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Penelope Przekop February 24, 2013

Some Thoughts on Figurative Work

Who Am I in This Crowd?
detail of larger work
I've been thinking a lot about the value of figurative work in terms of its ability to be progressive rather than retrograde in nature (as Currinsaid in a 2009 interview). I also heard recently from an art dealer that figurative work is harder to sell because people don't necessarily want to hang a painting of someone they don't know in their home. I get...

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Penelope Przekop September 29, 2011

Gifted and Hot: Tim Harakal

" ... I cure most of the unavoidable bummers in life with creativity."

It's interesting how connections are made. A few months ago, my husband and I went to the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA. While my husband was playing craps, I wandered off to the Fusion Lounge. (I chose it because it was orange.) As I sat at the bar, sipping my martini (also orange), I noticed that the bartender and another...

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Penelope Przekop August 30, 2011

Swinging into Fiction: Bamberger & Shipnuck

"Whether it’s Tiger or other fallen stars, I’ve always viewed their travails like everyone else on the outside, with a mix of fascination and judgmental superiority."

I admit it. The thrill-seeking me would love to be a star. The money, glamor, and excitement would make it a tough opportunity to turn down. However, the highly sensitive, introverted me is not so sure I could handle it, especially...

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Penelope Przekop April 08, 2011

Water Diviner: Michael Seif

"I know that the camera long ago acted as a shield between me and the outside world."

If creative folks need an outlet to carry on, are we attempting to hide behind or step forth? I'm driven to write and paint to express what I can't otherwise seem to relay.

Does that mean something is wrong with me? 


Or could it mean I have something to express that goes beyond what the average person needs...

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Penelope Przekop February 23, 2011

Parentless Parent: Allison Gilbert

The scarecrow could not understand why she wished to leave this beautiful country and go back to the gray place called Kansas. "That's because you have no brains," answered the girl. "No, matter how dreary and gray our homes are, people would rather live there than anywhere else.  There is no place like home."

L. Frank Baum

Almost all of my childhood memories before age nine are in black and white....

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Penelope Przekop February 08, 2011

Art of the Nude: Ilene Skeen

"It's a dangerous thing to believe that one part of you is at war with another.  It's not a good message to teach children; it leads to all kinds of trouble."

Growing up in the Deep South during the decade of free love and the one that followed, I was taught that my body was the worst thing about me.  What did it do? I wondered. Oh, it wasn't what it did, it was what it was goingto do. Flesh was...

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Penelope Przekop January 27, 2011

Beautiful Alien: Emily Lisker

"I always knew I was a Martian of sorts."

About ten years ago, my brother, my mother, and I had a conversation about high school.  My brother commented about how everyone around him seemed to be from another planet--not his.  Then my mother went on to describe similar perceptions.

I sat, quietly, choosing not to offer up my own story. Doing so seemed as if it would somehow belittle my own memories....

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Penelope Przekop December 29, 2010

Blue Man Rising: Scott Heydt

"My previous employer failed to appreciate and understand my creative personality, interests, and drive."

When I went to bed last night my throat was a bit scratchy. I woke up this morning feeling terrible. I'm sick. My head hurts. My ears hurt. My throat hurts. My back aches. I'm congested and tired. Sitting here writing this, I'm also sick of editors not falling in love with my novels; not having...

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Penelope Przekop November 12, 2010

Climbing the Mountain: Justin Bua

"I wanted this my whole life, but when I got it I realized there is so much more."

Yesterday I mentioned to a friend that I just keep doing what I feel driven to do, assuming that someday it will all make sense. What-could-she-possibly-know Miley Cyrus tells us it's the climb that counts most. We're all scaling some sort of mountain, at times desperately clinging to sharp stinging rocks. Living in...

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Penelope Przekop November 05, 2010

Holding onto Her Hat: Marya Hornbacher

"Dealing with a wayward mind can be so tricky; creative work or even a creative way of looking at the world can give you a means of holding onto your hat in a way that does not require an adherence to a “normal” or “average” way of thinking or living."

Sometimes I wonder if my interest in art and literature is selfish.  I wonder how valuable my contribution really is, and to whom. Who really...

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Penelope Przekop October 29, 2010

Art and Science: Santiago Betancur

"Two different points of view (art and science) are converging."

Despite already envisioning myself as more of a "liberal arts" student, when we studied vision in the 6th grade, I was fascinated. It was one of the few times I came home wanting to explain something I learned to my mother. I remember her patiently listening to my 11-year-old scientific explanation.

When I hit junior high, I was faced...

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Penelope Przekop October 01, 2010

Hell's Best Illustrator: Allen Koszowski

"In general, horror artists are not promoting evil; in their world, good triumphs."

