Water Is My Creative Fuel

I moved to the coast at 23. I’ll never leave.

Leslie Wibberley
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readJun 17, 2019


Photo: Mohd Fikri Idris/EyeEm/Getty Images

DDancing fingers of morning sunshine slide beneath the blinds covering the east-facing window of our bedroom. Patterns of light and dark play across my closed eyelids, pricking at my consciousness. I roll to my side to block them, but it’s no use. I’m awake.

I slip from the bed, leaving my husband still sound asleep. It’s barely 5:30 a.m., but my mind is already racing.

The edits for my new novel are calling, demanding my attention in a most intrusive manner. All night I tossed and turned, trying to turn off my brain long enough to catch a few hours of restorative sleep.

I didn’t fall asleep until well after midnight and, yet, here I am, wide-awake at this unseemly hour.

A rather difficult transitional scene is challenging me. I need help, and I know just where to go to get it.

The water.

I grew up on the bone-dry prairies where cracked lips, parched from the lack of moisture, were the norm. The nearest body of water was a man-made lake, miles away from our farm, and Chinook winds blew down from the mountains, bleeding every ounce of water from the dusty soil.

I love water in its magnificent plethora of forms: streams, rivers, oceans, and lakes. I moved to the coast when I was only 23 years old. I left all my family behind in my need to be near the water. I’ve never regretted that decision.

Some days, I head to the river when I’m overwhelmed with worry over my daughter’s precarious mental health, or when my mother’s failing health scares me, or even after a squabble with my husband. Other days, I go simply to be present and enjoy the beauty of my surroundings.

It doesn’t matter why I go, the result is always the same.

I am restored.

On this particular morning, I’m in desperate need of the water’s magic, hoping to find some inspiration. I wake my sweet cocker spaniel, Pepper, and we head down to the river that flows only a short walk from where we live.



Leslie Wibberley
Human Parts

Physiotherapist/Proud mama/happy wife Storyteller, finding magic in the everyday world. Repped by the extraordinary Naomi Davis of Bookends Literary