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Vincent van Gogh on Fear, Taking Risks, and How Making Inspired Mistakes Moves Us Forward

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During our conversation at the Boston Book Festival, the wise and wonderful Amanda Palmer spoke about the harrowing experience of watching her best friend die and reflected: “Everyone in this room is going to be gone pretty quickly — and we will have either made something or not made something. The artists that inspire me are the ones that I look at and go, ‘Oh my god — you didn’t have to go there. It would’ve been safer not to — but, for whatever reason, you did.’ And every time death happens, I’m reminded that it’s stupid to be safe… Usually, whatever that is — wherever you don’t want to go, whatever that risk is, wherever the unsafe place is — that really is the gift that you have to give.”

As the words poured out of Amanda’s mouth, I saw a kindred hand reach across space and time to catch them. A century and a half earlier, Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853–July 29, 1890) had articulated the same sentiment in a beautiful letter to his brother Theo, found in Ever Yours: The Essential Letters (public library) — the same treasure trove that gave us the beloved artist on talking vs. doing and the story of how he found his purpose.

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‘Self-Portrait with Straw Hat’ by Vincent van Gogh.

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Click the link below for the article:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/vincent-van-gogh-on-fear-taking-risks-and-how-making-inspired-mistakes-moves-us-forward

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