What Van Gogh Can Teach Us About Writing

During my recent visit to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, a crowd gathered around one painting. We were drawn to it, as if in a dream. It was Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Most people recognize it as a famous painting, worth millions. Perhaps they know that this painting inspired the song by Don McLean that immortalized Van Gogh’s troubled but brilliant perspective on life.

But what compels us to spend time before The Starry Night?

The Starry Night is more than a painting. It tells a story that opens our eyes and minds to what may exist beyond life on Earth.

Van Gogh told his story using the medium of paint, but he teaches a valuable lesson to writers. Our stories need to reach beyond the sleepy, peaceful villages of our everyday life. We know, at our core, that something more exists out there, something wonderful, something magical, something spiritual.

We want to believe.

During his time, Van Gogh was little known, but his work endures and compels because he expressed what he believed in. He honed his craft, followed his passion and put down on paper a story that compels us to look at the starry sky of our soul and wonder.

This is what we should strive for as writers.

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4 comments on “What Van Gogh Can Teach Us About Writing

  1. It delighted me to hear this as that is what I too seek. Both my novels speak to how people can exceed themselves as presently conceived. It is what I have spent the last 40 years exploring. I always look for some sort of substance in in what I read, something said in a way that I’ve not yet seen, so that when I finish, I know something more than before I started. So I agree with you.

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  2. He can teach us a lot about writing. He has taught us a lot about writing. Too often, we just don’t take the time to reach down and capture the soul of the art around us. Thanks for reminding us.

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