Shining Bright

At our Writers Group last night we got the prompt “The Brightest Sunflower: A Painting”. Some of the group didn’t fancy that so we were given the option “The Memorial Hall”. Some of the group didn’t fancy that so we were given the option “A Dog On The Terrace”. I mention the last two simply to explain one line …


He’d put everything into that painting.

The sunflower shone brighter than the sun, and flowered flowerier than a flower. It was because of sentences like that last one that he’d taken up art instead of writing. It was going to be his masterpiece, better even than his other paintings, “The Memorial Hall” and “A Dog On The Terrace”.

And then some Dutch loony had cut off his ear, and instantly became more famous than he was. To make things worse he’d then killed himself, ironically making himself immortal.

Van Gogh’s painting sucked. It was flowers in a jar, big deal, it was the kind of thing you do in the first week of an adult night course. He might as well have gone the whole clichéd hog and painted a bowl of fruit. Whereas his sunflower stood in a field of red poppies, a statement about being different, about feeling isolated, about having run out of yellow paint. It should have been recognised as one of the world’s great creations of beauty, along with Ode to a Nightingale, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and the Statue of Venus, at least before her arms fell off.

Instead it had been bought for twelve guilders by a man called Van Cruyff and now stood in the window of Van Cruyff”s Sunflower Seed Store, above the slogan “Your paarot Polly njeeds these seeds”.

After a few months of brooding and drinking Dutch lager (the alcoholic equivalent of being hit by a clog) he had returned again to painting. He had decided to go into portraiture, and had painted a picture of a girl, a beautiful young girl with an enigmatic smile and no eyebrows.

The Mona Lena was going to make him famous.



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