Setting Forth at Dawn



The first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise is called dawn. The forecast says sunny day; the clouds are undecided. One passenger is standing in the middle of the bus that rides past me and the rows of empty seats around him make alone seem like loneliness. The air is crisp and breathing is bliss, interrupted occasionally by the draft from the black garbage bags left on the pavement the night before. It will be at least two hours before the garbage trucks arrive. The thumpthump of my footfalls and swishswish of my sports jacket provide comfort and company. Although every joint protests and reminds me of how old I am, I jog because spring is here.

Like writing, jogging requires discipline and perseverance for results to show. If I work hard now, my dresses will flatter me in summer. After reading one of my blog posts, someone commented that writers lead very interesting lives. Hmmm, if they are anything like me, they do not, not by a long shot, not by most people’s standards anyway. Wise writers know: I am not, in and of myself, interesting to a reader. If I want to seem interesting, work has to be done in order to make myself interesting.

Four hundred metres into my jog, my body submits to my will and my mind takes over. I dissect my life, paring flesh from bone, rolling things over this way and that. Then, I tell myself the truth, crying, laughing, hoping, praying. I run through an article in my head, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Satisfied, I think about what to write today, tomorrow, next week, next year and with whom I may write it. In the newness of day, untainted by doubt, every idea seems plausible, even past mistakes, redeemable.

Ideas are running over me thick and fast. I don’t jog with pen and paper, phone, or voice recorder because the temptation to stop and write would be unbearable. I have learnt to park beautiful sentences in my brain and trust that memory would reward my fidelity. Moreover, to pause would force me to rationalize and logic would provoke miscarriage or stillbirth. It’s been said that all readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies.  It is easy for me to tell lies before the sun comes out.

As I turn around the corner, a new Indian restaurant reminds me of curries and naan bread, and my stomach rumbles. “Too early,” I mumble. Further down boats dot the harbour like swans. In summer, sailors will wave from boat decks and people lounging on rattan chairs in waterfront restaurants will raise beer glasses in return. Ahead a dozen men with buckets, rods, lines, and hooks, queue to board a boat sporting the signs sport vissen and rond vaarten. Such is the allure of the sea at dawn.

In the end, I quit two kilometres short of my goal, but it doesn’t matter. I jog to not only make the numbers on the scale decrease, but also for these moments of lucidity where I dethrone my giants before I face them.

Before the sun rouses
Ideas play hopscotch in my head
Flushing sleep from my eyes

What do you do or where do you go to find clarity? Are you a morning person or an owl?



©Timi Yeseibo 2015


Photo credit: Unsplash/


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38 thoughts on “Setting Forth at Dawn

  1. “Moreover, to pause would force me to rationalize and logic would provoke miscarriage or stillbirth”

    I so connected with this line. I’m very familiar with that phenomenon.

    Thank you for the beautiful imagery, Timi. I consider myself an owl, although I’ve come to embrace the morning (as I embrace a cup of coffee, of course).

    My place of clarity is a massive nature preserve located about 5 minutes from my home. My favorite thing to do is to claim one of the benches perched right above where the lake breaks over large, smooth rocks and watch the boats pass by. This becomes the habitation for my muse.



  2. Definitely, it’s about setting forth at dawn. After publishing my second book, I met my gf’s friend and she said how much she thinks I do exciting stuff. My gf was nearby and she burst into laughter. She has seen me fretting over a corrected blogpost before. Quite embarrassing. LoL. But taking a breather sometimes does help.


    1. Lol. I think writers do exciting stuff- creating worlds that people lose themselves in, with words! We fret over words don’t we? I agree taking a breather helps.
      Thanks for sharing.


  3. I enjoyed reading about how jogging is part of your creative process. I am often pleasantly surprised how dance does that for me- parts of posts or even editing of pieces often occur mid-step. I then have to remind myself not to edit too much so my eyes can see the words fresh and new when I’m once again in front of the page. I love the visual of ideas playing hopscotch in your mind.


