The Van Gogh Blues – Finding Meaning


I love Doctor Who. Have loved it since I discovered it when I was home sick for a month and had the energy to do only two things: sleep and watch TV. (And note: for me not to have energy to read, I was very sick indeed!)

I got caught up on the new Doctor Who as far as I could and then had to wait anxiously for the next season.

There are a few episodes that bring me to tears. Every. Time. One of those is the one where the Doctor and Amy Pond go back to meet Van Gogh.

I said in my last post that I’m becoming a fan of Van Gogh and I’ll freely admit, this episode is part of the reason. They did such a good job of bringing him–and his iconic cafe!–to life. And learning about his history of illness (“mental illness,” technically) was interesting.

Did you know there’s a self-help book named for him? The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person’s Path Through Depression. I have to admit, the book is a little wordy for me, but it’s worth it when the author pops out with an amazing line. I’ve even started “highlighting” them on my Kindle and I never do that.

Here are a few:

“…our choices express our true values or offer us some reward.” (page 73 | Kindle location 1183)

“The dark void pointed to by the existentialists was really a kind of Zen stripping down to the essential choices of life–to be ethical, to accept personal responsibility, to really live–and the demanding nature of these choices scared most people off.” (page 85 | Kindle location 1354-1355)

“The most important shift for the contemporary creator to make is the one demanded by the existentialists, the shift from the despairing ‘Why do I exist?’ to the steely ‘I exist.'” (page 85 | Kindle location 1356-1359)

Profound. And definitely striking some very deep chords for me.

Quotes like these are why I keep reading this book, wordy as it sometimes is. I have always, always been searching for meaning in life–in my life and in life in general. Perhaps it is part of being a creator. Whatever the reason is, maybe I don’t have to search anymore if I, as the author suggests, “accept as [my] mantra, ‘I am alive.'” And that is meaning enough.


About thewritingblues

I'm a writer working on a YA dystopian novel and blogging on my progress - or lack thereof - and other cool writing stuff.
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