When I was 16, I read all 900+ letters written by Vincent van Gogh, which very much shaped who I am today. Since then, these letters have become a constant source of comfort for me - whether I’m struggling emotionally, creatively, or just craving a different perspective, I randomly choose one to read and see where it takes me. Some are simple notes thanking his brother for sending him money or sharing his thoughts on his latest painting, but at times his words stand out and touch me like nothing else. Starting from October 2023, I'll share some excerpts here for future reference (mine or yours).
Oct 25 2023
 Mar 9 1888: "
I can’t really write about Mauve, I think about him every day, and that’s all there is to it. It has affected me very badly but personally, as a human being, he was perhaps very different from what people sometimes said, that’s to say deeper in life itself than in art perhaps, and I loved him as a human being — now I find it so hard to imagine that those who penetrate to the heart of life, who by the way judge themselves as if it were another, and deal with others with as little embarrassment as if they were dealing with themselves, I find it so hard to imagine that such people cease to exist.
Now I know that it’s fairly impossible for the white potato or salad grubs that turn into May bugs later to be capable of forming credible ideas about their future overground existence.
And that it would be rash of them to undertake overground studies to throw light on this question, since the gardener or others interested in salad and vegetables would immediately trample them underfoot as being harmful insects.
But for parallel reasons I have little faith in the rightness of our human ideas concerning our future life. We can no more judge our own metamorphoses impartially and sagely than the white salad grubs can theirs.
For the same reason that a salad grub has to eat salad roots for its higher development —

so I believe that a painter has to make paintings — perhaps that there’s something else after that."
Oct 26 2023
 Aug 11-14 1879: "
And, joking apart, I honestly think it would be better if the relationship between us were more trusting on both sides. If I must seriously feel that I’m annoying or burdensome to you or those at home, useful for neither one thing nor another, and were to go on being forced to feel like an intruder or a fifth wheel in your presence, so that it would be better I weren’t there, and if I should have to continue trying to keep further and further out of other people’s way — if I think that indeed it would be so and cannot be otherwise, then I’m overcome by a feeling of sorrow and I must struggle against despair.
It’s difficult for me to bear these thoughts and more difficult still to bear the thought that so much discord, misery and sorrow, in our midst and in our family, has been caused by me.

If it were indeed so, then I’d truly wish that it be granted me not to have to go on living too long. Yet whenever this depresses me beyond measure, all too deeply, after a long time the thought also occurs to me: it’s perhaps only a bad, terrible dream, and later we’ll perhaps learn to understand and comprehend it better. But is it not, after all, reality, and won’t it one day become better rather than worse? To many it would no doubt appear foolish and superstitious to believe in any improvement for the better. Sometimes in winter it’s so bitterly cold that one says, it’s simply too cold, what do I care whether summer comes, the bad outweighs the good. But whether we like it or not, an end finally comes to the hard frost, and one fine morning the wind has turned and we have a thaw. Comparing the natural state of the weather with our state of mind and our circumstances, subject to variableness and change, I still have some hope that it can improve."
Nov 1 2023
Jan 9-10 1878: "C.M. asked me if I didn’t find the Phryné by Gérôme beautiful, and I said I would much rather see an ugly woman by Israëls or Millet or a little old woman by E. Frère, for what does a beautiful body such as Phryné’s really matter? Animals have that too, perhaps more so than people, but animals don’t have a soul like the one that animates the people painted by Israëls or Millet or Frère, and hasn’t life been given to us to become rich in our hearts, even if our appearance suffers from it? I feel very little sympathy for that statue after Gérôme, for I see not one sign of reason in it, and a couple of hands that bear the signs of work are more beautiful than such as are seen on that statue.
And much greater still is the difference between such a beautiful girl and a man like Parker or T. a Kempis or those painted by Meissonier and just as one cannot serve two masters, one cannot love two things that are so very different and feel sympathy for both.
And then C.M. asked if I wouldn’t feel anything for a woman or a girl who was beautiful, but I said I would have more feeling for and would prefer to be involved with one who was ugly or old or impoverished or in some way unhappy, who had acquired understanding and a soul through experience of life and trial and error, or sorrow.

Nov 23 2023 
Nov 26 1889: "I’m speaking to you of these two canvases, and especially the first, to remind you that in order to give an impression of anxiety, you can try to do it without heading straight for the historical garden of Gethsemane; in order to offer a consoling and gentle subject it isn’t necessary to depict the figures from the Sermon on the Mount — ah — it is — no doubt — wise, right, to be moved by the Bible, but modern reality has such a hold over us that even when trying abstractly to reconstruct ancient times in our thoughts — just at that very moment the petty events of our lives tear us away from these meditations and our own adventures throw us forcibly into personal sensations: joy, boredom, suffering, anger or smiling."
Jan 7 2024 
Jan 1 1890: "Ah, while I was ill, damp, melting snow was falling, I got up in the night to look at the landscape – never, never has nature appeared so touching and so sensitive to me.
The relatively superstitious ideas people have here about painting make me more melancholy than I could tell you sometimes, because there’s always basically some truth in it that as a man a painter is too absorbed by what his eyes see and doesn’t have enough mastery of the rest of his life.
If you saw the letter Gauguin wrote me last time, you’d be touched by how upright his thoughts are, and for such a strong man to be almost immobilized is an unhappy thing. And Pissarro too, Guillaumin the same. What a business, what a business."