In December of 2015, I decided to create this central site, thetrudz.com; I have been using 'thetrudz' online as early as 2009 when I originally signed up for Twitter. Since I have been an artist for a long time and I have several social media spaces about my various arts, I decided to create this central site that connects them. Despite closing Gradient Lair in October of 2015—and I have no interest in replicating that space here—I knew that I still wanted to write. I knew that I wanted to write beyond what I have published in my past eBooks, in photography-related essays, posts and recipes on Drift Sojourn (which I created in 2013, though I have been a professional photographer [with different name/genres] since 2006) or film/tv-related essays and posts on Cinemacked (which I created in 2015 after some media writing experience with Gradient Lair). I am still a writer and I was one before Gradient Lair; I will be one even once I complete the subject-specific anthologies of that life-altering and important personal and political project of mine.
I decided to add a personal blog to thetrudz.com because at the end of the day, like dream hampton always says, "writers write." I always say "artists make art." I added my "Artists Makes Art" series here last December; I discuss some of my work each month in the series. In addition to this series, I publish essays here that are about art as creativity, inspiration, labor, self-care and/or activism. (Though I do not identify as an "activist," I do identify as a Womanist and some of my essays delve into where labor and activism meet as a hypervisible Black woman using social media, when some of my creative content is political/sociopolitical in nature.)
This December "Artists Make Art" post represents a year anniversary of my "Artist Makes Art" series! (Previous posts in 2016: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November).
Gradient Lair: My original intent was to have the subject-specific anthologies of some key topics—that I wrote about and/or developed frameworks for on Gradient Lair—published in 2016. Upon review, this deadline was simply unreasonable for me. If it took me almost four years to develop the space, then to review that content—most of it very emotionally heavy for me; some triggering—and refresh certain things, and develop all of the photography, design, editing, and publishing in that time span? And do so with no specific funding at all? Um...yeah, no.
I did work very hard on the digital anthologies though. I secured an incredible foreword for one of the most important anthologies. I developed the design. I created some of the needed photographs. I began my outlines and content organization for them. I began some editing. All of this is labor-intensive. They just were not ready for a 2016 publication date, as final copy. I was not emotionally ready either. In my commitment to reasonable deadlines—for someone who does the work of 6-7 people on a shoe string budget for some projects and zero dollars for others (unless they generate sales/donations after the fact)—I decided it is okay to take my time to do my best work (and most importantly, take care of my health) without self-imposed deadlines that create anxiety. To not complete what amounts to producing 15+ "eBook-like" publications in a time span of a year is okay. This would take most people several years, assuming they already put in the the years of work that I did with Gradient Lair. Thus, I am still working on the project. But instead of projecting deadlines that give me anxiety on already emotionally difficult content, in future "Artists Make Art" posts in 2017, I will simply mention what work I did, not projected publication dates. These will be ready when they are ready.
Drift Sojourn: I wanted to publish my fourth photography eBook in 2016. I came close to being ready three different times but three different things happened; complete burnout from mental health issues; the desire to add another topic to the eBook before publication; gear shipping problems with T-Mobile and with LensProToGo. I have no reason to believe that I will not be able to publish this eBook in 2017, but again, I am invested in healthy, reasonable deadlines and discussing what I create moreso than deadlines in future "Artists Make Art" posts.
In December, I shared new photographs on my Instagram profile for Drift Sojourn. On Drift Sojourn blog I posted: Homemade Pecan Sandies. I also made 2 Twitter Moments about my photography: Snacks on Snapchat: 2016 Greatest Hits and Drift Sojourn - 2016 Photography. I have been using Snapchat (user name: thetrudz) to share what I am working on, including my writing, to post my cooking and baking experiments as a newbie cook, to discuss my work as a professional photographer, and just for fun personal use (i.e. sharing images of my personal life).
Cinemacked: I completed every objective that I wanted to with this space in 2016 and I absolutely love this space.
In December, I published these on Cinemacked blog: 3 New To Netflix Selections - December 2016, Film Review - Fences, 20 Television Shows That I Enjoyed Watching In 2016 and 20 Films That I Enjoyed Viewing In 2016. On @Cinemacked, I did an end of season 1 review of Jessica Jones, a live tweet of the film I Dream Too Much, I created a palette for the film Alien: Covenant and I shared my favorite Christmas films.
General publishing: I did not publish the two surprise publications that I worked on throughout 2016 for reasons similar to what I mentioned above; setting reasonable deadlines that account for my mental health and time allocation, since I do a lot of work, all by myself and on very little funding, while dealing with an abusive "workplace," which is what social media is, essentially. I did complete two other long term projects in 2016 though; my iPhone wallpapers and an educational resource guide for photographers; both are available for download in Publications.
thetrudz.com: In December, I published an extended essay (over 4,000 words) on music; My Top 15 Favorite Albums Of 2016. It felt really good to write something substantial on music again, as I did for several years on Gradient Lair, among many other topics. This aspect I do not mind here; however, no, I am not making a Gradient Lair 2.0. space here. Since I started this space in December 2015, I have published these other essays on music: Album Cover Art As A Source Of Artistic Inspiration, My Top 9 Favorite Albums Of 2015 and Other Music Love..., 5 Inspiring Quotes From Beyoncé On Art, Creative Process and Vision, To Get Through This Thing Called Life (on Prince, after he passed away).
December was very busy for me because I also think about my work over the year. In early January, I will share a "favorite creations" type post where I list some of my favorite writing, photographs and other creations/publications in 2016, in totality.