The Writing Life

The Writing Life is a wonderful short video essay about the demands and rewards that come with the pursuit of writing as a vocation. The video is told through the films of Wes Anderson featuring clips from Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Hotel Chevalier, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The French Dispatch.

nb: if the video fails to launch, please click here.


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Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day

Film studio “Animācijas Brigāde” is a stop motion puppet animation film studio, producing puppet films and commercials. Working in classic stop motion technique, the Riga-based studio was founded in 1966 by a puppet film and theater director Arnolds Burovs and since then studio has produced 140 puppet animation films, made by different film directors. Safety on the Railway is no laughing matter (yes it is) in this wonderful short film below:

“…after centuries of imbibing alcoholic beverages as their main source of potable water, European’s new fondness for boiled drinks—coupled with the psychoactive properties of caffeine—swapped societal tipsiness with a mindstate primed for the Enlightenment’s intoxication with reason.” Hunter Dukes on A Treatise Concerning the Properties and Effects of Coffee (1792) by Benjamin Moseley.

Why Toblerone Is Dropping a Famous Swiss Mountain From Its Packaging

The chocolate maker must drop an image of the Matterhorn from its packaging to comply with Swiss laws as it moves some production abroad.

“Fiction builds empathy.

Fiction is something you build up from twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world, and people it and look out through other eyes.

You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.” Neil Gaiman

Commemorating Philip Roth means confronting his limitations head on. This month marks the 90th anniversary of the author’s birth. Roth readers may find this article illuminating.

Thought to have been created around 1300 CE, the Hereford Mappa Mundi is the largest surviving complete map of the medieval world. Named for Hereford Cathedral where the map is housed today, the extraordinary document offers insight into the minds of Christian Europeans in the Middle Ages, revealing the extent to which their understanding of the world was shaped by stories from the Bible and the Classics. In this video essay, the US graphic designer and video producer Jeremy Shuback explores the map’s structure and the breadth of its illustrations, detailing how this imaginative piece of medieval cartography binds history, geography, mythology and religion to form an invaluable sketch of the Middle Ages.

NB: If any of the videos fail to launch, please visit our Homepage .


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Joy Williams

from 99 Stories of God

The child wanted to name the rabbit Actually, and could not be dissuaded from this.

It was the first time one of our pets was named after an adverb.

It made us uncomfortable. We thought it to be bad luck.

But no ill befell any of us nor did any ill befall the people who visited our home.

Everything proceeded beautifully, in fact, until Actually died.


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“Mourir auprès de toi”

Directed by the inimitable Spike Jonze the short film “Mourir auprès de toi” (“To Die by Your Side”), which takes its title from one of the emotionally wrenching Smiths’ song, is a love story for booklovers, set in Paris’ beloved Shakespeare and Company bookstore. The  film features animated book covers made from embroidered felt cutouts created by the designer Olympia Le-Tan.

Jonze and Le-Tan, together with French director Simon Cahn, spent six months writing a script, then animating 3,000 pieces of felt cut by Le-Tan herself. The resulting stop-motion animation features a skeleton, his lover, and some famous book covers that spring to life.

nb: if the video fails to launch, please click here.


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Hold my calls, I’m blogging

I have no idea who created this little comic gem of a video, but since hundreds of Travel Between the Pages followers are bloggers I had to share it. The video is via the German blog site Kraftfuttermischwerk .

NB: If the video does not launch, please click here.


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like a shadow or a friend

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


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‘Don’t be a tourist – be an Explorist’

The folks from Denmark’s tourism marketing group Visit Denmark have cleverly brought major artworks such as the Mona Lisa, Girl With the Pearl Earring, Van Gogh’s self-portrait, and the Statue of Liberty to life using AI to encourage travelers to visit the Nordic nation.


Their new campaign video suggests that even though the works of Vermeer and Leonardo da Vinci are iconic, waiting in long lines to see them can be boring. It’s part of the ‘Don’t be a tourist – be an Explorist’ ad campaign from the country, which positions Denmark as the antidote to bucket list tourism.

The campaign is one of the first to simultaneously use both deepfake and motion synthesis with an AI-generated script.  The scripts are 100% generated by AI. They didn’t write a single word and only edited parts that were too long or simply not true.

nb: if the video fails to launch please click here.



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Fat-Headed Censors

You would have to have been living under a basket to avoid the recent brouhaha over the re-editing of classic books by so-called sensitivity readers and editors. Here in the Colonies we’ve been through this with the books of Dr. Seuss and other popular children’s authors. Now, the UK has gone mad censoring works by Roald dahl and others.

McSweeney’s recently posted a pointed response to this nonsence in an article by Peter Wisniewski aptly titled “FUCK YOU, YOU FAT-HEADED ROALD DAHL-CENSORING FUCKERS.”

