When I was very, very young, seven years old, I heard there was school where you could go to learn to draw. That was my absolute driven passion, to become an artist or a painter. So the romantic realist in me, I studied to be a graphic design artist and an art teacher.
My uncle, who's an art teacher, took me under his wing and gave me a really strong foundation in art. I spent summers with him, and he taught me how to draw, how to see, how to mix colors, how to use different mediums and perspective, and so forth.
My art teacher had said that if you breathed deeply and imagined something, you could be there. You could see it, feel it. During our standoffs with the NKVD, I learned to do that. I clung to my rusted dreams during the times of silence. It was at gunpoint that I fell into every hope and allowed myself to wish from the deepest part of my heart. Komorov thought he was torturing us. But we were escaping into a stillness within ourselves. We found strength there.
Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the 'naturals,' the ones who somehow know how to teach.