In November, I had several re-realizations about how little people think of independent artists, of Black women online, of hypervisible Black women online and people like me who are both independent artists and hypervisible Black women online. I dealt with so many paternalistic people second-guessing what I do (despite the fact that they have no clue what I do, do not engage my work, and do not engage my Artists Make Art series that I started last December where I discuss some of my work each month), offering unsolicited advice or requesting free work. This is the toxic two-fold: someone either tries to tell me how to do my work (just as they spend inordinate amounts of time telling me what to eat, what medicines to take, what media to consume, what products to buy and tons of other infuriating forms of passive aggressive harassment and paternalism) or expects me to work for them for free. It is sickening to me, but I do my best to not let it be stifling to me. It still affects my mental, emotional and physical health though. The cumulative stress is real.
I still create each month, but now at a slower and more reasonable pace for me with deadlines that make sense; they are ones that take all of the stress, online abuse, mental/physical health issues that make working difficult (especially when I do everything myself) into account. If it is an invoice, I sent it. If it is an essay or publication, I wrote it. If it is a photograph, I created it. If it is administrative/maintenance work as an indie artist, I did it. If it is engaging people online, live tweets (i.e. of films or TV shows), analytical tweets (i.e. personal, political or sociopolitical, similar to what I discussed on Gradient Lair), or customer service in relation to my products, I did the work. It is what people consume and make assumptions about and what people will never see but I am still doing behind the scenes everyday, for myself and for others.
In November I created/worked on:
- Formatting and editing some of the anthologies of Gradient Lair. Each anthology will focus on a subject that I helped or solely developed the framework for (i.e. misogynoir, post-mortem media violence) or wrote about in great detail and help develop discourse on in the modern age (i.e womanism, street harassment) while the space was active from 2012 to 2015. Hopefully in December (tentative), the first 2 anthologies will be available in Publications here and on an anthology link on Gradient Lair itself.
- New photographs that I shared on my Instagram profile for Drift Sojourn. On Drift Sojourn blog I posted: 300 Awesome Photography Links On Education, Business, Lightroom/Photoshop, iPhone & More! and Free “Delicious” iPhone Wallpapers. (Both of these are available for download in Publications as well; while both are free, if you like them and want to support these creations, you can visit my Support page.) In the last few months, 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. chatting about makeup).
- Content 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 for purchase in Publications and on an eBook link on Drift Sojourn itself. This new one got held up over something annoying as hell: an ignorant vendor sent me defective equipment and it was a hassle getting this situation fixed. I still hope to get this eBook out this year though. I will see!
- One new post and one new tv listing/review on Cinemacked: 3 New To Netflix Selections - November 2016 and 4 New TV Show Selections For Fall 2016, where I discussed how much I enjoy Queen Sugar, Pitch, Chance and Designated Survivor. Though I did not write any film reviews or live tweet any films in November, I always discuss film and television on @Cinemacked, and I live tweeted the 50th CMA Awards, where I watched Beyoncé perform "Daddy Lessons." (Back in April, I discussed Lemonade in great in Lemonade: A Southern Visual 'Novel' Unapologetically About The Humanity & Complexity of Black Womanhood).
- Brainstorming (which I do throughout my creative process, not only at the beginning) for the 2 surprise publications that I have been working on this year. I will not discuss these publications in too much detail until I have completed them. I project to finish at least one of these in December or January. However, as I mentioned before, I am working on creating and sticking to reasonable deadlines, so I am not rushing these.
- The following essay, published here on the blog: History, Symbolism and Representation: Examining The Meaning of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Rise, on election day. Of course as everyone knows, she did not win. But I still do not regret writing this piece. This idea that Democrats are "good" for oppressed people and that the sheer symbols associated with her rise are ones that should be sufficient enough for me not to critique and resist White supremacy etc. does not work for me. This is not then acceptance of the fascism, racism, sexism, xenophobia etc. of Donald Trump. Such a binary is dishonest and violent towards a generationally poor, independent artist, who is a Black woman, a child of Black immigrants, and a descendant of enslaved Black people.
Though I have been an artist for over a decade, and most of my current projects are several years old, this particular blog, thetrudz.com (based on my Twitter user name that I created in 2009 and now use across several platforms) is a newer space (which will be a year old in December) that I created to bring my current interests together, and as somewhere to write in the aftermath of closing the live blog aspect of Gradient Lair last October. These current interests include: 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).