While August was rather lovely, September was hell. Hell! I went through hurricane Irma in September. This meant spending money on food, water and supplies. This meant tossing a ton of food after I lost electricity for a week. This meant spending a fortune on Lyft rides to get to places with electricity to get some semblance of work done although I have a lot of lost wages from work I could not do. This meant sleeping in extreme heat (I do not have a battery-operated fan and could not get one anywhere) and worrying about burglaries as one of my family members was burglarized right after Irma passed; they were not home at the time, fortunately. I was burglarized back in 2005 and I remember coming home to that feeling, the very smell that someone else had been in my home. The only thing worse would be if I was there at the time. Luckily, I was not. Even so, it is a terrible feeling.
Irma meant dealing with an inordinate amount of online stress as paternalism and unsolicited advice meant to insult my intelligence. It was a nightmare in new ways compared to going though hurricanes before social media existed. While social media like Twitter can help with the dissemination of information (not all being valid info, but still a tool to use), it also added a new social element that I was unprepared for dealing with in the context of a hurricane. I have dealt with literally every possible terrible thing via social media—the gaslighting, unsolicited advice, paternalism, harassment, abuse, threats, plagiarism and erasure that I have written about for years—but there are some things unique to the hurricane that already made a stressful time even more stressful. I addressed them in my monthly public piece on Patreon, (which I will elaborate on below).
Though things could have been so much worse for me (I had no flooding, structural damage or physical injury) as it is for survivors in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica and more, Irma still took a toll on my mental health that I am trying to recover from. I did get some of the work done that I wanted to complete in September (i.e. I met all my agreements with Patreon patrons in terms of what new content I will create and they will have access to), but obviously I did not expect a hurricane to derail my work, my mental health and my life for a bit. Even so, below I mention some of what I created and/or worked on in September, as I do with every Artists Make Art post, a series that I started when I first launched this central site to discuss my many years of experience (pre-dating this space) of multi-art multi-genre work.
I created a new Patreon profile at the end of July (the URL is patreon.com/thetrudz) to publish unique content for long time readers/supporters as well as for newly interested people. I published the introduction posts (Welcome and Public Content On Patreon) back in August, but they are something that I will continually mention as new patrons need to read them before engaging the content on my Patreon.
I publish 1 new long piece per month on womanism, Black feminism, art, film, television or music etc. on Patreon; this is for Blackberry ($10.00), Wine ($20.00) and Bourbon ($50.00) reward levels: Memories and Magic: Thoughts About The VH1 Hip Hop Honors and 90s Music Love. I publish 1-4 short pieces per month on lifestyle content or popular culture; this is for Blueberry ($5.00), Blackberry ($10.00), Wine ($20.00) and Bourbon ($50.00) reward levels: What Poetry Teaches Me About Art and Life.
I publish sporadic surprise new content (i.e. iPhone wallpapers, art-related tutorials, study tips, recipes) along the way and this is for Strawberry ($3.00), Blueberry ($5.00), Blackberry ($10.00), Wine ($20.00) and Bourbon ($50.00) reward levels: Bonus Post #02 - 4 Tips For Creating Art As Stress Relief and Bonus Post #03 - 3 Free Nature iPhone Wallpapers.
I publish a "weekly five" list with tips and/or advice on art as inspiration, creativity, business, labor and self-care, beginner photography education, or life/leisure tips; this is for all patrons, including the entry reward level, Leaf ($1.00): The Weekly Five #04 - 5 Tips For Bargain Shopping, The Weekly Five #05 - 5 Tips For Organizing Your Online Content, The Weekly Five #06 - 5 Tips For Effective Photography For Beginners and The Weekly Five #07 - 5 Tips For Sharpening Your Reading Skills. I also publish a weekly curated reading list that includes great writing from around the web on some of my interests, which include photography, food, writing (craft/inspiration), film/television, art, politics/sociopolitics, and life. Each week, this list includes some of my own writing as well. This is for all patrons, including the entry reward level, Leaf ($1.00): Read This Week #04, Read This Week #05, Read This Week #06 and Read This Week #07.
The public Patreon content that I publish includes/is based on my work that is already publicly accessible via my tweets, Gradient Lair, Drift Sojourn, Cinemacked etc. This is for all patrons as well as for the general public: Public Post #02 - 10 Tips For Being Helpful After A Natural Disaster. I absolutely needed to write this particular piece because the hell I dealt with online before, during and after hurricane Irma was utterly unbearable and I see people engaging in terrible ways and calling it "activism." Yeah...nope.
I met one of my goals already, reaching 100 patrons, and with the second goal I am at 388/500 patrons. My end of the month review post goes into more detail: Review - September 2017.
Earlier this year, I decided to start using my @GradientLair Twitter account again (after I closed the blog in October 2015, after 3.5 years of publishing) to repost #classicGradientLair essays and posts. This is writing that may not be included in the future subject-specific anthologies, but writing that is still meaningful to me. I did not work on the anthologies in September though, since my focus was on continuing to build Patreon and some other projects, not to mention the hell I went through with the hurricane. However, I will be back at it in October-December. Hopefully I can get the first of the anthologies out before December ends, but again, I do not force deadlines on myself anymore. That is not the life for me.
In September I published a thread for National Poetry Day (September 28th) via @GradientLair, which includes quotes that I originally published on Gradient Lair when it was live. I also published a thread with some history of #GiveYourMoneyToWomen (citing the creators, as people are obsessed with erasing its impact over time, just as they do with my work on "misogynoir" and more).
