Monday, July 07, 2008

Novel Illuminates Dangers of Avoiding a Creative Life

Vianne Rocher wanted a fresh start, and moved several times since the end of the events in Chocolate, only to land in Paris, her childhood home. Now, she is known as Yanne, and has traded her colorful shoes and clothes, the same ones Anouk was embarrassed by in their former communities, for black, sensible footwear. Yanne has learned to blend in, to be the helpful assistant in a shop, and got in with the landlord, a wealthy, helpful sort who wants to be the knight to save her from her life of poverty. However, there are complications, including Yanne’s youngest daughter, who does not communicate through any means other than sign language. But that is the least of Yanne’s worries. Her biggest problems stem not from the identify thief in her midst, but from her loss of self. In an effort to provide a safe life for her girls, Yanne has sacrificed her soul, and only if she can regain it will she save them all.

Although this is the main plotline of Joanne Harris’s long-awaited sequel to Chocolate, entitled The Girl with No Shadow, the story is a common theme in my life, and in the lives of creative people everywhere, including several of the artists I’ve interviewed for the Votre Vray project.

I was once told a quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, that goes something like this: If you bring forth to what is inside of you, it will save you. If not, it will destroy you.
So often, as creatives we sacrifice our skills for the security of a regular paycheck, a stable residence, a relationship…or something we feel we have been missing in our quest to create. Occasionally, what we trade for is not our greatest desire, but what our loved ones, or society dictates to us as fundamental in a normal, productive, adult life. In exchange, we give up a part (or all) of our most essential elemental make-up, and in doing so, we become ill, angry, and sometimes feel like we are dying.

What will it take for us to listen to our hearts, minds, or souls?

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