I just watched At Eternity's Gate, a biopic about the life of the master painter Vincent Van Gogh. It's a beautifully intimate art film, shot in a way to bring the audience to experience Van Gogh's life through his eyes. I love the story of his journey, and the dialogue. So much of what the character says about painting can be applied or interpreted in the light of writing, and also generally, living a creative life.
Some themes I extracted from the quotable quotes:
1. External validation
I'd like to find a new light. A new light for paintings we haven't yet seen.
There's a lot of destruction and failure at the door of a successful picture. I find joy in sorrow. And sorrow is greater than laughter. You know, an angel is not far from those who are sad, and illness can sometimes heal us.
Maybe God made me a painter for people who aren't born yet. It is said, Life is for sowing. The harvest is not here.
Writing here everyday had definitely made me experiment how I can find a new light for my writing. For writings I had not yet seen, for myself at least. It's great, but yet, it requires me to be comfortable at possibly failing everyday. Sometimes I go through a low season, a slump, where I don't know what to write. It can feel stressful, difficult, and filled with doubt. Why do I even put myself through this?! Yet, he consoles us, that maybe we can find joy in sorrow, that just as "illness can sometimes heal us", difficulties and slumps can help us find a new light. It eventually did, for me.
The last quote made me think a lot about how we all seek approval from others in our work. For most, maybe a lot. For a rare minority, just a little. Sometimes, we pour our hearts and guts into a poem, a 200wad post or a work project, and it doesn't get any attention. What does one do when the best of your gifts are starkly naked on display, yet there's no feedback on it? Does it mean those gifts that we thought of as gifts are mistaken? Or the time had not yet come?
I love how he tries to console us, that maybe, "the harvest is not here." Maybe having done one's best in this life, one can rest well and without guilt. I am the author of my actions, but the universe and/or time is the author of the results. And we can learn to live and be at peace with that...
To be continued...