        1. I am a ‘disciplined’ jogger. I haven’t fallen head over heels in love with jogging yet. I’m still looking for that exercise I’ll be happy doing for the long long haul . . .
          I bow to your dedication to cycling 🙂


  4. Morning person. I think best when in motion, doing routine work, walking, taking a leak/shower, walking and best in a moving vehicle.
    It’s always best to write down something tangible or I’ll simply forget everything by the time I stop.

    Beautiful piece, Timi.


  5. There’s something about this post, not sure, but i enjoyed reading it. Me sha..When i am wide awake most weekend mornings, i let thoughts consume me…a little bit of vodka does me no good. I think and strategize possible ways to ensure personal growth tops my list.


    1. There’s something about this post . . . could it be a little bit of vodka 😉
      I assume that your weekend mornings aren’t characterized by the need to rush and hurry?
      @personal growth, yes!
      Thanks Emeka.


  6. I liked your thoughts you captured from the memory of your run or jogging, Timi. The ones that struck me were the man in the bus, seeming more alone while there were empty seats around him, your comment about food, I imagine my own stomach growling as I passed this savory smelling restaurant and then, your thoughts playing hopscotch. Wonderful post, Timi. Very invigorating for my own mind to digest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. I wondered where he was headed so early in the morning. My thoughts roam freely and deliver many ‘good’ ideas when I jog. Also, I’m able to resolve some thorny issues. Are you a morning person or an owl?


  7. Living in Lagos – with its frenetic pace – and being in paid employment do not afford me the luxury of being a morning person. Early mornings – at least on weekdays – are for a quick shower, getting dressed & a dash to beat the traffic. I find my muse late at night – when most of the world is asleep and the generators are off. It is the only time I can distil the chaotic maze that my thoughts are into lucid writing. This was a beautiful, evocative piece Timi & I have to say it got me very jealous too. What I would do for an early morning jog by the waterfront!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel you. I remember the race against traffic!
      At night when . . . and the generators are off 🙂 It would seem that we need ‘quiet’ to arrange our thoughts.
      Thanks Tola, you can always move here XD


  8. I am an afternoon person :D. Insomnia tickles me at night, so I usually wake up exhausted. I take long walks at ungodly hours of the night for clarity.

    About rationale and logic often provoking the death of an idea – it is the worst, isn’t it? Some of the best ideas turn to crap on paper (or electronic template).

    I loved this post Timi, I felt like going for a jog and at the same time, I felt like writing. Such is the fluidity and evocativeness of this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Insomnia tickles and we don’t laugh. Glad you’ve found a remedy.
      Afternoons huh? Afternoons and siesta tend to go together in my book 🙂

      @death of an idea, tell me about it. Under the cover of dawn, I’m invincible, but at sunrise, my insecurities show . . .

      If this piece provoked movement, then it was well worth the jog and work that produced it 😉
      Thanks Tomi.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy long walks too. Yes, so refreshing- a great way for me to pray and process life. I always end feeling better than when I began. But jogging helps me keep in shape.
      @ words, thanks!


  9. Ran for the first time since January today too and can certainly relate to the clarity the crisp cold air brings to the mind.. Not quite spring out here, but discipline is certainly one area I hope I can improve on this year, across a range of life categories..

    One to mull over again and again though.. Thanks for sharing…


    1. Crisp cold air + clarity, yeah!
      This winter, I chose my bed over the icy pavements more times than I care to remember. It isn’t officially spring yet, but warmer weather means no more excuses. The rewards- that sense of clarity, the adrenaline of accomplishment, the feeling of wholeness, not to mention how great I’ll look in summer- help keep me focused.

      Wishing you great discipline as the months roll by!


