Fine art inspires me. If my brain ever feels hollowed out—as it sometimes does in the thick of motherhood—I spend an afternoon strolling the galleries of Chicago’s Art Institute. Without fail, it offers me a new window into a story I’m mulling, writing, or editing.

Many of the world’s most well-known artists are on display at the Art Institute, including Vincent van Gogh. He lived only forty-seven years, ending his life after a long battle with mental illness. In his life’s short span, though, he managed to be prolific:

“Vincent Willem van Gogh only painted for ten years of his life, but during that time he produced more than 2,000 works of art, including paintings and drawings. Although he experienced almost no success, he helped to lay the foundations of modern art,” according to Art In Detail: 100 Masterpieces, by Susie Hodge.

Fishing in Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnières), 1887; The Art Institute of Chicago

As writers, we won’t see all of the impact our work has on humanity. Sometimes it feels null. Other days, we are encouraged. May we take heart, whether or not we know success, and keep writing.


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