Intro Greetings everyone, and happy Thursday because I have another guest post for you. Yesterday, February 23, was the Emperor Reiwa’s birthday and a national holiday. And I thought, what would it be like to spend 12 hours cohosting a Twitter Space for artists? Starting at 11:00 JST, I did just that. The energy in the space was warm, vibrant, and supportive. Because of that, I felt revived after three long weeks of burnout and autoimmune flareups.
One of our guests in the fourth hour was artist and community activist named Ron Schippert. As I listened to his story, I knew you would warmly welcome him here. Please read his story, and enjoy the cute Jelly Dood characters he created for a worthy cause. Thank you.
Hello everyone, my name is Ron Schippert and I am a 45-year-old artist from Pennsylvania, USA. I am an addict in recovery and I celebrated 10 years clean on February 10. At an early age, I never felt like I fit in anywhere, whether at school, sports or just outside playing. As years went by and I got older, I turned to other substances to feel like I belonged. In reality, I was walking down a path of self-destruction. After spending years in and out of hospitals, detox clinics, psych wards, and rehabilitation centers, I decided to go into treatment one last time. I had no idea what the future would hold. That day, February 10, 2012, marked the day of my rebirth.
After completing full treatment, I moved to South Florida. There, in the early days of my recovery, I felt a strong desire to help others who were struggling with addiction. That meant spending sleepless nights sitting in waiting rooms, and driving people to detox clinics or hospitals. Doing something to help others made me feel whole again. Because of that, I continued my work with recovering addicts. I have supported hundreds of addicts as they got clean but unfortunately, some of my friends did not make it. In spite of that, I am committed to doing whatever I can to help.
Even today, ten clean years later, I still see the many obstacles that recovering addicts face with health insurance or finances. There should never be a reason for someone to be refused the help that they need. This is why I have created a fundraising project using non-fungible tokens. The artwork is called Jelly Doods NFT. Proceeds from sales of these tokens are used to pay for addiction treatment for people who cannot afford it.
And why did I choose art? Ever since I was young, art has helped me settle my mind and feel all right with myself. Making art takes me to a place of peace and serenity. This is the purpose of the Jelly Doods characters. They are simple, fun characters created to bring a smile to your face. If this project can help one more person receive treatment for substance abuse, then it will have served its purpose.
In life, I have only a few passions. Art has remained number one because it is something that I do for others. And my dearest wish is to use my art to give someone their life back. I live by the motto, “I can only keep what I have by giving it away.” And I give you Jelly Doods.
Outro Thank you everyone for reading this presentation and for viewing this gallery of art. Ron may be reached on socials at the links below. Please be sure to follow him. I imagine that you were sending him your positive thoughts of appreciation while you were reading. I know that Ron appreciates the support you have given him with your attention today. Thank you.
I am waiting to hear more words. Certainly, she had a working vocabulary and used them to acquire her fancy credentials. Over fifteen thousand followers on social media as a filmmaker, public speaker, and academic who barely speaks. What was her magic formula? I needed to retrieve that algorithm and save myself hours socialising online each week.
I had never heard her speak in more than three full sentences in the two months that I had known her. In my memory, her voice is a deep vocal fry of utterances that I cannot spell out. My brain is trying to make sense of what sounds like a guttural “ghehaaaaa” strummed on a loose D string.
A split second after I decided to leave the space, I noticed a name floating below an avatar. I hopped back in immediately because a few days earlier, she had told me and sixty others that he was her boyfriend. Actually, all she said was, “Lyyyyyyyke, uhhhhm … weeee … him … aaaah.” We grasped the situation when he said, “She’s the wife.”
Scrolling through his media folder, I soon discovered that he was a blond dude bro covered in tattoos. He looked young enough to be her son. He had an alien face for a head, which was fine, but the croaking sounds he was making left me wondering how their relationship got started in the first place.
“… was supposed to fly out to see her this Thursday, but the sex dungeon is closed,” I heard him wailing to the host.
“I didn’t saaaaay you couldn’t caaaaaahm,” she fried, nasally. That was the second full sentence I had ever heard from her.
I waited to hear more words but I gave up and left after fifteen excruciating minutes of silence punctuated by croaking sounds and vocal fries.
The next morning, I learned why a cohost’s microphone was muted. I read his messages to her in the screen capture she sent me, and I understood that he was doing something with his dominant hand.
