The good news is that with determination, we can learn and grow from all our relationships and experience. I sure did; I will never forget the boy that broke my heart while I was breaking his. I'm so thankful I went on to have such a wonderful, fantastic husband ... going on...
Lina: What and who inspires your paintings?
Penelope: My work is inspired by my own emotional complexity and that of women, in general. That complexity exists in men also. I just happen to primarily paint women because I am a woman and so that feels more natural for me. It’s really about the human spirit. Growing up in Louisiana in a conservative culture and moving to the Northeast in 1991 inspires a lot of themes in my work also. Also, my mother was an interior designer with quite a personality. Both aspects of her life inspire my work both emotionally and visually. Because I’ve spent so much time writing and love stories, it seems natural that my art should include elements of story and character.
Lina: Who are your main artistic influences?[caption id="attachment_1399" align="alignright" width="237"] The World is Full of Magic[/caption]
Penelope: As far as the greats, I have been influenced by Frida Kahlo and Van Gogh in terms of their emotion and honesty. I’ve also been influenced by Dorothea Tanning, Kandinsky and Picasso. Past and current artists who push the envelope in unique, honest ways inspire me. I’m not impressed or inspired by artists who go for the shock factor, thinking that is honesty. That’s unoriginal to me; if that’s all they have to give, I find that sad. I’m attuned to learning from others but staying true to myself. Sometimes that takes courage because you look around and realize that what you’re doing or who you are may not fit the mold, may seem boring, or less chic than someone else’s work, but you keep going knowing that perhaps no one will care or notice the value that you may have to offer.
To read the entire interview, go here:http://www.godztaylor.com/#!penelope-pzrekop/cdxx
|Who Am I in This Crowd?|
detail of larger work
In his 2009 interview, Currin also said that a true artist has less to say in the type of art he ends up creating than one might think. I get that, too, and realize that, like Currin, figurative art seems to be my path. And I want people to feel uniquely drawn into my work rather than removed from it. I don't want to create a categorical wall between my art and the viewer simply by virtue of the work being figurative.
Seeing older figurative work and being hit with the realization that this specific person once lived can be a powerful reminder of the passage of time and the never ending surge of humanity. But what if the viewer could feel something less retrograde? What if I could capture something more alive than merely a specific person you've never met? What if you looked at the figure and saw every person, a common soul, emotion, and that recognition made you think and feel and somehow evolve?
|Detail of larger work in progress|
If that's true, I believe He does it for the sake of progress. He isn't looking back; He's looking forward. That's what I want to do.
23" x 15" Acrylic, Casein and Ink
― Toni Morrison
|Can You Hear My Voice?|
25" x 40" Acrylic, Ink & Pastel on Canvas
I remembered a wonderful book I read by Kazuo Ishiguro. His novel, Never Let Me Go, is about a society who raises children for the purpose of donating organs once they mature into adults. The kids grow up in special "schools" and are taught their purpose early in life. One of the administrators involved keeps a program going for the kids that focuses on art. Their days are filled with creating art. They sense that it's important yet they don't really know why. It turns out that the woman believes art is the one tangible thing that can prove these kids are human. That they are individuals and worthy of life. The art displays their souls.
2012 has been a challenging year in terms of keeping up with my Aberration Nation interviews; I've been hyper-focused on my art work, which continues to evolve. I'm considering changes to the Aberration Nation focus; details will be forthcoming.
Today the focus is ART!
I began painting in January of 2008; next month will mark my fifth year. At this point in my life, five years doesn't seem long, yet in these five short years, I've moved light years ahead in terms of my art work.
After having the urge to paint for several years, I finally began. I never painted a single picture until that day, but had some deep arrogant conviction that I might just be able to do a decent job of it; I wanted to try. For some reason, I needed to try. I had no idea what I was doing. I took 6 2-hour classes that covered the basics. From day one, I chose to paint my original ideas. I never had any desire to copy or paint anything that looked like a photograph. That wasn't what I was searching for or hoping to express, and I knew it.
Finally picking up a paintbrush was the best decision I've ever made in terms of both my creative and emotional growth. Five years later seems the perfect time to reflect.
In addition to completing my life, in many ways painting started my life ....
