The dry paper hand is back with two small GIFs I made for you today. I am very happy because I welcomed my nephew over the weekend. It was also my birthday so the gif(t) bags are not random.
I find the TV scroll below oddly relaxing. It is also a great throwback to the good old days when people sat in front of square boxes. I hope you enjoy playing on Photo Mosh. I really enjoyed creating this installation.
On Sunday, I was experimenting with some design ideas and on Monday, I wondered what would happen if I glitched out some images. The software is stable but the file sizes are about 20MB for the GIFs. It’s necessary to compress them. The “Glitched TV” above is 7MB and “Warped thinking”, below, was shrunk to 10MB.
You will not get uniform results for every single kind of image. And though the video files are super heavy, the software I used doesn’t render jpg images large enough to print on a 16″ x 24″ poster. I need a workaround.
Hope you enjoyed the bursts of colour and the weird lines as much as I do.
Updated and edited: 2021.04.08. Thank you for viewing.
Happy Sunday to everyone reading this. (You might want to grab some popcorn.)
A few weeks ago, I started what should have been a wonderful collaboration with a marketing specialist. I asked a lot of questions to minimise errors. But when the invoice arrived, it seemed someone had used their elbow on the “zero” on a keyboard.
They were asking for the equivalent of 1/3 of my annual salary to do niche research, marketing, and advertising. No samples had been produced, no dry runs executed, nor analytics presented. Which means that in exchange for absolutely nothing, I would be working to keep them in Burberry and Dolce.
One more test cover and two T-shirt designs
To end the negotiations, I sacrificed my catalog of designs. I told them to sell it all themselves. If they are good as they claim, they should be raking in the cash right now.
If you were me for the past month, you would have discovered some startling truths about advertising firms. Traffic, views and clicks can be purchased, and “stats” can be spun out of whole cloth. I now make sure that I negotiate for “my best outcomes” and ignore their “best efforts”.
If effort alone were enough, each person reading this would be worth billions. Based on effort alone, it might be easy for all of us to set up shop as advertisers. Simply collect fee$ and promise to show your clients’ work to everyone. Then, pack yourself a nice sandwich, a smoothie, a bottle of water, and a muffin. Drive yourself down to the bay and have a picnic. Then, when clients complain that they have no traffic or sales, gaslight them and say they need to spend more money.
I guarantee that with this work ethic, you too will become a successful advertising executive in no time at all.
Here’s hoping that you have a productive week ahead.
Does anyone remember who said, “Follow your joy”? I think this quote is popular because everyone can imagine feeling happy at the final stage of a project. Recently, I told Caring for Art that my nightmares have become work product. I was not exaggerating. Public speakers will never tell you that you must hard work to find the thing to which you can happily commit. If they told you to face reality, nobody would pay them $50,000 to talk about themselves for 30 minutes.
And because I know that the truth is hard to hear, I feel confident that no-one will copy my secret formula, which I am going to share in this post. This is my recipe for staying committed and focused on the way to finding joy. First read it, then scroll down for a taste test.
🧁 Commitment Cupcake 🧁
Ingredients Absolutely everything real about you right now.
Write down every idea you have but stay loosely attached.
Seek advice from qualified experts.
Listen to advice and evaluate for quality.
Search for useful ideas in negative feedback.
Be assertive but never argue, no matter what.
Lose fixation on irrelevant details.
Shut down anyone who attempts to devalue you.
Transfer your idea from a “hard” medium to a “soft” one.
Follow up on each new idea (see item 1).
Table, pin, or expunge unworkable ideas.
Shred your lists.
Keep at it.
The taste test – Covers only Item 8 became especially important this week when my plans came to a full stop. And though I was feeling isolated and trapped, I decided to shred everything and start over.
One of many ideas I had written down was “launch a magazine”. However, I threw it out because there are billions of writers, millions of magazines, and only a handful of subscribers.
From that, I imagined what it would be like for a young writer to dream of launching a magazine only to hit roadblock after roadblock. How would this writer solve these problems? The answers to that question became the treatment for a writing project. My preferred medium for presenting that story is a “hard” one, so I pinned it for later.
The transfer to a “soft” medium was a frictionless fusion of my interests. After careful research, I did some math: photography + fashion + world cultures + health + making stuff up + graphic design = a concept that I really like.
That is to say, I will only produce the covers. I’ve posted two test copies for you and I hope you like them.
Today is the third day of the third month of the third year of the reign of the Emperor Reiwa. 3-3-3 is an auspicious day and as it was all over the news, I thought I would publish a post on this occasion for readers who love numerology.
