When I first met Devon through another "mom friend" I immediately thought, "she's cool". And not cool like too-cool, or intimidating, or over-the-top, but rather the kind of cool that immediately puts you at ease while simultaneously psyching you up. Devon emanates warmth and kindness, and good energy, to the point where it's more of a look than a feeling. It reminds me of summers in Arizona when you can actually see the heat radiating off of the asphalt. You don't have to go outside to know that it's hot. You can see it. It's the same with Devon. You don't have to spend time with her to know that she's amazing. But you would be lucky if you did.
Devon surfs. She writes. She skates. She boards. She's great at all of it, but you would never know it, because she is just the right amount of self-deprecating. She fiercely loves her daughter, Avalon, and speaks to her with respect. She's planning to build her a mud-pie station in their yard, she's teaching her how to skate on a half-pipe in their front yard. Devon is a fun mom. She's got another lucky babe on the way in just a few months and she's still out surfing Encinitas waves. She struggles like all of us, but she juggles her passions well. As someone seeking to do the same, I interviewed Devon to learn more about what works for her and what makes her tick. Plus she's a good human doing cool things, and I like those kinds of people. She's even agreed to be an ambassador for our handmade surfboard bags. You can follow along with Devon on her blog, Tales of a Mermaid.
When did you start writing and why? I remember writing a pretty simple “book” I was extremely proud of in second grade. I think it was called Ellie the Elephant except I spelled Ellie “L.E.”. He was trying to live outside the zoo. Later on, I was very inspired by the story of Harriet the Spy in 5th grade and around the same time I had the most inspirational 6th grade teacher who taught us creative writing during the school day. We got to make books about anything we wanted with covers made out of cardboard and wallpaper. She really emphasized the importance of being imaginative, which spoke to me unlike anything else in school. In high school I was very lonely and kept a daily journal about my thoughts since I didn’t really have anyone my age to share them with. I remember thinking that even though I was alone, that I wasn’t alone in my feelings and that, had anyone read my journal, I hoped they could relate to it.
Why are you so passionate about surfing? What motivates you to make time for it when you've got a toddler at home and a baby on the way? It’s probably the thing that makes me feel the most like myself. I get to embody a child with insatiable energy, but also someone wiser who takes deep breaths and notices small things like currents or different shaped bubble clusters that form after a wave breaks. Surfing also brings me back to this primal state where I almost feel like I’m hunting to survive, except in this case it’s just for waves.
What advice do you have for women who are working to balance motherhood with work, passions and other life stuff? I mostly just try to remind myself that no one does all of it all the time. There are some rare magical days where it all comes together and you might finish a project you were working on, make a great dinner, surf or workout, get quality time with friends and family, watch your kid successfully use the potty and take a three hour nap, but just like those days aren’t every day for you, they aren’t every day for anyone else either. Life just seems designed to be about a constant give and take.
If you had to pick between writing and surfing, which would you choose? Surfing. But that’s easy to say right now since I haven’t been in two weeks and I feel desperate for the salt water; like I actually have gills that are drying out.
If you were traveling to a deserted island for a month, what one thing you would bring (other than Avalon and your husband, Scott)? A surfboard for sure. It’d be hard not to have a journal though, so hopefully I could fabricate something. I feel anxious when I don’t have somewhere to put my thoughts.
Moral of the story: whatever you create, whether it be words on a page, turns on a wave, or handmade surfboard bags, do it with passion.