Ah! No sleepcation in March after all. And I know why. See, though I know I need time time off—especially because of how stressful social media is as a "workspace"—at the same time, economic anxiety (the real kind, not the euphemism for being a racist) is something that will never leave me. I work independently; if I do not do it, then it does not get done. I am self-employed; if I need time off, other than through residual income through my publications, for example, there is no income that comes in when I am not working. At that point, it is residual income sources and whatever I have already earned/saved that is at my disposal. I grew up generationally poor, as a child of immigrants, in a large family. I know economic distress though of course I still know joy and small comforts because poverty alone did not define my childhood, as love also did. And finally, I have had touch and go situations in adulthood, times of utter financial ruin and have been food/water/housing-insecure before.
Combine all of these things and sometimes it is hard to get to the mental place where I actually do stop working and take the sleepcation. I am doing much better with short-term rest, sleep, and leisure woven into my schedule. I can see the clear differences now versus 2016 and especially versus 2012-2015. However, it will take more time and practice to be able to schedule and mentally relax during longer periods of time off. Even so, I still have the memories of the January sleepcation and instead of forcing a sleepcation schedule into my life for 2017—which only adds to my Anxiety; as I said before, I am interested in reasonable scheduling/deadlines, not Anxiety-causing rigidity on anything—I am more interested in continuing to work on a more balanced approach to work and rest as a long term process, not one that looks like peaks and valleys.
As I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts (a series that I started in December 2015 when I first launched this central site to discuss my multi-art multi-genre work), each month I share a bit about what I photographed, wrote, created and critiqued etc. in that same month.
Though I closed the live blog part of Gradient Lair in late 2015, 1,000+ new Twitter followers joined @GradientLair since then. This means that I have over 12K Twitter followers and over 20K Gradient Lair blog subscribers; people who still engage what I published there. I decided to start using the Twitter account again to share #classicGradientLair posts. This is some of my writing that may not be included in future anthologies, but writing that is meaningful to me still. Additionally, my anthologies are still in progress; whew, it is a lot of work and I am taking my time with it because doing so much work, revisiting often traumatic content/topics and doing it all on virtually no budget, is emotionally and intellectually taxing. However, I know that once I am done in 2017-2018 or so, I will look back on the entire experience of Gradient Lair with not all bad thoughts and pain, but with beaming pride as well.
I have not posted anything new to Drift Sojourn blog since early January; this is because I am working on design, portfolio, and logo changes, still. I did post new photographs on my Instagram profile. As I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts, I 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.
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. My upcoming fourth photography eBook is still in progress.
In January, I did a major revamp (functional, organizational and aesthetic modifications) of my website cinemacked.com itself. It is user-friendly, well-organized and responsive (meaning it fits an iMac/desktop computer, iPad/tablet or iPhone/smartphone). This is my favorite thing about Cinemacked in 2017 thus far! I published the following on Cinemacked blog in March: 3 New To Netflix Selections - March 2017 and Film Review - All Jokes Aside: Black Women In Comedy. On @Cinemacked, I live tweeted the film Independence Day: Resurgence and shared thoughts on "guilty pleasures," (which I will later put in a Twitter Moments collection). I updated my TV Roster to include one new show: Imposters. I live tweeted many television show favorites in February including Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and The Catch; updates are included on my TV Roster.
I created a new personal Instagram profile; for my work it is instagram.com/driftsojourn and the personal one is instagram.com/thetrudz. I like having the latter to share photographs of myself and things I love outside of my food/cultural work with Drift Sojourn, but still reflect my skills and other interests as a photographer.
I participated in #BlackWomenAtWork (which I will add to Twitter Moments later), sharing a lot of my experiences and my writing on experiencing misogynoir in traditional workplaces and as an independent creator. The hashtag was boosted by @MsPackyetti after Bill O'Reilly dismissed Congresswoman Maxine Waters' work over her appearance. Many Black women can relate to this and shared stories. Additionally, I published Twitter threads on "positive" stereotypes and objectification, on hip hop, gender and "empowerment" and on misogyny and "natural beauty." I also casually worked on 2 short publications (eBooks; projects outside of the Gradient Lair anthology work and my photography eBooks) that I originally started in 2016, and mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts. No publication date set for those, however.
I published two new essays here: Not All Requests To "Collaborate" Are Worth My Time, a long overdue examination of "collaboration" among artists and Beauty 101: Personal Stories about my experiences with "beauty" as a personal and political concept, as a Black woman. I also discussed some basics about my personal skincare and makeup interests within this essay.
The year is already a fourth complete and time is flying, it seems. I am glad that I rethought how I will approach self-imposed deadlines because otherwise I would be fretting about long-term projects (i.e. publications) and getting distracted about what I create and do monthly. Instead, my approach has been "the deadline is when I am done." I am interested in quality of work and quality of life, above anything else.