2008 Representative Works:
|Piece of Meat|
In 2009, I finished writing, Centerpieces, a novel based on the death of Vincent van Gogh. As I attempted to gather some early review comments, I contacted Bob Hogge, Monkdogz Urban Art (NYC), to ask if he would read the book. It happened to be the one moment of his life that he had a little extra time, so he agreed. He liked the novel so much that he decided to give me a call. As we chatted, I casually mentioned that I'd also begun painting. He asked to see my work but I was hesitant. He convinced me to send him a few jpegs; I was not too excited about this professional artist and New York City Gallery owner seeing my beginner work. After all, I was a writer not an artist.
To my surprise, Bob found something uniquely interesting about what I'd done in just one year and so we began to correspond about my work in progress. He dubbed my ability, "a diamond in the rough." He encouraged me to be brave in all the steps I was taking to improve, to express myself, and to do both in my own unique way. That year, I began experimenting with layered canvas as well as other methods.
2009 Representative Works:
|Stuck in Immovable Growth|
|Slice of Suburbia, 2009|
By 2010, some of my early work had been shown by Philadelphia, California and Italy. Also, the
Museum of Art in Caserta, Italy acquired one of my pieces. I continued to work closely with Bob Hogge. I continued to layer canvas and began focusing on more figurative work. By the end of 2010, I began to move back away from the layered canvas approach, instead adding complexity and depth to the work in other ways.
2010 Representative Works:
|Paper Doll, No. 3|
|Paper Doll, No. 7|
|Shattered in Black and White|
Jan - Jun 2011 Representative Works:
|Evolution of an Artist|
Jul - Dec 2011 Representative Works:
|I Was Born this Way ... please stay|
|I Never Meant to Upset You|
Jan - Jun 2012 Representative Works:
|It's All Inside|
|They Follow Me|
Jul - Dec 2012 Representative Works:
|She Leads and I Follow|
|What's the Point?|
At this time, my work is presented by galleries in New York City, Central America, and Europe. Monkdogz Urban Art (NYC) is currently featuring my work Gallery & Studio Magazine. My nudes have been selected numerous times by guest New York City gallery directors and owners on the Barebrush art site. Two pieces have been acquired by Italian museums, and other opportunities are in the works.
I recently made the following video to showcase some of the work I completed in 2012:
Since 2008, I've painted approximately 300 works. Those shown here are a small representation of that body of work. To see more of my recent art and find a list of the galleries representing my work, visit my art site or join me on Facebook.
I'm still just getting started ...
"What do I want and exactly how am I going to achieve it?"
"What do I want and what am I willing to pay for it?"
In considering what I want and what I'm willing to pay for it, I'm beginning to realize that having like-minded individuals in my life may be critical. Finding these folks and connecting with them in a real way can be quite tricky. As I've kept my focus on all those stars above, I've worked on that as well as some of the other key requirements that my level of aspiration calls for; I've made progress. Now I'm struggling with the realization that it may beg for a higher price than I imagined.
Maybe it's not just about jumping toward a star; it's about feeling your feet hit the carpet. It's about running.
Gary Powell, professional composer, musician and arranger, has composed, arranged and produced music for 145 musical albums and videos which have sold some 45 million units across 69 countries. All have been produced in his Austin, Texas recording studio Powell Studio Productions. In Powell’s work with Walt Disney Records, five of his productions have gone Gold and two Platinum. In 1999, Powell won a Grammy nomination along with co-producer Ted Kryczko for their production of Disney’s “A Bug’s Life Sing Along”.
Of note, Dan Rather will interview Gary on AXS.TV, airing this Tuesday. Watch for it!
What's your story (in a nutshell)?
Teen tennis champion and privileged son of Dallas, Texas takes the unexpected and never-traveled road; music and only music.
Creative focus is a discipline for me. It's not about talent or aptitude. It's about study, work and a fearless capacity to achieve one's highest aspirations and goals, even as they morph in unimaginable ways under pressure, circumstance and serendipity.
For you, is music more about creation or expression? It could be both, but does one dominate with regard to your need/urge/desire to make music?
Becoming stylistically fluent as a composer is like learning new languages for a translator. Sometimes curiosity inspires me, extreme challenges focus me, and money can certainly fuel it. Outside of obvious rewards, however, personal satisfaction comes from within and is usually outside the earshot of clients and accountants.
Do you believe some of the various attributes related to being highly creative have caused you aberrations in life, helped you deal with life's aberrations, or both?