“No,” I thought. “How was that possible while her boyfriend was sat there talking to them?” But before I could ask any more questions, she sent me a fresh message.
“Holy shit,” it read, “That hot guy you were talking to the other night? His body is like wow. He’s in a room with me now.”
“You should say hello,” I offered. I was still somewhat confused. And I would learn later that the hot guy was married and that his wife was newly pregnant.
“Oh, I already messaged him,” read her smug response. And I was gobsmacked. But what else should I expect from a thirsty girl?
Intro: I remember meeting Luchong in Twitter Spaces a few months ago. Not long after meeting more of her friends, I decided to post an African artists’ showcase here on Saint Joan Creative Studio. I remember receiving a very excited note when she noticed I plugged her photo into the post. Today, I call her “boss” because she is a verified blockchain diva. Her Thea Collection is the 7th highest trending collection on Open Sea as of late December, 2021.
Open Sea is the biggest platform for NFTs. The platform has reached a trade volume of over US$720 million in the past three days alone (January 3 ~ 6), so imagine the scale of her achievement. Trending is not easy for any artist. Hers is a phenomenal achievement due to her talent, bubbly personality, and the support of established artists around her. Congrats, boss. And now, let us hear from our muse.
Hi, I’m Luchong, a 20-year-old digital artist from Nigeria and the creator of the Thea Collection of art which is available on Open Sea. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
Where do I start? Last year, 2021, was definitely a wild and interesting year for me. Although it didn’t quite start out on a good note, it ended in a very beautiful way, and for that, I am thankful.
I joined the NFT community in September, 2021 and it has been a life-changing experience for me. This is because of the community and friends I have made here. The community is something I am extremely thankful for because I have found the unity and support I really needed in my life. The best way to describe it is to say that I finally feel like I have found my place and my family. I am happier today than I have been in a while.
The NFT community space has made a huge impact on my life and I say that because I have seen so much growth and improvement in myself and my art. I consider this community to be a true blessing. I am especially thankful for my collectors, specifically my first collectors, those who found me and fell in love with my art, those who believed in me and my art. I am especially grateful to Prince Ude, NFT Lover, Lord Olu, Kel Savage and Bolusowe. Their love and support have been unreal and I am extremely grateful for them all.
Looking forward to 2022, I can say that I am happy and excited for the year ahead because there are a number of things I want to achieve during the course of this year. First is that I want to grow and evolve so much as an artist. I want my art to reach more people and evoke emotions in them. I want my art to effectively communicate my feelings to people and I want more people to truly resonate with my work. I also intend to dabble in 3D art and more traditional forms of painting. My passion for art increased so much this year, I am grateful and excited to create more.
May I mention a few brilliant artists I intend to collaborate with in future? You may have heard of Kel Savage, Torera, Freddie Jacob, Pascal Okafor and Design with MJ. If you haven’t, please get to know them. They are amazing.
And I guess that’s a wrap. I have a really positive feeling about 2022 and I feel this will be my best year yet. I am thrilled to start the year with this newfound drive and love for art.
Outro: Hello everyone, I am fine artist and author Lily Nicole, and as you can see I am back from a very long break. My domain was renewed automatically (thanks WordPress) and Saint Joan Creative Studio is alive and well. Let us pretend that thing you never saw didn’t happen.
Recently collected is the spectacular nonfungible token from Keith Allen Phillips on Hic et Nunc. The blurb reads, “Sylva and Tee – Nightmare. If you wake up to this at the end of your bed, do you run or do you stay? This is Sylva Hattington with Tee Marie modeling some of Sylva’s amazing creations.”
Will be checking my stats in about six hours to find out exactly how many eyeballs were clapped on this image, all 7MB of it. If you thought your eyes were going to fall out, wait until you see the rest of Keith’s collection. (Don’t look.)
And if you want to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I was drawn to the portraits because of the headdresses. I love headdresses and finding out these were designed by a woman made this token a must-have. Maybe it’s because I’m such an introvert and I need a shell in which to retreat.
Then, collected last Sunday, was Tea Time by Thai artist GIMME because I have a thing for skulls carved out of crystals. The artist was featured in an earlier post on 3D NFT artists. I thought that nothing could make them scream, but they freaked out when I told them I was going to collect this token.
