What It Takes to Be a Writer

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The Cliff, Étretat, Sunrise

If Monet had painted his waterscapes with light — that’s what the sky looked like at sunrise this morning: a sea of glinting wavelets, invitation to a luminous otherworld dwelling just beyond my sightline.

I’m calling it back, the sunrise, though what I see outside my window now are the monotones of winter: grey tree trunks, grey branches, grey leaves rotting in piles the wind made.

I’m breathing into my memory of the sunrise, as if my inhale can stoke that fire, keep it aglow.

I’m stepping into uncomfortable territory here, using theses words: glinting, luminous, dwelling, aglow. But I’ll leave the cynical part of my brain to chew on that thought while I continue breathing, keeping this morning’s light alive, feeling into it, sensing it with an immediacy equal to the moment I looked up and saw it in real time.

That’s what it takes to be a poet, to be a writer, to surrender to intuition, to walk your authentic path, one footstep at a time: you breathe into your vision (the root of inspire: to breathe in), keep it alive, even as the sun crawls up the sky and shadow paints the clouds a dull, uniform grey.

Image Credit: Claude Monet’s The Cliff, Étretat, Sunrise belongs to the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Cheryl Dumesnil is a poet, memoirist, editor and creativity coach. To learn more about her work, visit cheryldumesnil.com.