The aberrations of living a creative life are born from a societal disregard for almost any definition of what has artistic value. Celebrity we understand. Once we as people loose the connection with the art itself and next replace it with empty gestures posturing as art; artists cannot prosper. Within education, the artist could be taught strategies for negotiating within a market-based system and then slip confidently into a successful and inspiring life. This seldom happens within our higher education institutions, but it should.
Have you had to deal with people in your life failing to understand your creative personality, interests, or drive? If so, can you tell us about it and how you've dealt with it?
My family had no experience with artists or the artistic life. My parents were high-functioning individuals who supported my musical interests from the beginning, which began in early high-school. Therefore, my personal drive to explore, learn and prosper was emotionally hard-wired in me from the beginning.
I went to study music as a freshman in college only knowing where middle-C was on the piano. Admissions to the music school said I would fail, but they gave me one semester to try. Even from that place, I imagined great success. What surprises me is my continuing and deepening relationship with music regardless of the success I've enjoyed. My current artistic aspirations live outside mainstream music; my theatrical concert "Aristotle's Prayer" being exhibit one. http://www.garypowell.com/blogs/category/shows/aristotles-prayer/
Do you ever wonder if what you're creating or expressing is as meaningful to others as it is to you? How important is that to you with regard to your overall goals? If you've created something that purely expresses who you are, is that enough, or is the circle only completed when someone else says, "Yes, she understands me" or "Yes, that's how I feel"?
An early mentor once told me "nobody creates in a vacuum." I'm not sure that's true. I would say that some of my most precious musical moments as a composer have indeed happened in a vacuum; a closed space, a studio, a piano, a note written on a cocktail napkin. The question is: a vacuum within what context? Surely, like universes, there are parallel vacuums we live in, so who's to say? Also, as I've aged and matured, the need for external edification has greatly diminished, even dissipated. But, the responsibility to nurture my consciousness and self-awareness has magnified greatly. This is the gift of aging. Outside the pain and loss held within aging itself, music becomes the elixir, the antidote and the unifier of all things important to being human. From that place, yes, I do feel understood.
Is there a difference between being creative and being talented? What are your thoughts on this?
What is your primary motto or mantra in life? Why is this important to you?
My mantra, if you will, shifts. The inspiration needed on Tuesday may not be effective on Thursday. So, stay alert, do no harm, listen inwardly, then express outwardly by nurturing relationships with individuals who are fair-minded and also your equals in intellect, passion, and talent.
Per Sela Films, Asa (which means "a beautiful girl") is a short film based on a true story. It's a dramatic tale of the last 24 hours before a young girl embarks on her journey to America. It takes place in two cities (Lagos and Benin) in Nigeria, West Africa.
The film chronicles Asa's life from age 7 to age 17, when she meets her biological mom and leaves for the United States. Within these last 24 hours, shrunken into12 minutes, we see what Asa's life has been like over the past 10 years, and gain an understanding for why she absolutely has to get out.
The film opens with a kidnapping plot to get Asa out of the country, and through a series of flashbacks, tells the tale of what she has had to endure from the moment she was placed on a plane with a stewardess to be dropped off at a foster home in Nigeria, to the pivotal moment of confrontation with her biological dad - she was going to leave, at any cost, and by any means necessary.
What's most incredible about Asa's story is that it could be anyone's story, regardless of race, class, religious beliefs or culture. It deals with those things that are kept in the dark and ought to be brought to light. In spite of its darkness, this is very much a dynamic tale of triumph, love and hope. It's both colorful (yes, the costumes are amazing too!) and soulful.
As I read Aimi's interview answers below and, in particular, her quote, "The conflict that goes on in ones mind when you mix cultures, belief systems, race, class, etc., is quite scary," I was struggling once again with my own mother. She chose to cut me out of her life, again, this week. This time, I'm determined to let her go. Her decision was ultimately based on the religious, political and cultural differences that now seem to divide us. I don't think a mother should walk away from her small or adult children for such reasons, yet I understand their power.
I've always hoped the love between my mother and I would overcome any differences we have. As an adult, I shouldn't need that so desperately anymore, but it's hard not to want it when I've waited for so long. Now I'm trying to face facts. And like the brainwashed, I still struggle internally every day about whether or not I am doing the right thing. Even when my heart and mind tell me I am, I still have an emotional ache to be at peace with all the notions that were pounded into my head as a child.
