Writing Prompts

Word Prompt: Daybreak | Story Prompt: from the book “A Quality of Light” by Richard Wagamese

‘We are born into a world of light. Every motion of our lives, every memory, is colored by the degree of its intensity or shaded by the weight of its absence. I believe the happy times are lit by and ebullient incandescence – the pure white light of joy – and that the sadder times are bathed in swatches of purple, moving into pearl gray. When we find ourselves standing against the hushed palette of evening, searching the sky for one singular band of light, we’re filtering the spectrum of our lives. We’re looking through the magic prism of memory, letting our comforts, questions or woundings lead us – emotional voyageurs portaging a need called yearning. Because it’s not the memories themselves we seek to reclaim, but rather the opportunity to surround ourselves with the quality of light that lives there.

The muted grays of storm clouds breaking might take you back to the hollowness you found in a long good-bye. The electric blue in a morning horizon might awaken in you again that melancholic ache you carried when you discovered love. Or you lay on a hillside in the high sky heat of summer, the red behind your eyelids making you so warm and safe and peaceful, it’s like the scarlet a part of you remembers through the skin of your mother’s belly when you, your life and the universe was all fluid, warmth and motion.

The qualities of light are endless and our entire lives are immersed in them. That’s why we go back. That’s why we use the gift of memory to sift through it all, seeking answers in the people, places and things we inhabited once, hoping we might find there a single quality of light that defines us.’


Have you ever tried to describe a particular quality of light?

It can be so difficult to capture those special times when the light is “just so”, and it feels like magic is about to happen, or is happening, or has just happened. Trying to pin down a description in words can be so challenging! I just love to read authors who understand this and can evoke feeling and emotion when the light falls a certain way.

Finding ways to reflect the emotion that light might add into my own stories brings me joy when I feel like I’m getting close. It’s a fun practice – and I do mean practice!

I imagine it would be like learning to paint the golden glow of a spring sunrise. I’m no painter, but I can appreciate that painting too takes practice. When you’ve got it right, or as close to it as you can, well, that’s worth celebrating.

Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.

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