Now, if you want a nightmare story for Halloween, it should be about my dysfunctional love life. Without making a confession of any sort, I’ll give you the rundown as if it were the treatment for a work of fiction.
The story goes, a woman who looks disturbingly young for her age has run away from her gilded cage where she is being courted by dozens and dozens of extremely handsome suitors. As night draws near, she stumbles upon a tower at the edge of her world. The steward of the tower is a monk who has lived there, alone, for nearly thirty years. Seeing an opportunity to have all of his knowledge recorded, he seduces the woman with a promise to share his ultimate secret.
In exchange, she must work with him to write down every miracle he has ever performed. The woman agrees because she is in love. And as she studies his alchemy, she suspects that his insights are pedantic filler. His proclaimed power over the material world could be the stuff of fantasy. In order to save herself, she embarks on a search for her true soulmate. Does he exist, and will she find him in time?
Where seconds before, castanets were rapping their clat-ta-tat-tat, a deafening silence fell on the host of avatars in the room. Friendly banter was interrupted, a question went unanswered, and earphones were unplugged from devices to broadcast the newest tirade over speakers. Someone in Brussels unwrapped a lunch sandwich and listened in.
Gloria was in the room. This morning, she presented with glossy grey locks, which billowed in a nonexistent breeze. Her flawless, peaches-and-cream skin was buffed to a high shine. But that was not why everyone was squinting at their screens. They were accustomed to seeing a dark-haired vixen in a slice of underwear, sat with her knees exactly fifty centimetres apart. (Someone attempted the pose at home.) Today, everything, including her shoulders and most of her neck, was covered.
A stream of pings followed. “Everyone, get in here. Gloria is wearing clothes.”
Master had stopped the castanets mid-clat to croak at the host of avatars, “Reverence! Gloria is having a bad day.”
“And today’s crisis is…?” thought everyone. And they waited to find out. In New York, a spoonful of breakfast cereal was returned to a bowl. “What… exactly?”
A summary was sent in a backchannel. It read, “Dental emergency at the dentist, who has Wi-Fi, so Gloria can be here with us shortly before receiving treatment for the dental emergency, and then stay here with us, in fact, during the entire procedure, so we can be there for her.”
“Surely,” went one dictated response, “the care and feeding of her children comma who materialised out of thin air only last week comma should be the focus of concern question mark.”
After that update, volume buttons were pushed all the way down. But unable to see this, Master squeaked again. “Praise Gloria. Genuflect, you peasant scum!” No-one heard him. The rebellion had started.
Three hours later, Master punished everyone by giving Gloria his proxy. “Host the room for us, will you? For your teeth, dear.” A dubious honour it was, to be the doyen of disenchantment, dueña to disconnected souls.
So far, the new WordPress editor is driving me bonkers and is about to get slapped upside the head with my pimp hand after trying to stitch me up via Siri.
Warning! Rant …
I spent the last four days trying to delete my Instagram account, which I started four days ago. Before that, I was forced to shred my Twitter posts, all 202 of them and delete my account. Long story short, Twitter is Babylon.
I have sworn that I would never use Facebook products ever. I had to go back on my word because I’m not able to travel overseas this year.
Instagram’s software decided that my photos were professional-looking. I was prompted to upgrade to a professional account and pay for advertising. They then said that I needed a Facebook page (so they can mine my data and sell me ads). I declined because I wasn’t going to sell my artwork anyway, and their analytics are irrelevant. I was planning to post photos from my archives to establish some credentials. I wanted other artists to pay attention to me when I engaged with them. Instead, from the fourth post in, my photos started vanishing. Soon after, I was not allowed to react to stories, or comment on more than four consecutive posts. So I said, I’m done. Four days later, after several thwarted attempts, I finally did it.
I was miserable the whole time.
You have to understand, I study programming and machine learning so I know how algorithms work. I don’t believe that their algorithms are even-handed. Machine learning code requires human input and all of that “the algorithm changes constantly” nonsense you see in tech magazines, is shorthand for “our programmers are constantly re-drafting the code so that people who are not buying advertisements will feel compelled to do that”.
I had zero followers and was getting suppressed. It is a clear sign that Facebook exists to sell advertisements. They don’t cater to anyone who refuses to add to their bottom line. I don’t have access to their servers, so there is nothing I can do to change their policy to help myself.