I question how adults can be blind to the needs of children, and how, although childhood is such a short span of time, how powerful an impact those years have.
Today I don't care what your culture is, or where you stand politically or religiously. I hope you stand for love. My suspension is that the story of Asa somehow relays this as well, and I'm so looking forward to that discovery. I've donated towards Aimi's production costs,and hope you will consider doing so as well.
Information on how to support the film can be found here.
My story, wow, where do I begin? I can answer how I became interested in film making, so I think I'll do that. The short version is that a theatrical director friend of mine, Michel Chahade, sat with me and basically said, "It's time we made your story into a film," and I said. "Let's do it." He's not the first to suggest making my story into something - a novel, an autobiography; my dad suggested a documentary and actually started the process by trying to get a few creative people he knows interested. I love my dad. I'm adopted by an amazing father as you know from watching the kickstarter video. I say he saved my life and he says I saved his! Funny isn't it.
Can you tell us about your current project, Asa?
Asa is a short film that's based on a true story. It's a story about a young girl growing up in Nigeria and moving to the States at age 17. The story is being told in two parts. The first is the Short film that's currently in production and the second part will be a full length Feature. We had originally started work on the project with the working title "Journey" and later settled on "Asa" because this story is about her journey from childhood to adulthood. You may also say it's her journey from the darkness in her life into light. The film has many dark moments, but throughout the abuse, struggle, depression, humiliation, Asa stays very human.
With regard to your current focus, was there an "ah-ha" moment you can tell us about?
Yup! The moment I realized that I really wanted to be behind the camera. There's this small role in the film, Asa's cousin interacting with her the morning she's leaving for the States. The director, Chahade, decided to have me play her and I really did not want to do it. When I realized I was in shock and thought "Oh my, I'm in trouble!"
I've just started living my life. I feel I dream dreams everyday that come true. I know, this probably doesn't make sense. I dream of having a constant roof over my head and I do. I dream of being able to pull out a few bills and get a meal whenever and wherever I choose to and I do. I dreamed of being able to read, write, comprehend things and I do all that. I dream about being safe (mostly take it for granted I think, considering the situations I've put myself in at times) but I am safe. I dream about staying warm, clothed, and I am. I think maybe one would have to be able to understand how walking into a Payless shoe store at 145th and Broadway, for the first time (this was late 90s) being able to put down $50 for a pair of shoes, for the first time, and walking out of that store on cloud nine, could be a memory you'll never forget, to get what I'm talking about. I dream of making friends too, cause I fear I am terrible at that, and little by little I'm making friends.
This is a complex one. My entire life is a deviation from the norm. I'm Nigerian by decent. Born in the US, shipped to Nigeria. Raised by foster parents and legal guardians and then by my biological remarried dad, in Nigeria, and then by my biological mom very briefly in the States. Getting adopted by a Jewish (Israeli & American citizen) single dad. Studying Engineering and Literature simultaneously, deciding to pursue modeling and acting afterward, and then turning around to become a writer and filmmaker, all the while refusing to fit into any one category in any area of my life.
Have you ever had to deal with people in your life failing to understand your creative personality, interests, or drive? If so, can you tell us about it and how you've dealt with it?
I have lost a few boyfriends after they found out I have an Engineering degree and I'm pursuing the Arts. Painful experiences, but I lived. There was always that question of what's my plan B? "There's no way [I] expect to succeed in this industry." I had one tell me he wasn't interested in ending up having to support me, and another reminding me that I was getting old and at my age he had made his first million, which at the time we were dating seemed very funny to me considering how broke he was. I found myself wondering what he did with all that money! My most recent ex was very enthralled with me being in the arts, but he wanted it to be things he was interested in, and believe me, you don't want to know what those things are.
I must admit that I hid my creative ventures from my biological parents for a while and they kinda found out, I guess, when the time was right because they weren't upset and seemed okay with it. I think it's old age!
To end this long story, I'd say that I don't have people in my life who fail to understand my creative interests. My creative personality, I doubt anyone will ever really understand! My drive is what keeps me moderately sane in addition to my solid support system, and the way I've learned to deal with and continue to deal with the people I may encounter who fail to understand me, is to leave them be. This may include walking out of their world. A tough lesson or skill if you will, that I am still working on mastering, but seems to serve me well when applied.
