Sunday, May 16, 2010

Creating Van Gogh reaches 100

As of last Friday's post (5/14/10), Creating Van Gogh reached the 100 count. In almost exactly eight months, I've come to you with 100 thoughts about historical fiction generally and/or my historical novel Yellow in particular. Yes, I've taken a few detours on occasion--e.g., to express excitement over a new publication, or to thank someone who helped me with the blog, or to report on AWP, or to gripe about political/financing problems encountered by the National Writing Project--but for the most part I've tried to keep the discussion focused on the essential themes of the blog, the themes that followers and visitors are interested in reading and commenting about. I can't say exactly when I expected to reach 100 posts--or if I necessarily did expect to reach 100--but I'm relieved and gratified that I've made it. I know that a few--okay, several--of my posts are longer than average, but thanks for sticking with me through them. I hope that means you find my questions and/or commentary and/or anedotes relevant and interesting, especially if you're in the middle of developing or writing your own historical novel. I haven't been shy about detailing my research trip to France last summer--in fact, post 99 and post 100 did just that--and while some of those posts probably read like travelogues I hope I've made the point that I was there to see, hear, smell, read about, walk through, run through, drive through, draw and photograph specific places that Van Gogh either lived in or visited. No matter where I was, the man himself was never far from my thoughts. And these days the France trip is very much in mind, since it was this time last year that I was slogging, stomping, and wine drinking my way through that remarkable, beautiful country.

I must admit that it was the example of my wife's blog Wordamour and her simple love of blogging that encouraged me to start Creating Van Gogh in the first place. Let's give credit where credit is due. And when I did start, I began with the idea that I needed to post something--anything--everyday. Well, within a week or two I knew that would prove impossible. After all, I was working on my novel! But I've tried to maintain due diligence, and I'm proud to say that even as I came off my fall sabbatical and was thrust into the grind of 4 classes per semester teaching I've actually logged more posts from January to the present then I did from September through December. Who knew? I worried over Christmas break that I might not be able to keep posting at all! (How Erika Dreifus updates her terrific Practicing Writing blog every Monday to Friday is beyond me. I salute you, Erika.) And since I've started the blog I can report some gratifying progress on different fronts. My novel, which back in September had just started a significant and drastic new round of cutting, editing, revising, and reshaping, is almost done. (Really this time.) It's so much tighter now, so much surer, so much more of what it was trying to be all along, largely because I've had to confront and resolve so many of the issues that I've written about on this blog. Since September I've also made some great literary friends through this blog, including Anne Whitehouse, who after a series of communications about a Van Gogh poem she published, kindly asked me to review her book of poems, Blessings and Curses. (Click on the link to read about the book.) Thanks for the confidence, Anne. It's meeting people like her that is the true benefit of any blog, or any online life. I hope more posts, and more such people, are in my future. Thanks everybody.


  1. John--wasn't there a contest associated with this? I thought so. I came here to enter (I read on google reader) and it's gone! Did I dream it?

  2. Hi, Robin. Yes, there was. And you count as the winner! I'll be in contact with you.