About seven years ago I was 100% stuck. I was a first-time mom, newish-wife, working from home, trying to balance a household and didn’t know how I’d be able to make my dream of becoming a writer happen.

On a whim I decided to take a “follow your dreams” weekly evening course out of Brentwood, California by a woman I now consider a mentor, Chellie Campbell. At the end of the first session I went up to her, frustrated that all of the advice seemed geared for people without kids, people who had their days free, and actually slept at night.

I expressed my woes with her, expecting her to say something along the lines of, “Oh my! I didn’t realize you were a mother! Yes, that is a difficult situation!” and join me in wallowing.

Instead she asked me if I was familiar with Toni Morrison, the author of Beloved. Of course I was. She then a spoke a quote that rings in my ears any time I want to use motherhood as an excuse for anything.

When Toni Morrison was asked how she found the time to write as a single, poor mother, she responded that she writes, “in the edges of the day.”

In that moment, all of my excuses were exposed for that they were: lies. Comfortable lies. They were warm blankets against the cold truth that I was using my child to justify my unwillingness to fight for my dream.

The edges are there. Sometimes you have to wait for them, but stay alert. They often whistle softly in the distance like a freight train and require one to run alongside for awhile. I’ve written entire pieces in my head while vacuuming and outlines while rocking a baby to sleep.

So for all of you who dream big dreams while sitting on the floor with little drooling people, surrounded by toys, crumbs, mismatched socks, piles of laundry, and scattered ambition, take heart. And watch for the edges.


11 thoughts on “Edges

  1. Beautiful post. My path to writing began around the edges and I wouldn’t change that. It’s made me appreciate everything that’s happened along the way.

  2. I found my edges about two years back and those edges are a must! My four children respect my me time which many times are neglected once we have children.

  3. Thank you, thank you! I just heard your segment about boredom on CBS Sunday Morning!! It is refreshing to hear a parent remind her children (and ours) that there is so much to do on any given day. You put it very nicely! Thank you, Ms. Laditan

  4. Beautifully written. I love this. I love the way you write. Like listening to a friend. Thanks for finding your edges and pursuing your dream this momma of four is grateful!

  5. I was just telling a friend yesterday about how I only got 4 hours of sleep the night before because I was writing a blog entry after putting our baby to sleep. I was tired, unsure whether I could keep up with everything, always finding ways to use the tiniest margins (or, shall we say, edges?) of my life. Now I’ve wandered from the Honest Toddle Twitter account (which makes me laugh), to the book’s page on Amazon (which makes me jealous), before finally landing here (which makes me want to cry). Thank you for giving me a little kick in the pants today. If I have to keep on using these margins, so be it. Four hours of sleep is better than none, right?

  6. I’m so excited for you. Keep up the great work. Hope all is and remains well. Tell Biyi and Bookie hello!

  7. Absolutely beautiful and perfect. I’ve thought and written so much about this motherhood/writing problem (opportunity)…It’s kind of fascinating to look back at the ways pregnant/childbearing women were once seen as too powerfully creative, and how we’ve been minimized/marginalized/re-cast as inarticulate “mommy brain” babblers…time to rise up from the edges…

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