Dear Fat-Headed Roald Dahl-Censoring Fuckers,

You’re censors. You’re not editors, and you’re not readers. You’re censors. You are exactly what Orwell warned us about.

So fuck you.

Without the author’s consent, you are changing and omitting words that the author wrote. That makes you a censor. An agent of censorship. Only fascists censor books.

What you’re doing is crazy. See? We said it. Crazy. Crazy. Crazy.

You will not take words from the human race. You have no fucking right.

When you censor, you condescend. Fat people call themselves fat because they are not ashamed of themselves. But you are ashamed of us. You think being overweight is something to be ashamed of, so you erase this word, and you erase all fat people. Well, fuck you.

You will not take words from the human race. You have no fucking right.

The most telling example of your condescension is when you removed the word “cashier” from one of Dahl’s books. Apparently, you think the word “cashier” is offensive. Well, fuckers, hundreds of thousands of actual people are cashiers, and they don’t agree. They don’t think their mere existence is offensive.

You have no right to diminish their occupation or any other.

You have no right to take words from Dahl or any author.

If you were to get away with what you did—and rest assured, you fucknuts will not get away with it—then every book in human history could be subject to the same censorship. Every book ever published has something in it to offend someone. By the precedent you set, even the most carefully calibrated book written today, censored by censors like you, will be censored by someone else tomorrow.

The problem with censorship is that it has no end. Think of it: you censored Dahl’s books in the United States. What if the Germans wanted to censor them to suit their needs? And then the Chinese to suit theirs?

Get it? Once one group of censors gets to do their filthy work, then everyone will have their go.

If literature is to survive, we have two choices. Either:

a) No censorship, period, full stop, because it’s fascist and horrifying, or

b) Endless, unlimited censorship—a world where every craven group like yours has free reign to mangle every book ever written

No one wants your world.

No one supports what you did.

Roald Dahl would loathe you.

All enlightened readers loathe you.

The history of world literature is against you.

You are anti-art.

You are anti-freedom.

Art must be free. Art must be unsafe. Art must be controversial. Art must have dangerous words and ideas in it. Otherwise, it’s not fucking art.

At the moment, the right wing of the US is censoring books. They are fighting to keep non-white and LGBTQ+ narratives from kids. They are pulling books from shelves. They are villainizing teachers and librarians.

You are no better than these right-wing assholes.

Both you and these fascist fuckwads are afraid of books. Afraid of ideas. You condescend to everyone by thinking you should be the judge of what is said and read.

Who the fuck are you to decide this?

You have no fucking right.

If you don’t want censorship from the right, you can’t have it from the left.

Here’s how art is supposed to work: Someone writes a book. They write it with passion, with abandon, with honesty and lyricism and even a bit of recklessness. It is of their time, using the words of their time.

Readers respond to this recklessness, this abandon, this rawness, this timeliness. The only books that ever mattered to anyone are raw, are unbridled, are risky, and timely. Then, if a parent or teacher reads the book to a kid, and there’s a part that’s risky or controversial, discussions can be had. If the book is old, then the words and sentiments of that time can be taken into account.

It’s not hard.

That is how we fucking learn.

All art has context.

All art is born of its time. It reflects its time.

People who come to the art later can handle the context, the different words, the different attitudes. People can fucking handle it because we are complex creatures capable of complex thoughts.

Censors think everyone is stupid.

Fuck you, censors.

Censors think it is their job to dumb down every piece of art till it says nothing to anyone.

Fuck you, censors.

Fascists fear art because it frees minds.

Fuck you, fascists.

Left, right: all censors are the same. Period. End of story. Fuck you, censors.

Fuck you,
All the readers in the world who loathe you.


Posted in Art, Books, Europe, Freedom of Speech, Libraries, USA, Writing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The art of travel

I recently discovered the marvelous travel poster art created by Polish artist Stefan Norblin (1892-1952). Trained as a painter, Norblin had a diverse career as a portrait painter, muralist, costume designer, illustrator, and interior decorator.

When the Germans invaded in 1939 Norblin was forced to flee Poland. After a five year stay in India, he emigrated to the United States settling in San Francisco. Norblin found some success painting portraits of prominent Americans and working in design.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Norblin created a wonderful series of travel posters celebrating Poland.


Posted in Art, Europe, Public Transport, Tourism, Travel Writing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Still Life

The mesmerizing video below was made with more than 1400 engravings from the 19th century, Still Life is a meditation on subject/object dualism. The film explores the idea that we live in a world of objects and a world of objects lives within us. Working with this encyclopedia of prints as a sort of language, a story of consciousness emerges.

DOWNLOAD the full Still Life Object Library (1400+ images!):

Director/Animator/Sound Designer
Conner Griffith

NB: if the video fails to launch in your browser, please click here.


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