Have you developed a specific creative process that enables you to meet your goals? If so, can you tell us about it, and also share any thoughts you may have on the role of discipline and organization?
Ha!!! Nope. No methods unfortunately. I am very emotional I believe, so intuition, a sense of timing, that sort of thing mostly guides me. I've had to learn some serious lessons as a result of how I attack my goals at times, so I don't feel I can recommend my brand of tactic to anyone.
Discipline and Organization are absolute musts! And I don't like absolutes. Without them, you get nowhere. So when I all of a sudden get that urge to jump out of bed and suddenly get going, first item on the list - make a list! Check it thrice. As for suggestions, research, research, research! Put everything, if possible, down on paper and know where you put down that paper! And then organize everything down to your thoughts. Ask questions especially when you feel any doubt. Look stupid before you LOOK stupid, if that makes any sense. And this is a big one, when you've made errors, own up to them. It's tough, especially when you're scared. but that's just my advice.
In such a highly competitive world, what do you think it takes to rise above the crowd in your particular creative industry, and has this changed over the years?
That's a big one (I say that a lot, don't I?) I think it takes being in the right place at the right time, fully prepared. I don't believe this has changed at all really. What I do see is that it's easier now for people to make films. There are many outlets for getting one's work out there which is both a blessing and a curse. Funding is tight and the whole structure of the past in the film industry has completely shifted. Everything seems to be blending or moving laterally. People are having to wear a thousand hats at one time, and it's become the norm. To stand out, you need, contrary to what seems to be the norm these days, Snookie, et.al., solid work, great marketing, drive, and an understanding of what's out there versus what you are presenting.
Very next step, finishing "Asa" the short, submitting it to festivals, and jumping into the process for making the feature.
What is your primary motto or mantra in life? Why is this important to you?
Put one foot in front of the other and breathe. It helps me stay focused, and in a very funny way, helps me stay grateful. I think it's because I suddenly realize after a few steps that I'm walking and breathing, and that's pretty cool
Last week I went to a presentation at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lamberville, NJ. It started at 5pm so I headed over after work. The event was an open house for their 19th/20th Century American and European Art auction held on May 12th. I was looking forward to it, yet part of me wondered if I was wasting time; if I should get home so I could paint rather than look at paintings.
Three hours later, I was glad I went.
Robert Cozzolino (Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts) discussed the distinctive character of Pop in Chicago during the 1960s. As I sat listening to Dr. Cozzolino's fascinating lecture, some of my own thoughts on art seemed to solidify. I decided that I might be ready to write a statement about my art ... something that I knew at my core. Not a bunch of long, tangled words that sound impressive, but real truth about my life and my art. I felt myself evolving.
My guest today, artist Han Meertens, talks about his evolution as an artist moving from a focus on what he thought artists are supposed to do toward recognizing that the true beauty of art is much more profound than anything someone else can define for the artist; it's about the artist, and what he or she can uniquely define.
I didn't study art like Hans and Dr. Cozzolino. I have a degree in Biology, something that fascinated me as a young adult, not because I have a scientific mind but because I have a creative one that has its own unique qualities. At a time when I was incredibly bored, I stumbled upon biology and found it interesting and challenging. Biology showed me how meaning and beauty emerged from chaos, and that attracted me. I wanted to understand it. My ability to pursue an interest in something no one expected me to embrace opened a door that provided familiarity and comfort. It was my coping mechanism, and in some ways, my salvation. And it ultimately led me down the path to Rago Art and Auction Center last week, where I sat eating cheese and crackers as I listened to Dr. Cozzolino. I knew I was in the right place, doing what I am meant to do.
I'm understanding mine more every day.
As is Hans ....
What's your story? How long did it take to establish yourself as an artist? Was the journey straight or twisted , and are you surprised by your success?
After spending some years abroad as an art student in York (U.K.) and Ghent (Belgium) I graduated from the HKU - the Art Academy of Utrecht (Holland) - in 2000. I was 25 by then. I took some more courses on the art academy until 2001 before combining my career as a professional artist with a part time job as an art teacher in Amsterdam for the indispensable financial input. For 6 years I worked really hard to build a consistent body of work and portfolio. In the meantime, I had had some sold out exhibitions and in 2007, I decided the time was right to take the risk, and to spend all of my time and energy on my artistic career. I truly don't ever think in terms of success. It is tough in times like these to be financially dependent on art-sales, but being able to do what I want to do most is what it is all about.
|Meertens - Stardust|
Whenever I feel the need to focus on something different, in technique or subject matter and the combination between the two, it usually takes some time and effort to get it right. 'STARDUST' - my current series of collage portraits - found its final shape and form after a period of experimenting with materials and trying several approaches to transform a personal loss into something more transcendent. The ah-ah moment with this particular project was when I made the connection between a mother and Icons.