I did not publish any new posts to Drift Sojourn blog in September, but I did post some photography-related content on Patreon in both August and September. I did publish new photographs on my Instagram profile, however. I did not use Snapchat a lot in September but I did share nature iPhone wallpapers (that I turned into Patreon downloads for patrons), dessert plates and my budding cookbook collection via @driftsojourn.
i made some yummy spicy wings earlier in the month as one of my "this will taste good cold once the power goes out from the hurricane" foods. ••• hurricane irma in south florida was awful. while i was lucky enough not to experience flooding, structural damage or major physical injury (and my fam/friends ok too), it was hell without air in 90°+ heat, no electricity/internet to do work (i don't have "vacation pay" as an indie creator lol), expensive af, and taxing on my mental health. whew. ••• life is back to "normal" for me now, though the costs and stress leave an imprint long after the calm. i'm here tho. made it. ••• #macro #chicken #wings #hotwings #spicy #hurricaneirma #dinner #foodphotographer #canon
i absolutely love these four tiny beautiful dishes that i got as one of my awesome birthday gifts recently. they're too cute. i didn't want to cover the whole design (they're 6.5") so i figured just a small dessert of homemade whipped cream with berries and confectioners sugar would work for this. i've mentioned before i usually thrift for cute dinnerware but i definitely love nice gift ones and occasionally i'll get new ones too. ••• #dinnerware #art #whippedcream #strawberries #blueberry #fruit #dessert #foodphotographer #canon
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. Although June is Pride Month, my free Pride Month iPhone wallpaper is available in Publications year round.
My upcoming fourth photography eBook is still in progress, but I am on a break from working on it. I completed all of my 2017 design updates for Drift Sojourn earlier in the year with the exception of the portfolio update.
I published the following on Cinemacked blog in September: 3 New To Netflix Selections - September 2017. On @Cinemacked, in addition to the general media news retweets and original opinions/critiques that I post (i.e. on race, gender and pay), I did a tweeted review of the film Spider-Man: Homecoming and live tweets of the 69th annual Emmy Awards and VH1 Hip Hop Honors; on Patreon I published Memories and Magic: Thoughts About The VH1 Hip Hop Honors and 90s Music Love, where I expand on my thoughts from the live tweet.
Fall television shows returned in September. I did live tweets of the series premiere of Star Trek: Discovery (though I dropped the show for now since CBS is being annoying with no cable access to the show) and returning favorites including How To Get Away With Murder and Designated Survivor. I keep an updated TweetDeck collection of all of my essays and other posts from Cinemacked blog once I tweet them, for easy access from Twitter. My TV Roster is updated with the shows that I currently discuss on Cinemacked.
Earlier this year I mentioned that I am more interested in using Instagram in combination with Patreon and moving away from Twitter unless for professional use. I heavily reduced my Twitter use in August, but unfortunately had to use Twitter more in September due to the hurricane. While I had to deal with hell, as usual, when using my hypervisible personal Twitter account, I was glad to share information to help people suffering from the effects of the recent natural disasters. Additionally, I published threads addressing Maria Sharapova's misogynoir towards Serena Williams, how sexism impacts consumption, and on natural disasters and erasure. I also participated in the #BlackGirlBlueLipstick hashtag; something fun and light.
Earlier in 2017, I created a new personal Instagram profile; the new personal one is instagram.com/thetrudz. (For my primary photographic work it is instagram.com/driftsojourn.) I have started adding some of my personal work beyond self-portraits and different from my professional food photography work on Drift Sojourn.
yay! my vinyl edition of lemonade arrived a few days ago. it comes with a little photo book too (different from the heavier hardback collectors' book; didn't get that for now). now i have 3 of her albums on vinyl, which i shared in instagram stories earlier in the week. now i can be obnoxious and play them all on her birthday on 9/4 lol. i love lemonade so much; previously shared snippets of my tweets/writing on the visual album; re-included some here.☺️🐝🍋 ••• #beyonce #virgo #lemonade #vinyl #music #art #writing #writers #womanism #blackfeminism #canon
I am still working on 2 short publications (projects outside of the Gradient Lair anthology work and my photography eBooks), which I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts. One of them is now tied to a Patreon goal, or something to publish once I reach 100 patrons. As I mentioned above, I crossed the 100 patron goal in August (actually within the first 24 hours of my Patreon launch), so I am working on the corresponding goal project.
I published a very lengthy piece here because I am fed the fuck up with some terrible social media behavior: 8 Reasons Why I Do Not Need Unsolicited Advice and Suggestions For My Work. I really need people who do not have the consent nor the range to back up off my work. This has heightened since I launched Patreon. It is as if people can no longer unsee who I actually am and what I actually do and some have really lost their shit. So many people who followed me for years prior to Patreon, and without much drama, have now become paternalistic, ableist and toxic. It is as if they wrote me off as "untalented" and "not smart" and Patreon above anything else made their short-sighted "analyses" on me null and void. It has been an interesting two months, I must say, on top of the ongoing ridiculousness that I have always dealt with in social media, as unsolicited advice and worse have always been a problem. Some people are behaving resentfully and damn near shook over fucking Patreon? Jesus.
I will spend the early part of October only working part time and trying to rest more to get my mental health together a bit after the hurricane and after a mostly terrible month of having to use Twitter more in September than in August. Like I said earlier in the year, whether I work little or a lot, I do not do the kind of work in the kind of context where I will be getting rich. So I might as well rest. September was a setback, financially and mental health-wise, but sometimes I need more rest and more of a break, not less, and not under duress, to feel better and to thereby work better. I am interested in feeling and being better.