Please do not ask me about all of the accounts I visited in stealth mode. Oh, I spied on everybody: neighbours all the way to my former teachers, classmates, childhood friends, crushes, crushes’ crushes, uni friends, colleagues. People are so nice when they don’t know it’s me commenting.
One of my cousins, who is a fashion designer, sent me a lovely welcome audio message to thank me for joining her army of fans. In real life, her husband banned her from talking to me because I told my cousin she should not allow her husband to name himself CEO of her multinational fashion brand, which she started on her own. He has no business training, mind you. He claims on his social media accounts that he is naturally better at business because he’s a dude and men are traditionally the provider. It’s a very long story – and you can read about it at that link.
I woke up on Sunday morning to a face full of the power couple in an Instagram live stream. Their marriage is amazing and perfect and stuff so they were cohosting a marriage counselling session with a very good-looking celebrity singer couple. I had to intervene after a guest complained that her man wasn’t ready to have children. She joked that her friend told her to take a sample of his you-know-what while he was sleeping. I quickly jumped in the chat to say that it was assault and battery. (If I had a partner kinda sorta joke that they would impregnate me in my sleep, there’d be no discussion about it: that would be the very end. Don’t say hi to me, get lost forever).
Of course the power couples ignored me. Because, they don’t have any knowledge about fundamental human rights. And why would they? They’re not really helping anyone, they’re building a brand.
Her face was fully inside his mouth when she realized that his hands had clamped her head in place. One of her eyeballs plopped out and dribbled along the teeth lining his lower jaw. As it settled into a jagged crater, the eyeball surveyed an astral grey amalgam of filling. A nerve ending in the retina swapped that image with the screenshot of a scene from Robocop. The tiny hairs in her nostrils weren’t quite so swayed. This was a human, and the tiny hairs proved it by enhancing the coffee stains and cigarette smoke emanating from his lungs.
Her right shoulder chipped in to help. Twisting to the left, it wrenched her face from his grip. Taking the hint, her left hand pulled open the door of her car. She had been standing with her back to it so she was able to slide in, gracefully, bottom first.
As she steered her car right, to exit the driveway, the man’s narrow body flattened out in her rearview mirror. His knees and elbows were still bent. His hands flopped down at the wrist. His tongue was stuck to the roof of his open mouth, as if he had been rudely interrupted, mid-hunt.
“Eat or be eaten” sustains the appetite for the short term. But human tribes, under threat, preemptively culled predatory populations (of animals and cannibals) so that they themselves could thrive. She wondered if this had happened to the dinosaurs before they went extinct.
Image: Lakshmana Temple depiction of couple kissing, dates back to 950 AD.
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.
I liked the idea, as it is a subtle way of asking to be introduced. Until another friend explained that she meant I should mislead witnesses with a padded bra.
While my friends discussed these details, I recalled three attention-grabbing techniques favoured by women Glampions. I’ve seen these tactics in sports: The Wedge, the Lob and the Shirt Pull. They are 100% shame free.
Wedge | When a woman is talking to a man you want like, wedge yourself into the conversation with a tango style pasada, and body block. Slowly caress his thigh with your thigh, à la Gisela.
Lobbing | Pretend to misunderstand information. Lob a series of pointed and penetrating statements at your rival’s pride. For example, Fantastic Bachelor says, “Ai, you look lovely this evening.” Ai says, “Sorry I’m late. I stopped for gas.” You respond, “Oh, no! Go home and get over your case of bad gas, that’s happening right now, at this moment. Remember? You mentioned it in la toilette yesterday!” Keep at it until she evaporates.
Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open
Photo courtesy Fansided
Shirt pulling | Pull up your shirt and expose your tummy, on which you’ve scribbled your phone number. This may cause Fantastic Bachelor’s brain to short circuit. If it does, he will text you over and over until he passes out.
Photo: London 2012 Olympics
All right. I’m not sure I’ll ever be 100% shame free. But the tango looks enticing. It is a contact sport and it has a very dressy uniform.
The Merry Widow looked weary this afternoon. Her minders took note as they unearthed her body from a trough of pink salt. People said she was well-preserved, meaning it as a compliment. They had no idea how literal that was.