Fun story. When His Imperial Majesty was Crown Prince (kou-taishi-denka) I was in the same banquet hall with him and that now disgraced CEO who was smuggled out of Tokyo into Beirut in a double bass case. I was, however, introduced to his brother and sister-in-law when I was an undergraduate. The mother of the future Emperor tripped and almost fell on top of me.
We were warned before the meeting not to touch them but had she fallen, she would’ve dinged her face very badly. Much to my relief, she caught her balance.
Oh yes, those were the days when people would ask me why in the holy muck was I studying a language with a writing system that looked like algebra and calculus got handsy with each other at a bar.
Perhaps I should stop being rebellious because I’m a grown-up now. But I feel inspired when someone tells me I can’t do something that’s lawful, perfectly doable and really fun to do. My ancestors martyred themselves to get shackles taken off and I am supposed to do what now? Be boring and bored. I cannot do it.
On Saturday afternoon, I was waiting to take down an art exhibition and while I was waiting in the car, I decided to pull an Oracle card. I bought them because they’ve got a matte velvety finish and the gold inlay looks pretty. I could not for the life of me understand what it was trying to say.
Hello everyone. Are you enjoying your Sunday? I have been at my “home” office all day. I am chuckling at the moment, because when I was searching my phone’s image library, I noticed that photo from yesterday and suddenly, my entire Sunday makes sense. This, for once, is not a rant.
I’ve had the most insane day. I had a vague project deadline circa now: Thirty episodes for a Japanese/English animated series. Sounds fun, right? Except, the criteria changed three hours before I submitted the scripts for TEN episodes.
There is a budget issue. “Smaller budget: remove characters.” So I asked three friends to help me out of a jam. Halfway through, when I presented a snippet of the draft, the graphic artist/animator demanded I write the script for the trailer first.
Now, the reason his company hired me was that the project team was led by a talented graphic designer and animator who was not a writer. Because I understood that, I explained to him that the writing process is not linear. One never starts with the summary. It appears that way because that’s how a story is presented to us. But you can start in the middle and work your way backwards or forwards. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’re all writers.
And of course, I might be the most non-linear writer of them all. I was giggling because he probably thought I was being unreasonable.
I say, “Should we have notes on the first ten episodes and then write the trailer script, which will happen very fast because we will know what the story is all about?” Doesn’t budge.
That’s how four of us were at one point editing the same sentence at the same time. I would like to give a special big up to Google Docs for facilitating that. When we were all finally done tweaking the scripts, the graphic artist texted, “I’ll take a look in two hours because I am going out.”
What?! It’s 7 past 22 o’clock (two hours later) and he wants to have a meeting at 23 o’clock. I, on the other hand, will be going to bed.
Hello everyone, I went and did another thing. Sabiscuit’s Catalog is now Saint Joan, a creative studio which will be work and/or play. It is evolving. Welcome, in every language.
But, to be clear, I have done several things. One was to set my blog to private after WordPress said they were going to publish posts from other bloggers here. It was going to be a matter of time before some antisocial idiot ended up next to my art work.
During the break, I was writing a lot of scenes for my upcoming creative project. While doing some research on a character, I went so far down the digital rabbit hole, that when I shook myself awake, it was a brand new year.
Don’t get me started on what has happened already. I left you alone for three months and you bring dogecoin back? Not to mention, amid the mayhem on Wall Street, Demi Moore managed to break the Internet. This tells you that star power is real. Because, let’s be honest, how many of you wear $600 Fendi tights?
Miraculously, after eight frustrating months, WordPress has finally allowed me to upgrade to my own domain. I am grateful for the buffer of time. This domain, saintjoan.studio, is named for the Congregation of St. Joan, an orthodox religion I created for my first novel, The Quarter Percent. It was referenced only once in the final chapter. However, a breakaway sect called St. Joan’s Parish is featured in the next novel. Special thanks go to Draculauren for interviewing me about both projects last year. It was a fun experience.
After brainstorming ideas, I thought the church needed a governing body that behaved like it was running a global sportswear brand. When I thought of the outrage this concept would induce, I decided to bring the Blessed Lady into this timeline.
Presented with love and gratitude. Poem “Ascension/Bring me higher” was written by me. Big ups to my homey, the 9th century poet, Cynewulf. My poem is inspired by his awesome work, Christ II.Images are from Tokyo Fashion Edge Magazine Volume 35, September 2019, with an overlay of handwritten runic and English scripts in watercolour. Have a healing week ahead.
This morning, I received a surprise gift: A box of rose-shaped cookies from a Tokyo patisserie called Tulip Rose. I can’t have the cookies because I’m gluten intolerant, so I took photos before giving them away.