  10. With a pen and paper next to my bed sometimes like a flash it thus comes and sometimes the little details ordinarily ignored during the day writers find inspiring and worth putting on paper.
    Nice piece and well espoused and if mine isn’t an addiction, I fight hard to resist writing when others are snoring. LOL


    1. You have a pen and paper by your bedside too? We writers of stories, we are incorrigible! 🙂

      “… the little details ordinarily ignored during the day …” Yes!


  11. “After reading one of my blog posts, someone commented that writers lead very interesting lives. Hmmm, if they are anything like me, they do not, not by a long shot, not by most people’s standards anyway.”

    Some writers lead interesting lives. Others have an interesting way of viewing life and sharing that interesting perspective with readers.

    There is only one trait that marks the writer. He is always watching. It’s a kind of trick of the mind and he is born with it. ~ Morley Callahan

    Thanks for sharing your morning creativity jog with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing Morley Callahan’s quote. It resonates with me. I don’t consciously observe life yet when it is time to write, my senses reproduce varied experiences.

      @interesting life, yeah. My muse leads what I consider an interesting life. He can tell it, but cannot write it. His experiences are sprinkled all over my blog with a lively twist of course!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Life is in the details ~> fishermen lined up on the pier, the echoes of running shoes tap dancing over pavement, the aroma of curry lingering in the invitation laden air. Writers bring these ashes of the past to the surface, quilting tapestries of interwoven gilded threads.

        Our words, when real, create connection.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Timi, i love this post! you have such a beautiful way with words.
    i am a very early morning person. Think 3am-4am ish.
    I find that in the early hours of the morning, before the day is fully here… before the noise and chaos and the car pool and all that stuff, those precious moments are the best times, to think, plan reflect and most of all write.
    I have not yet perfected the fine art of parking sentences in my brain. For me it’s a use it or lose it situation, therefore i am obliged to have a thousand and one memo pads in strategic corners of my house.
    About the exercise thing…I am a runner too, I jogged about 3 times last year:-) 🙂
    No jogging has been done this year but…. the year is still young joor, we await the warmer times:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 3am-4am-ish. Hmmm, there’s something about quiet and solitude that helps us do good work.

      @ 1001 memo pads, I feel you. I am the girl next door ….. yellow post-its litter my room and house my ideas ….

      Lol @ your jogging/running style. Let the warmer months come and redeem us joor! 🙂

      @beautiful way with words, aw you will make me start jogging twice a day o! 😉 Thank you Tamkara!


  13. Writing ideas often crystallize in my head when I’m doing something routine: washing plates; walking; or my favourite: when I’m in the toilet.

    “I have learnt to park beautiful sentences in my brain and trust that memory would reward my fidelity. Moreover, to pause would force me to rationalize and logic would provoke miscarriage or stillbirth.”

    Me and my brain know no such fidelity in our relationship. I often have to sketch the edges of an idea first in my journal, and then give the brain the freedom to roam. Otherwise, I’ll be chasing the wind when it’s time to write.

    But I agree that thinking often aborts story ideas. It’s almost like we need to lie to ourselves before we can ‘lie’ convincingly enough to tell the truth.

    There are so many beautiful sentences in this one Timi, another to be reviewed over and over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol@ toilet. I remember a post by Naijahusband where (I think) Naijawife was supposed to buy him an iPad stand/holder for the toilet! 🙂

      If I’m not jogging, like you, I scribble random thoughts and ideas. But stopping mid-jogging would defeat my purpose. Part of the idea for Battle of Testosterone, came while jogging. I ‘parked’ a couple of sentences in my brain, but visualized the scenes. Later, I was able to ‘flesh’ it out. Maybe practice (plus prayer) is making me perfect?

      Then there’s this thing that happens after all that inspiration. In the harsh light of the midday sun, some ideas that seemed great, start looking, sounding, and feeling foolish …. so you discard them 🙂

      I guess we each find our rhythm and confident place. Another quote from the article I linked to:
      “Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.” I was impressed by your last ‘experiment’ You’re not chasing wind …

      @beautiful sentences, thanks Ife! I should jog more often!

      Liked by 1 person

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