film and TV show recommendation lists and sharing industry news. I shared a post to provide a snapshot of some of what I have done with Cinemacked in its first year: One Year of Cinemacked! I also posted: 3 New To Netflix Selections - August 2016, my monthly Netflix list, as usual. I did not write any new film reviews in August, but I did participate in a @BitchFlicks chat about female scientist characters on TV. I also live tweeted the VMAs, including making some palette art based on Beyoncé's and other Black girl's and women's wardrobe that evening. My summer TV show interests include Stranger Things, Suits, Rizzoli & Isles and Royal Pains; all TV shows that I live tweet episodes or tweet about in general are on my TV Roster. There will be plenty of tweets for September for fall premiers and a few essays as well.
- A few more ideas towards completing one of the 2 surprise publications that I have been working on, off and on, throughout the year. In the previous months' posts like this, I mentioned that I will not discuss these publications until they are complete in order to minimize abuse, copycats, plagiarism and the stress associated with these aforementioned exploitative types of actions. I am enjoying the work on these because they are somewhat different from what I usually write or have published in the past.
- I wrote the following essay, published here on the blog: The Painful Side of "Role Models," ''Mentors" and "Goals".
I created this space last December to bring my personal, professional, and creative thoughts, ideas and work together; Gradient Lair (Black women and art, media, social media, sociopolitics and culture; womanism), Drift Sojourn (food, travel, lifestyle and macro photography) and Cinemacked (entertainment, aesthetics and sociopolitics of good film and television). I enjoy the relative peace of this space, to be honest. It is not perfect, but compared to what I deal with in other social media spaces (i.e. Twitter is rough and been hell for years, but getting verified in August [the blue check thingy] has helped with the quality of my mentions; people are still sending harassment or free labor demands to Gradient Lair, which is on Tumblr), the harassment is much lower. I am looking forward to publishing a few things in September-December. Not every day is easy, but I try to be aware of my limitations, my physical, emotional and mental health, and just try to take each day one at a time. Easier said than done, but so far, I still try.