The illustrations are from individually-wrapped drip coffee sachets. I received four from a colleague who found them while hunting for coffee deals on Amazon. I have had three so far. (When I say I have coffee, I mean a milk substitute, cream, sugar, and coffee as a flavour).
I kept the packaging in case I could create some yummy photo art. The moment has arrived, the coffee brand is called Tasogare, and the beans are from Ethiopia and Brazil.
Thank you for your support so far. Please enjoy the cookies with your beverage of choice, a warm hug from me, and best wishes for the months ahead.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I was writing a coronation scene for a new novel. The story is set in 2033, and unfolds in the same universe as The Quarter Percent. We follow events from three perspectives. One belongs to Sebastian, who happens to be a nephew of Cordial’s.
Still drafting, but I know how the story ends. In the very last scene, after a bombshell revelation the previous evening, a hush falls over the nation on Coronation Day. The new monarch is Sebastian’s bestie, 35-year-old Carroll. In this draft of the story, Carroll’s father is still alive, so the proclamation of accession has to take place at the coronation.
By this point in the story, we have eavesdropped on meetings and know that the coronation will be stripped of pomp and pageantry. Sebastian has been asked to whittle down the government’s expenditure on the ceremony to mere shillings. The ceremony is a reckoning with the public which, after a display of hubris, has completely lost face. Nonetheless, the ordeal has been humiliating for Carroll.
Note: This post was originally intended for publication on this date, 09/20, but I moved it up a week. I moved it back here to make way for a different post. Thank you for your attention, as always. Header image: Izrael Poznanski Palace in Lodz, Poland, by Jacques Bopp, via Unsplash. Concept art: “Accession proclamation for King Carroll”, Posca watercolour pens, and Pilot Juice metallic ink on matte/glossy magazine paper.
My addiction of choice is your past. Its powerful spell makes me anxious, creates a tension that is so deep. You are cocky and terrific. Grinding right there is the hardest thing in the world. But your stuff was beautiful and the consummation was a thing of enchantment. I genuflect under control.
The second half makes me want to get squelched so fast into several pews. The three-part thing was so spontaneous. You are a pretty raw wonder. You did something really special with your stick. Took a minute for it to sink in. Just love to picture it.
How beautiful to know it all works inside me. Truthfully, strong man, morality is all stupidity and foolishness. I think I’m pouting, yet taking it painfully is humbling.
Always, Psycho Fan
The comments remind me of a time when humans had a sense of humour and understood sarcasm. Originally published May 25, 2015. Image by Diana Vartanova via Unsplash.
P.S. Still unable to see any notifications for this post five hours after posting. Please leave a comment so I can holler at you.
My novel has been released into the wild, and I should be celebrating, but I am back on the Ferris wheel. I finally understand why some writers don’t even try. The book promotion game is not necessarily about self-confidence, diligence, originality, or skill. What happened?
Friday, July 31, 06:20. I am on an influencer’s website binge-reading suggested articles. In twelve hours, it will dawn on me that this is an elaborate scheme to drive up page views and create demand for her services.
Only an hour after expressing my confusion with her process, I see two blog posts demonstrating the effectiveness of promoting free books for a limited time. They presented statistics, and graphs, as well as screen captures. My plan should work fine, but the influencer insists that people will never download a free copy of a book unless it has at least ONE five-star review on Amazon.
Keep calm, I get it: readers want to know what to expect, and they want to hear it from another reader. I completely agree. This is why I’m doing the promotion in the first place.
The influencer now advises me to get on social media and spend literally hundreds of hours tweeting and emailing strangers to ask them to read and review a free copy of my book. This contradicts her assertion that people won’t download my book unless it has reviews already.
I go back to the first message I sent her. Sure enough, in my pitch, there is a longer description and a link to the trailer. There is also an invitation to download a free copy when the promotion starts. It takes me a full day to realise that “books with five-star reviews on Amazon” was code for “don’t wanna read it.”
Her next suggestion is that I pay almost US$900 to an elite online book club in exchange for a single honest review by a team, on their website, a process that could take seven weeks.
I need to get off this Ferris wheel. I am told that I can’t promote my book without reviews, and that I won’t get reviews if I don’t promote my book. I stop reading, and in a panic, compose an email to my publisher.
Paperback format available soon. Big ups to my publisher, StelaEVF, for making this possible. Thank you, everyone, for your support.
Indonesian artist, Poelosophy, created some concept art for my novel. There is an exhibit in Dublin, ‘North to South’, which features aboriginal artfromNorthern Europe and South America. The exhibit is the setting for a scene entitled ‘Big Daddy Pharma’.
