On Top of It #14 by Lisa Martens

I’ve been working two jobs, trying to heal myself with Reiki, eating low carb, and pumping myself full of positive thoughts. It’s that kind of 2016. I’m filled with that hopeful optimism that comes with the idea of a fresh start–quite like writers starting a new book.

But, just like a writer starting a new book, I’ve been taking myself too seriously . . . until the snow forced me to cancel my plans and engage in Netflix and chill with two friends and an Afghani man I met at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

So thank you, Jonas, for reintroducing spontaneity in my life, as well as pizza delivery.

And, of course, Jonas gave me time to write . . . once I got back home and showered. My main character, Sandra, sells her artwork online and finds her art changing due to the demands of the Internet:

Deborah sold handmade soaps on CustomCraft. She had shown me photos of her garage where she sliced sheets of soap into bars, then slid each one into a small box. It was in her “Process Section.” I had about three paragraphs of text in my Process Section, and no photos:


People like seeing pictures. I just make them really bright

I have some apps on my phone

just brighten and highlight everything and up the saturation

make colors pop


People actually like that?

They want to see pictures




I mean it seems silly

But my sales have gone way up

since i improved my process section


oh okay


i guess i just thought the art would sell itself? haha


I know I was hoping the same about my soaps. I put so much work into them, making sure all the products are organic and locally sourced. And people like that, sure, but throwing on some lipstick and surrounding myself with soap and taking a selfie is so much more effective

sad to say

that’s what people respond to.

I kind of hate it. Hate how much what I do has turned into marketing.

I was a little worried about what the Internet was doing to my art. I could afford to pay less attention to detail because, instead of being displayed on a wall in a museum, my paintings were shrunken down and slapped on the back of a phone cover. Recently, my creations had started to adopt the qualities of a meme. A blue sky with puffy clouds, “Be My Bitch” written in cursive in the center of it all.

Sandra is also renting rooms of her house out, and runs into legal issues with one of her tenants. But I’m not going to give it all away just yet.

Continue not taking yourselves too seriously. Love you.


Lisa Martens

Lisa Martens (Episode 22) currently lives in Harlem. In her past 10 years in New York, she has lived in a garage on Long Island, a living room in Hell’s Kitchen, the architecture building of CCNY, and on the couch of a startup. She grew up in New York, Costa Rica and Texas, and she’s still not sure which of these is home. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing from CCNY. Her thesis, What Grows in Heavy Rain, is available on Amazon. Check out her website here. Follow her on Instagram here.