Van Gogh’s Café


Van Gogh stares through the centuries. He could be studying every detail of the café for one of his paintings: every rose-tinted light, every bottle clink and curve. The colors of his century are abstract, inviting.

He scrutinizes a shadowed corner and finds me there. He is committing it all to memory. He just might go home and paint my stunned expression as I stare back at him.

I raise my glass in a toast, wanting him to know how much his art is finally appreciated. The bartender scowls. But then, she must think I’m toasting a blank wall.

For Friday Fictioneers, writers from all over the world come up with a 100-word story or poem inspired by a photo that’s posted every Wednesday. Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting and to Ted Strutz for this photo.

60 thoughts on “Van Gogh’s Café

  1. Dear Sheila,
    A drunk with a vision? Or perhaps she just has a vivid imagination. In any case an enjoyable read. Made me want to sing, “Starry, starry night, paint your pallette blue and gray…”

    • Could be – I guess I was thinking either way or even that it was some kind of a portal to another time that no one else could see. Maybe a connection with van Gogh makes this person see it. It’s fun when writing can be interpreted in different ways. That’s a great song – and now I’m singing it too!

  2. “He just might go home and paint my stunned expression as I stare back at him.”—I love that. Great piece. Perfect for that image. 🙂

    • Thanks Carrie! All I could think of when I looked at this was how much that guy in the painting looks like van Gogh, and how he much he was staring. These are fun to do. It’s like letting myself play for a while. 🙂

    • Thank you! I love that song and haven’t heard it in a long time, but now I’m hearing it in my head too.

    • Thank you! I do love describing things. I also love art and so that painting kind of drew me into the picture.

    • Thank you! The photo was taken by Ted Strutz – I think he said it was in Seattle but it did make me think of France too for some reason. I hope you’re feeling better and enjoying the spring sunshine!

    • It’s the Icon Cafe in Seattle.

      Loved Van Gogh’s Cafe, Sheila. There are a few misunderstood artists and writers that make you wish you could go back and tell them how loved and appreciated they would be! Great take.

      • It would be nice if van Gogh could somehow know how much people love his art these days. Maybe he has found a portal somewhere. 🙂

    • Thanks Roy! That’s really nice of you. These are fun to do, just to see where your mind takes you after staring at a photo for a while.

    • Thanks Francina! For some reason, that painting drew me in and kind of took over, but it’s fun when things like that happen.

      • The song is a particular favourite of mine; it was being played a lot over the air in the hot summer when I had just finished working and was waiting or our first born to arrive! Quite a long time ago! But being reminded of it all, it feels like yesterday 🙂 x

      • It’s funny how songs can bring us right back to those times so easily. It’s a great song to keep hearing and it would go perfectly with a hot summer. Did your first born turn out to be an artist? 🙂

  3. I want some of whatever you’re drinking, darling! Well done.

    • Thank you – I’m still not sure if the vision is real or caused by whatever they’re serving at this place.

    • Thanks! It is tough to try to fit anything into 100 words, but it’s a fun challenge. Hope you have a great weekend!

    • Thanks Dianne! It’s fun to do this every once in a while just to let my mind play and see what happens.

    • Thank you – for some reason, he was all I could see when I looked at the painting. But maybe I’m hallucinating. 🙂

  4. I really like this, Sheila – always enjoy a portal to other worlds and times!

    I’m glad someone wrote about the picture as it’s certainly colourful. 😉 And don’t we all, as creators, want to know our work is appreciated? Thankfully, with the internet, we don’t have to wait until decades after we’re gone. 😉

    • Yes, the internet does help with that! For some reason, when I really looked at that picture, the painting was all I could see. Maybe there really was a portal there somewhere. 🙂

  5. Staring through the centuries. I believe in reincarnation and I did wonder once or twice if a Van Gogh, Camille Claudel or whoever had to see their existing works further down the line, what they would think of it? Might be a theme for a story? Well done, enjoyed it.

    • I’ve wondered that too. You’d think the art would resonate with that reincarnated person, but then maybe the memory of it wouldn’t carry over through the different lives. I’d guess they’d understand the art in a different way than others. That would be an interesting story just to see what would happen.

    • Thank you! It is a lot of fun to see how different the stories can be, even though we’re all getting our stories from the same picture. I’m glad you saw Van Gogh too. I was starting to think he might be a figment of my imagination.

    • Thanks Kate! It does look like a fun place to hang out in, especially if there are portals to another time in there. 🙂 Happy weekend and Mother’s Day!

  6. Reminded me of when I went to a coffee shop in Barcelona, Spain where Hemingway used to frequent. Lots of good stuff here, Shelia. Marvelous!

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