Thank you for leaving encouraging words for me when I wrote about the impossible task of getting promotional work done. I’m still processing ideas and will be working on them as I go. Feeling like giving up is part of the journey. But I was amused at suggestions that I should actually toss my project. Hold on a second. I haven’t tried everything yet.
And I am quite sure that if someone were to lend me their celebrity friends and let me slobber all over them in the club, my novel would get downloaded really fast. A Russian woman who pretended to be a German heiress, and stole millions, has deals with Netflix and Shonda Rhimes. Other people, who look different, would be rotting, anonymously, in jail. So let’s be realistic about what’s going on out here.
In the past, I would have been totally destroyed by “delete your book” remarks. But Fifty Shades fan fiction 365 Days was optioned by Netflix. The film skyrocketed to first place last weekend. It tells the story of a gangster who kidnaps a woman, ties her up, and assaults her for an entire year so she will fall in love with him. Even the people who said they hated it, watched it to the end, and uploaded reviews to their YouTube channels. In other words, the release was a success.
If that film is out there, it means two things. One, thinking in terms of ‘good writing’ or ‘bad writing’ is unhelpful. Two, the universe now needs to be balanced, so I will be publishing my novel.
Perceived quality is not a metric that can be influenced by hand-wringing. Instead of telling people what they should/shouldn’t like, I should focus on finding (a) people who will read anything, (b) people who like everything they read, (c) people who like to read full-length novels on mobile devices and (d) people who collect ebooks.
As I have discussed before, my amazing book promotion campaign fell flat because everyone I approached wanted me to be a popular author before agreeing to help me promote my book. Gah!
Over the weekend, I decided to beta test the promotion of a promotional copy of my novel, The Quarter Percent. After receiving a copy formatted for Kindle from the book designer, I wanted to see how a free PDF copy would be received by an influencer who has a large audience of avid e-book readers. This person’s audience only wants fiction books that are FREE or which cost $0.99. Perfect for a beta test? Or so I thought.
After three days of discussions, I was floored when this influencer insisted, today, that the book be published to Amazon first. He also asked me, “But how will you benefit from people reading it?” I am confused. Isn’t the point of publishing a novel to have people read it?
In other words, his audience is not interested in books that are cheap or free. They want popular releases for free or at a super discount. Yet, the advice I have received is to give away promotional copies of my novel to generate buzz. That makes no sense, you say? Large film studios deal with this nonsense, too. That is why they leak promotional copies of new releases to torrent sites.
My confusion arises from the fact that official publication on Amazon defeats the purpose of beta testing the novel with readers in different locations, and watching how they respond to it. I need this information so I can know how and where to promote the story. What I don’t want is readers who are not the intended audience to write reviews on the Amazon page complaining that the novel has words and that the themes are ‘difficult’.
I used to joke that I am an alien from outer space. But I am beginning to believe that either I stepped into a wormhole and this is the underverse, or the inhabitants of this planet are insane.
In the first scene of the final chapter, Gala and the First Minister of Velour are in the crypt of Ruby Palace. On screen is a replay of the ‘fall of the house of Moss’. At a prestigious awards ceremony, in front of the crowned heads of the Continent, Mrs. Moss spills the dirt on the Continent’s aristocrats. Gala explains that it is her system of interpersonal sabotage.
In the epilogue, one of the characters receives an invitation card on his breakfast tray. The card is written in Morse. He presses it to the screen of his tablet to translate the message.
Christian fell out of the wormhole and landed flat on his back. Overhead, his hovercraft exploded. The blast appeared to freeze as it was swallowed up by the singularity.
Within moments, shortwave radiation activated his solar plexus. The nerve endings shocked his heart into rhythm, and his lungs billowed open. His first breath was a revelation. Air, in three-dimensional space, tasted sweet and astringent.
The first light of that morning prized open his pupils and flooded his eyes, enabling him to see his surroundings. He convulsed, fingers scraping at the ground, as his brain recalibrated itself. A phalanx of trees looked him over. Their leaves nodded lazily as they cast off the raindrops that weighted them down.
As a comic book hero, Christian’s circumstances were limited by whatever someone else decided to print.
“I can’t live to my fullest potential acting out roles others are scripting for me.”
An illustrator had scribbled those words near Christian’s mouth. They were cruel and ironic.
“There are advantages,” Christian thought, while battling a Bandroid in volume 91, on page 316. “My victory is guaranteed.”
Eight pages later, he changed his mind. “Please someone,” he pleaded, “write me a way out of here.”
On page 326, someone drew him into our cryptic universe. That was how he found himself stretched out on the eastern bank of the Ganges, dreaming of a strawberry sea.