I am unique. I shined all my life through my uniqueness. Some called me a prodigy child. I join the Beaux-Arts School in Paris at 16; I was the youngest of my promotion.
Shapes are everything for me. I nourish myself from them. The imperfectness of a hip, the wild movement of curly hairs, the inclination of a cheetah's foot ready to jump on its prey. Musicians express themselves through sound, photographs and painters through sight, noses through smell, cooks through taste. I, as a sculptor, express myself through touch. I like to feel shapes. I love when people discover my pieces blindfolded and only get to touch the discreet details shaped in my representations. I love when they try to guess innocently what I portrayed through the feels of their fingertips. I like to think that only blind people can understand the true meaning and purity of my work. Only they have this extreme sensitivity to touch.
I, for one, aren't blind; I can clearly see what's in front of me. This island that I've been dreaming of for the last months. What am I saying? The last years. I'm enraged. After so many shifts trying to sell expensive cabbage-like dishes, living in a tiny studio and having no social life so I could finally pay myself a trip to this island, I was being told I couldn't get there. That's unfair. They say it's for nature reservation. The island has been dangerously overcrowded over the last 10 years, so they say. What's happening there? Well, let me tell you. I heard the story like everyone else. Some author revealed that she wrote a whole novel in less than a week while being on this island. A first draft that was already ready to be published without needing any editing. A musician also went there a few months later and wrote a whole album, for which he won a Grammy a year after. No one had even heard of him before. And that happened many times again, with many artists. They all said they felt inspired like they never had before on this island—an explosion of creativity.
Hence the overcrowded situation. It destroyed a lot of vegetation. The population of some species, unique to this island, decreased by half in only a decade. So now the authorities have decided to ban access to the island, at least until nature recovers. Don't get me wrong, I do understand, and I completely sympathy but still, I really need to access it. I shouldn't suffer the consequences of all of these aspiring artists that tried to get a famous breakthrough just by going on an island. The island won't bring you talent; it will only boost your creativity. How people can be so foolish? They should let people that actually need this burst of creativity to get access to the island.
I travelled to many countries. At 18, I was the next upcoming sculptor—the Rodin of the 90s. Fancy people came to my exhibitions; some brilliant people were making interpretations of my work that I couldn't even understand. Some others came only to say they were at a fancy show or for networking, trying to get the guests interested by their work. Though, without being pretentious, getting their attention out of my work was quite hard. I was the sensation of the moment. As I explained in many interviews, I couldn't explain my inspiration; my hands always guided me. Although one day, it simply faded away. I heard on some talk shows that I wasn't trendy anymore, that my style was seen, reseen and seen again. Some people said in magazines that I was staying too much in my comfort zone, and my creations weren't as bold anymore, but that isn't true. I heard on the radio that my fall was all caused by my attitude. I became too confident, too arrogant, and it was impacting my capacity to grow within my art. So they say. I call that jealousy.
I continued my sculptures, continued the exhibitions, but those were more and more empty. I found some of my statues on sale for a quarter of the price they were normally given. It hurt.
I tried for many years to understand what happened, I couldn't point it out. All of what I heard was mean and non-constructive. How can one's attitude affect their work? This had nothing to do with it. And even so, people are supposed to appreciate art for what it is, not for who makes it, isn't it? Was Van Gogh a nice person? Or Hemingway? I don't think they were, but still, people liked their work.
So when a friend told me about this island, that was it. I realised that it could be the solution to my problem. From this point, I started obsessing with the place. From this point, I only had one goal in mind: save some money (as I was now broke), fly to the island, get some inspiration and create some fantastic creations and show them all how wrong they were.
-Sorry, Miss, it is nothing to do with you; the access has been shut down. That's for everyone the same.
It's been 5 days since I arrived, and I spent all my days going around villages that were close enough to bring me to the island. It was the last one. I offered money, lots of, more than I actually had. I promised them that I would stay quiet. I tried to negotiate, but none of them would bend. They didn't want to let me in, and I didn't want to give up. I was barely eating, not that I wasn't hungry; I just forgot to eat. I had nothing else on my mind. I thought of swimming, but I have never been an excellent swimmer, and even though the island seemed close from here, it wasn't close enough for me to manage it. I haven't been really much in shape in the last years. I'd eaten poorly, smoked a lot and did hardly any exercise.
I decided to take this occasion to go eat something. I thought it might help me to see more clearly and find a solution. I couldn't go back without reaching the beach that's laying right in front of me.
I was on my way to the nearest restaurant when someone shouted to mind my back. I just had time to jump on the side to avoid the giant paddleboard falling on me. It was standing there to indicate a paddling spot and had just fallen from its sand pedestal. The man, probably the owner of the place, ran towards me and start apologising, asking me if I was alright. I was okay. He told me I could have been really hurt and apologised again. I told him it's okay, no harm done. It's at this moment that he offered to let me borrow the paddle for free for the afternoon. And it's at this moment that my mind switched. I replied that I'd like that indeed. I have never done paddling before. I've seen videos of people doing it, and it seemed relatively easy, to be honest. I just thought that if no one could bring me to the island, then I'll do it myself. I removed my clothes, tucked them into my backpack and entered the sea. It was hard to find some balance at first, I fell a dozen time before finding some kind of stability, and from this point, I don't remember any of it. All I know it's that I woke up sometime later in a hospital bed.
When I woke up, my friend who had told me about the island was here. She apologised and said that she should have never said anything to me about this place.
-Did I make it there? I asked.
For some reasons, I thought I might have made it. I thought maybe the infamous burst of creativity would have joggled my memory and made me forget everything that happened. I wished.
-No, you didn't... Do you remember any of it?
Sadly, I didn't make it. I didn't go really far at all, actually. The authorities found me a mile far from the village's beach, lying unconscious on the paddleboard. They said the waters between the mainland and the island are quite dangerous due to a strong courant. They think I probably lost my balance and hit my head on the board. Luckily, I fell on the board; I would have drowned otherwise. My skin hurts. It has been burnt by the sun. They're not sure how long I was there, but from what the paddle shop owner told them, he let me the board the day before they found me.
-Why did you that? That was really dangerous, she says.
I don't know why I did that. I just got obsessed. I wanted to resolve my creativity issue. I wanted to take back control over my career, and I found what seemed like an easy path to it. Was it worth it? I don't know. Maybe not. But at least I realised that there isn't an easy answer to my problem. Now there are only 2 solutions left: I can take the time to properly reflect on my art and on my attitude towards others, start a new story and hope for the best.
Or, I can prepare for my next trip to get to the island. Although this time I'll organise myself a bit better.