I rested; this was the best thing about January. I took the sleepcation that I said I would. For a full week in January, I slept, lounged on the couch watching film (and not ones in relation to my work for Cinemacked), cooked/baked and enjoyed peace. I did not feel fully relaxed until about the third day into that week, but over time, resting became easier. Then for another whole week, I only worked part-time instead of beyond full-time, as usual. I thought about my work schedule. Why am I overworking when the difference between a reasonable work schedule and a painful one that is harmful to my body is not netting any major income differences? It is not like there is a 25K/year type of difference in this, as an independent artist and writer who is an unaffiliated (without social status/institutional protections etc.) Black woman. And clearly, in a capitalist society, the amount of work someone does is not what determines if they get to be well-off or even "middle class." I decided that a reasonable work schedule, plenty of rest, and valuing my time off is what I want for 2017 and beyond. It is difficult, but I have to give it a shot.
I enjoyed the art that I created in January and I set the tempo for some upcoming projects in 2017, but at a reasonable tempo. As I alluded to in my Artists Make Art series (that I started in December 2015 when I first launched this central site to discuss my multi-art multi-genre work), I am interested in reasonable deadlines over resume bullets. In this particular Artists Make Art post, I included a collage as a snapshot of some of my work in January. (I made a similar collage last July, as a snapshot of all of my major artwork.)
Though I closed the live blog part of Gradient Lair in late 2015, over 1,000 new Twitter followers joined @GradientLair since then. This means that I have over 11K Twitter followers and over 20K Gradient Lair blog subscribers. While I will not use that Twitter account much until I publish my anthologies, I do think it is nice that readers (well, the respectful ones who are not hyperconsumptive plagiarists) still engage that space.
I did not work on the subject-specific anthologies in January (again, I decided not to rush these), but instead worked on something else based on some critical scholarship that I developed while Gradient Lair was live for three and a half years. This is something that I hope to publish in 2017, though there is no set publication date yet. Nevertheless, I am excited. Additionally, I started work on something with the fabulous Moya Bailey (yes, that Moya) and I look forward to what that will become.
In January, I published Food Photography and 30+ Recipes In 2016 on Drift Sojourn blog, as a summary of my favorite work in professional photography and newbie cooking last year. I also posted new photographs on my Instagram profile. As I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts, I now use 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). The photograph above in this post is a collage of Snapchat selfies from January. Though styling hair is not one of my professions or even one of my hobbies, I actually installed my own box braids via the individual crochet method, and I feel proud of the appearance and the money I saved. This was my first time doing my own hair with a professional appearance.
I put my photography, writing, design and editing work on hold for my pending fourth photography eBook, mainly since I spent a lot of time resting in January, as I alluded to above. Two 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 for purchase in Publications and on an eBook link on Drift Sojourn itself. Additionally, an educational publication, 300 Photography Resources, and my 2 sets of iPhone wallpapers "Healthy Eats" and "Sweet Eats" are available in Publications as free downloads, but tips are appreciated.
In January, I did a major revamp (lots of functional, organizational and aesthetic modifications) of my website cinemacked.com itself. It is user-friendly, well-organized and responsive (meaning it morphs to fit an iMac/desktop computer, iPad/tablet or iPhone/smartphone). Additionally, I published the following on Cinemacked blog: 3 New To Netflix Selections - January 2017 and Black Women’s Film Marathon - January 20th. Because I was not interested in watching Inauguration Day activities, I planned #BWFilmMarathon (which I designed the flyer for) instead and live tweeted four incredible films about and/or directed by Black women: Bessie, Eve's Bayou, Confirmation and This Is The Life. It was fun as a few Cinemacked readers joined in, and I received a lot of positive feedback about it.
Though I did not write any formal film reviews in January, I live tweeted The Trans List (an HBO documentary on transgender people's lives), series four of Sherlock, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Since I published my favorites in television and film in 2016, early in January I asked @Cinemacked readers about their favorites in both; some of their responses are included in 2 Twitter Moments on @Cinemacked: Favorite Films Viewed In 2016 and Favorite Television Shows In 2016. My other Twitter Moment that I created in January is based on a discussion about talented 2X Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington's filmography. It was an awesome discussion and is summarized in this Twitter Moment: The Best of Denzel Washington.
I updated my TV Roster to include three new shows: Travelers, Chewing Gum and The Crown. I finished Travelers in January and I will mention more about the latter two television shows this spring. I live tweeted many longtime television show favorites in January including Lucifer, HTGAWM, The Flash and Arrow; updates are included on my TV Roster.
I participated in the Twitter meme "1 like = 1 lesson learned" and it became a project of 100 tweets called 100 Life Lessons. It includes tips about making art, social media, creativity, writing, relationships, labor and more. This exercise was great for me because it relates to one of the 2 surprise publications that I worked on off and on during 2016. I did pause on those for January, but I am reinvigorated about both. There is no set publication date for these as of yet. Also, I shared 2 threads that both impact me deeply, albeit differently: 1) the lie and the system that killed Emmett Till and 2) creation, publication and critique.
In January I published 2016: 100 Favorite Essays, Reviews, Photographs, Recipes & More. This is not all of my work from 2016, but is more than just a snapshot. I feel proud of my work and I enjoyed the process of creation even if I do not always enjoy the social media aspect.
I hope to have the same peace I had in January in February as well. I am trying to both enjoy the moments as they happen but also be organized enough for long-term projects, all while having a reasonable schedule with reasonable deadlines, all while maintaining reasonably good mental health and all while earning enough money to survive. This is difficult; this is life; this is being an artist. Artists make art.