“ If you want something from an audience, you give blood to their fantasies. It’s the ultimate hustle.”
“ One never reaches home,” she said. “But where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.”
This Oscar®-winning animated short from Chris Landreth is based on the life of Ryan Larkin, a Canadian animator who produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Ryan is living every artist’s worst nightmare - succumbing to addiction, panhandling on the streets to make ends meet. Through computer-generated characters, Landreth interviews his friend to shed light on his downward spiral. Some strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.
“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind-mute person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through Helen’s darkness and isolation is nothing short of a miracle. This video is a tribute to all the teachers who never give up on their students.
“ Mohammed, when I hunt the desert at night, I know God is not kept in a house.”
“ I haven’t read any superhero comics since I finished with Watchmen. I hate superheroes. I think they’re abominations. They don’t mean what they used to mean. They were originally in the hands of writers who would actively expand the imagination of their nine- to 13-year-old audience. That was completely what they were meant to do and they were doing it excellently. These days, superhero comics think the audience is certainly not nine to 13, it’s nothing to do with them. It’s an audience largely of 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-year old men, usually men. Someone came up with the term graphic novel. These readers latched on to it; they were simply interested in a way that could validate their continued love of Green Lantern or Spider-Man without appearing in some way emotionally subnormal. This is a significant rump of the superhero-addicted, mainstream-addicted audience. I don’t think the superhero stands for anything good. I think it’s a rather alarming sign if we’ve got audiences of adults going to see the Avengers movie and delighting in concepts and characters meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of the 1950s.”
- Miles: Where do you live?
- Buck: In the city.
- Miles: You have a house?
- Buck: Apartment.
- Miles: Own or rent?
- Buck: Rent.
- Miles: What do you do for a living?
- Buck: Lots of things.
- Miles: Where's your office?
- Buck: I don't have one.
- Miles: How come?
- Buck: I don't need one.
- Miles: Where's your wife?
- Buck: Don't have one.
- Miles: How come?
- Buck: It's a long story.
- Miles: You have kids?
- Buck: No I don't.
- Miles: How come?
- Buck: It's an even longer story.
- Miles: Are you my Dad's brother?
- Buck: What's your record for consecutive questions asked?
- Miles: 38.
- Buck: I'm your Dad's brother alright.
- Miles: You have much more hair in your nose than my Dad.
- Buck: How nice of you to notice.
- Miles: I'm a kid - that's my job.
by Omar Ayoub
Looming above what feels like a post-apocalyptic coastal wasteland, the “Mountain of Trash” (or “Jabal al-Zbaleh” as the local Sidonians call it) is a testament to the horrors of pollution, poverty, and political apathy.
For more than fifteen years, the people of Sidon have been petitioning for the removal of the mountain at their municipality. There have been countless cases of terminal cancer as well as a plethora of diseases among the neighboring families. The stench travels for many miles in each direction. Every winter when the rain comes, a huge chunk of the mountain falls into the sea. Politicians have shown no interest in resolving the matter except for a few pre-electoral empty promises.
During my visit, I learned that people and businesses from neighboring villages come all the way to Sidon to dispose of their waste. I saw that the mountain contained a lot of decaying animal carcasses which contribute to the reek.
From all sides, the mountain oozes of a black oily fluid which has made any kind of marine life impossible.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the mountain is that there are several families who are against its removal. With many of them living in abject poverty, the mountain has come to represent their livelihood, providing them with rubber, plastic, and various metals for them to sell. On a daily basis, they spend several hours collecting these materials from the coastline, scurrying away when the waves come crashing in.
I also learned of a man who has been living inside the mountain for several years. His dogs would bark at me whenever I approached the Eastern “slope”.
I met a 12-year old boy who works full-time at collecting cables and wires to support his family. Although I did manage to take a few pictures of him at work, he wouldn’t let me photograph him up-close, telling me that he wanted to remain “faceless”.
On the back of his jacket, perhaps ironically, were the words “Magic Land.”
“ Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.”
“ We think we understand the rules when we become adults, but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.”
May 17, 2012
I never really expected to find myself giving advice to people graduating from an establishment of higher education. I never graduated from any such establishment. I never even started at one. I escaped from school as soon as I could, when the prospect of four more years of enforced learning before I’d become the writer I wanted to be was stifling.
I got out into the world, I wrote, and I became a better writer the more I wrote, and I wrote some more, and nobody ever seemed to mind that I was making it up as I went along, they just read what I wrote and they paid for it, or they didn’t, and often they commissioned me to write something else for them.
Which has left me with a healthy respect and fondness for higher education that those of my friends and family, who attended Universities, were cured of long ago.
Looking back, I’ve had a remarkable ride. I’m not sure I can call it a career, because a career implies that I had some kind of career plan, and I never did. The nearest thing I had was a list I made when I was 15 of everything I wanted to do: to write an adult novel, a children’s book, a comic, a movie, record an audiobook, write an episode of Doctor Who… and so on. I didn’t have a career. I just did the next thing on the list.
So I thought I’d tell you everything I wish I’d known starting out, and a few things that, looking back on it, I suppose that I did know. And that I would also give you the best piece of advice I’d ever got, which I completely failed to follow.
First of all: When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing.
This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can.
If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do. And because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.