Despite the attention on spa Wednesday, she felt hollow. A long walk outside would have helped but her sponsors forbade prolonged exposure to the sun. They shuttered her windows. They gave her books, soft lights and sweet music to keep her subdued.
From the walls of her bedroom, the covers of Life and Time mocked her. “Parasite of international society has zero net worth. Ha ha ha ha ha!” Sponsors fetched her every three weeks or so. They shoved her in front of cameras to promote various agendas. They fed her milk and farm fresh produce. Only enough, and the nurse made sure, to maintain her trim figure. When she was younger, she had been ruthless about looking petite. These days, she always felt a little hungry.
It is possible to succeed and fail miserably at the same time. She was a strong woman with more ambition than decorum. There were two lessons she hadn’t learned. One, do not offend the wrong people, starting with her sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. And two, when you reach your endgame, stop. The high profile fling was a ploy for social deference. Instead, she found herself serving the establishment for the rest of her life.
Photo credit: Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day, June 3, 1937. “Los Duques de Windsor, un amor que cambió el rumbo de la historia,” via Hola magazine.
Growing up in Nairobi, as a girl of Indian heritage, diversity has shaped my worldview. I have been in a nostalgic mood of late and, given recent tragic events, SB asked me to share my morning reflection with you.
While watching The Revenant last night, I noticed the treatment of the Native Americans in the film. I said to Mr. Meow that it is unfathomable that we, as a human race, seek to hate others based on differences.
We could go to land’s end and the hate would find us because there is always something that distinguishes one person from the other. What is more unbelievable is that the situation has changed little in the two hundred years since the film’s setting. Simply put, the hate stems from a sense of righteousness or superiority, whether you blame it on religion, ‘science’, politics or custom. I feel we must find a higher order of being instead of looking for problems where none exist.
At the moment, I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. In it, I explore the idea of diversity. The questions I contemplate are, “What is the alternative to diversity? Is it uniformity or conformity?” I wonder, is that the kind of world we want? Are we better off being cookie-cutter images of each other? Is that what would encourage acceptance?
If the defilers of diversity were confronted with the alternatives, would they reconsider their position? This is wishful. I concede I have no solutions.
This medical morning, for the King, started in a Vojda Space Cab. It surged through a private subterranean concourse, along a 500 km track, nonstop to Brussels. Technically, he was dead, long live the Queen.
Images of the plane wreckage were shared everywhere. The world sat down to look. “Surely, no one survived the impact,” agreed the comments.
Conspiracy theorists weren’t having it. They leaked reports of advanced stem cell research. They explained mitochondrial nanorepair kits. Available in portable spray cans, a generous spritz regenerates cells from the inside out. Over time, nanorobots rebuild nerves, blood vessels and tissue. Surgeons supervise them over WiFi.
Hours earlier, tributes labeled the monarch, “Guru of a pampered and oblivious sect.” But a news anchor tearfully reminded everyone that Lear was a single father. He’d done a great job, if his youngest daughter capsized the world’s oldest monarchy. When the forty second eulogy was over, the King became an icon of equality and fair play.
The conspiracy theories remained unbelieved until some atheists tweeted prayers. Minutes later, temples, synagogues, churches and mosques around the world were crammed with supporters.
“We forgive you,” pleaded the congregants. “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”
Washed in oils of honeysuckle and thyme, the crypt ushered her in with antiseptic strength. She asked after the King’s body. None of the responses congealed in her hearing. Phrases like, “legal property of Vojda Research Laboratories,” “insurers,” “exclusive” and “living will,” went over Goneril’s head as she faded to the floor.
She was shaking. “Hold me. To hell with protocol! I need to be held.” A minder enfolded her in his arms. From there, her eyes rested on the brushed silver canister that cradled her husband’s remains. His ashes muffled her distress.
“You mean,” she said, breaking through somehow, “my father is alive because he got better life insurance coverage?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” the Prime Minister said, “and until he has officially recovered, you are Queen, regnant.”
Photo credit: Schloss Belvedere, Wien/ Belvedere Castle, Vienna, courtesy Dominik Bartsch via Flickr. I was fortunate to find the amazing photography of Dominik Bartsch on Flickr. It is difficult to find images that bring the right ambience to a story. But I found everything I needed in one place.
Notes: This is a teaser for two short stories based on Shakespeare’s King Lear. They are here: Lear and Long Live the King!