What has been your process for engaging galleries to show your work?
When I first got out there, I realized that fortune favors the bold! I have always been very straightforward. For the past years I have become lucky with that and still I'm being approached most of the time. In such cases I tend to find out more about the other artists represented, their exhibition space, etc. And most importantly, whether they are interested in me as an artist, including my artistic growth. Is there a drive to help me forward? Unfortunately in the past I have dealt with a couple of opportunistic galleries only in it to make a quick buck. There was absolutely no love for the artist or my work.
Both. I think one of the key elements of being this passionate about and committed to creativity is the fact that it is a part of who I am, how I live and breath. Like most artists, I have always been a pretty sensitive and visual type and this cognition has led to a rather equivocal attitude to life´s aberrations.
It is great to dive into the good stuff with your senses wide open, but it hurts equally hard when things go bad. All my paintings are a reflection of how I felt at a particular time in my life. They are like diary pages to me that helped me recover from bumps along the way.
It took some time and effort to convince my parents that attending art academy was the best option for me. I think there have been a couple of awkward situations with friends and lovers since then when we were on different planets when it came to sharing the intensity of undergoing art, or failing to keep connected when I was highly involved in a particular creative interest. Sometimes it is hard to explain the inner necessity - that drive that is flowing from a very emotional desire - to spend this much time and energy on art. I can deal with it though, by realising I can't follow all their passions either.
Have you developed a specific process that enables you to meet your creative goals? If so, can you tell us about it. Where do most of your ideas come from?
In my first years in art academy, like most fresh art students, I was focusing on fictitious concepts of what art was supposed to be like in my head, based on a very shallow knowledge of art and art history. The results were overtly 'invented', created for the outside world, without anything of the real me in it. I have learned since then that interesting, polysemic pieces of art can only be created when I dive deep into my own cognitions; what makes me tick, what is it about certain visual influences that some have more impact on me than others, what is their connection, where is the mystery or poetry in a certain subject, how can I dig that up? With the risk of coming across vague: the source for my ideas derives from a self-examining form of mindfulness and self-awareness.
|Meetens - Stardust|
An unstoppable inner force and vision to create and innovate autonomously. A combination of hard work, talent, motivation, will power and courage. Knowing when not to be modest. Also, being in the right place at the right time meeting the right people getting the right feedback and recognizing opportunities, etc should not be underestimated. But this is all just a shot in the dark, really, since I wouldn't know. I think often success is like an avalanche; sometimes a person who experiences some success, is being picked up and then the ball starts rolling which doesn't necessarily mean that the work is much better than someone who hasn't been moved forward to a spotlight point.
What is your primary motto or mantra in life? Why is this important to you?
"Always keep in mind you know nothing." This makes me question what I'm told, keeps me humble, curious, open to different views and most importantly; it keeps me moving forward.
On the day I finished reading a review copy of John Irving's new novel, In One Person (launching on May 8th), I received guest blog content from author, Michael Olson. Olson's debut novel, Strange Flesh, is about sex and games. Publishers Weekly describes Strange Flesh as a "head-spinning thriller" that "takes us down a rabbit hole of kinky cybersex and multilevel mystery." It's a "complex, cutting edge debut." Irving's book, on the other hand, chronicles the life of a bisexual man.
In his latest novel, Irving tackles the various evolving sexual attitudes we've all either observed, participated in, or endured from the 1960s through today. On par with his previous novels, Irving provides brilliant food for thought on the diverse sexual appetites that exist, regardless of who may or may not be comfortable with them. He reminds us, as others have before him, that there is a specific kind of unnecessary madness involved in trying to deny the truth about who we are as individuals. It's a losing battle and a fruitless crusade.
I read another great book recently, The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was about a world with no choices, no room for imaginative brushes, no experimentation, no real emotion, and no chance for making a right or wrong decision. No differences. No agony. No pain. No love. Everyone was safe.
It turned out to be a nightmare.