Discover more from Digging in with Joan Fernandez
Digging In Again
If you please everyone, you're not doing it right. Emily Bernard
Thank you for signing up to be a subscriber! I’m still here. I’ve been writing and learning story craft and rewriting and researching and pandemic-ing and starting over… but because of all of that I can claim:
· I’m a novelist who brings to light brilliant women’s courageous deeds in history.
As I wrote my novel, I was (and still am) drawn to true accounts about strong women beating the odds. My historical novel is the story of a timid widow—and sister-in-law of the famed painter—Jo van Gogh and how she took on the male-dominated art elite in her quest for Vincent’s recognition.
It’s no exaggeration that without Jo we wouldn’t know Vincent van Gogh. One of the greatest artists of the 20th century lost in the past’s trash heap.
All because of Jo’s fifteen-years-long tenacity.
Her story is amazing.
And—like so many women’s stories—largely untold.
It’s been five years since I first began work on this novel: two complete do-overs, head-aching research, and a mountain of recycled paper for this latest version to be done. And the work’s not over yet. The next phase is to determine how to publish it.
But still, as I sit in my small office and type this note to you, I am grateful. For although Jo lived in the last 19th century, the challenges she overcame exist today.
Just like us, Jo lived day-to-day without a crystal ball to tell her whether her decisions were right or wrong. Just like many of us (including me), she started out as a single mom with a young child cobbling together a living even as she attempted to do her art-dealing work. And finally, just like many of us in male-dominated industries (mine was financial services), she had to persist despite tremendous condescending resistance.
Today, we could all use a good dose of Jo.
Here are the four themes that resonated with me as I explored her life. I wonder if these speak to you, too?
Following your heart.
Opening to empathy.
Listening to underdogs.
Relying on sisterhood.
To me, they’re keys to deepening purpose and making a difference. I’m going to dig into them in my posts.
Plus, in each newsletter I’ll give you notes on amazing books for your TBR pile. I’ll share occasional updates on my novel’s publishing journey (plus news on Book 2). And you can enjoy a little splash of Vincent van Gogh (patron saint of dogged persistence) because, like you and me, he was a fool for persisting to be true to his own vision despite ridicule and failure. I got to know him as I wrote my book.
In fact, if you want a pocket-size splash of Vincent, I have a gift for you: Download a zine or flier of my Top 10 Van Gogh Quotes. Made for the fun and love of it.
I appreciate you.
Now…let’s dig in!
(You can also log in to the website to read the full archives and other posts as they are published.)