Thinking, writing, thinking about writing…

Chasing Your Dreams

When Theo got off the train in Arles,

the stink and noise hit his nostrils and ears,

in cacophonous attack on Boulevard des Lices.VanGoghCafe

‘Of course with a name like Vince you have to paint,’

He told his brother,

‘And all summer you’ve been squiggling caricatures  in the square,

when tourists come to oogle at the little that is left

of that greater misunderstood one, the one with just one ear.

But now it is November, nights are closing in.

The city is deserted, fuel costs going up.

Come home to the Midwest, brother,

forget your midlife crisis!’


Yellow House Van GoghBut Vince turned eyes on him which saw beyond alimony payments,

eyes that had wandered amongst stars,

made accomplice by the wind,

protected by history.

‘You have a duty to follow your dream,

your passion,

and mediocrity has nothing to do with it.’

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16 thoughts on “Chasing Your Dreams

  1. Brilliant! ‘With a name like Vince you have to paint …’ I love it!

    • Thank you, Daniela. This is a topic which often preoccupies me: do we really ‘owe it to ourselves’ to unleash our talent upon the world? And what if we don’t really have talent? Aside from any personal insecurities, it is a moral dilemma – and perhaps one that is perceived very differently in different cultures. Which is why I chose to make this Vince an American.

  2. Marina Sofia – What a lovely exploration of priorities and the vision one needs to follow one’s dreams. I love this!

    • Ah, but the question is: what happens if you are truly untalented and you follow your dreams regardless…?

      • I heard something once, but being me it’s gotten lost somewhere in my messy room of a mind. Something to the effect that “Talent is given…skills are what you get by watering your talent tree.” I was fascinated by that at the time, because my favorite excuse for not writing used to be “…but I’ve never gone to school for it!” Never taken a creative writing course, never learned the “skills” of writing, couldn’t “diagram a sentence” if you paid me…but I still write. The words still come. Talented, skilled, horrendous or heavenly, they still come…and I am forever grateful for that. :)

      • Ha! I like that! Skill is lots of practice, learning from mistakes, patience, resilience. I see so many talented people completely wasting their talents. On the other hand, what I fear more than anything is that I (and I alone) may believe I have talent (all proof to the contrary).

  3. Love it, thank you for posting!

  4. Marina, a lovely piece of writing! Vincent and Theo…I can feel that time and see the oil paints.

    • Actually, it’s not about the real Vincent and Theo. It’s about an American wannabe Vincent whose brother Theo is worried about him… But yes, I was inspired by a trip to Arles – although so little remains of Van Gogh there (not a single one of his paintings can be seen there, for example).

  5. Of course, in school, they show you “Sunflowers” and “Starry Night” and such, but I remember best the first one I recognized -by myself-. I think it’s called “Bedroom in Arles”? and I loved it because I could feel him in it so very strongly. In my (admittedly strange) minds eye, I felt that I could walk in that room, feel that strange strong scent memory…the ever-so-slightly rusty city water in that crackled porcelain over metal basin, the thick wool scent of the blanket, the paint-on-plaster smell that never really leaves…and over and under it all the oil-and-turp smell that for me personifies “painter”. Thank you for using your words to bring so many sense pictures back to me. :)

    • That bedroom (a picture I love as well) was in the Yellow House (which is the second picture in my blog). Actually, that is a reconstruction of it, because the original Yellow House where Van Gogh lived was bombed during WW2.

      • Mrrph. Yet another bit of history turned into a plaque on a wall somewhere. I swear someday I’m going to make a plaque that says “Austrolopithecus slept here” and throw it out in the middle of a field somewhere; ;)

  6. I hear you on the fear part. *hugs* Well, if it helps any, I think you have lots and lots of talent. I know (from experience) that vague statements such as that don’t help as much as they should. You need specifics…which I will happily provide for you, once I’ve eaten my breakfast. ;p

    • Aaaah! You make my heart sing! (You wild thing…)
      Better to have tried and failed than to kick myself for never having tried at all, right?

      • “…But now it is November, nights are closing in.

        The city is deserted, fuel costs going up.

        Come home to the Midwest, brother,

        forget your midlife crisis!”

        “…eyes on him which saw beyond alimony payments,

        eyes that had wandered amongst stars,

        made accomplice by the wind,

        protected by history…”

        The dichotomy between the two brothers…one with his feet planted firmly on the ground, feeling perhaps protective or maybe even a bit jealous…and the other with his head in the air, listening to the winds whisper, seeing what she wanted him to see…

        To make that picture, so clean and clear, to let us feel and perhaps identify with -both- brothers…that is talent. *hugs*

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