Creative folks often use art to express what we cannot otherwise fully articulate. As everyone knows, among other things, art is an outlet. 

Although this outlet concept isn't rocket science--it is. Entire books and college courses have been created around the study of why specific writers, musicians, visual...

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Penelope Przekop September 24, 2010

Coaster Rider: Dario Posada

"This journey has been like a roller coaster."

During the last week, I completed the draft of my latest novel, DUST.  I also finished a new painting.  Amazing authors Marya Hornbacher and Darin Straussrecommended me for a Guggenheim in fiction. My agent gave me some encouraging news, and I had lunch with a VP/Associate Publisher of an A-list publishing company. On the same day, I got a call about a...

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Penelope Przekop September 15, 2010

Beating Back Grief: Darin Strauss

 "... grief, (and even the weird feeling of guilt without culpability) if not vanquished, can at least be beaten back."

Last week I had a challenging conversation with my chronically troubled mother. After she lectured me on how to vanquish the grief of my disturbing childhood by finally apologizing to her for my failures as a daughter, I explained that my grief can never be completely vanquished,...

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Penelope Przekop September 08, 2010

Christianity and Creativity: Eugene McBride

"Oh, life is bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes."


When I was a tall, gawky eight grader with braces at Northwood Jr. - Sr. High School back in 1980, our Student Council President was a guy named Eugene McBride. To me, Eugene was a "big man on campus." He always seemed to have all the confidence I lacked. He strolled around as if...

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Penelope Przekop August 18, 2010

Deal With It: Randy Thurman

"There is only one way I have found to deal with it - WORK!" 

This morning I woke up wondering why the hell I keep writing this blog. While the traffic is good, it needs to be better. While I seem to have a lot of regular readers, they don't often leave comments.

I guess I do it mostly for myself. In the past, I've written about how blogs seem a bit self centered. Maybe that's my issue. 

My guest...

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Penelope Przekop August 12, 2010

Nose to the Creative Grindstone: Tracy J. Thomas

" ... it has been difficult to convince those who choose to follow more traditional paths in life that my focus on and passion for creative expression is as valid a career choice ... "

Those closest to me rarely read Aberration Nation. They're all too busy. This includes my oldest daughter, my husband, my brother, and my parents. While they're all highly supportive of my creative endeavors, they...

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Penelope Przekop July 29, 2010

Making Ideas Happen: Scott Belsky

"Society shuns what society celebrates."

I grew up noticing the injustice around me, feeling helpless to change anything. Maybe it was because I emerged from a highly religious environment where everyone was supposed to turn the other cheek, love thy neighbor, and forgive ad nauseum.

In my impressionable mind, to be successful at loving all my neighbors, I had to find something lovable in each...

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Penelope Przekop July 14, 2010

Hyperallergic: Hrag Vartanian

"I can’t help but think that creativity requires both constructive and destructive forces to make it really work."

Over the last couple of years, Aberration Nation has convinced readers that life sucks ... and that it sucks the life out of us. It may seem sad but many years ago, I decided to embrace the concept and simply accept that regardless of how my life is defined (e.g., single, married,...

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Penelope Przekop June 08, 2010

Believe in Yourself: Liimu McGill

"I love the creative process and honestly, it is so much like motherhood."

Aberration Nation is not a mommy blog. There's absolutely nothing wrong with mommy or daddy blogs; the world needs them. But Aberration Nation is about humanity and creativity. If we also happen to be moms and dads, that's great too.

Interestingly, my guest today, singer/songwriter Liimu McGill,brings up the...

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Penelope Przekop May 24, 2010

To Thine Own Self Be True: Sandra Carey Cody

"There are, of course, times when someone will try to push me in a direction I know is wrong for me."

The more years I spend writing, the pickier I become as a reader. Lately, I've been digesting a lot of disappointing novels. Who am I to judge the literary work of others? I may not have earned that right but assessing writing has become second nature after years of tearing apart my own...

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Penelope Przekop May 04, 2010

Editor! Editor!: Carrie Feron (Part 2)

“I'm just going through a phase right now. Everybody goes through phases and all, don't they?”
J. D. Salinger

While I'm obviously self-centered enough to have a blog, I'm not going to sit here and claim to be a late-blooming genius. But I will not tell a lie. I hope I am! Through all my bouncing around from poetry to nonfiction to novels to this blog,...

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Penelope Przekop February 19, 2010

A Crazy Heart: Why was Bad Bad?

" ... who is real country?"

I haven't been to see a movie by myself in many years, but today I slipped into the 12:25 all alone. I wanted to see Crazy Heart with the person I am when I'm by myself. I suspected the movie would pull that person out, and when she fully emerges, I usually feel very alone anyway.

It's not a bad thing. It just is.

So me and myself bought our ticket, got the popcorn, and...

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