When I was young -- really young -- I wanted to be a chipmunk.
At least, that's what I said any time a grown-up asked, "What do
you want to be when you grow up?"
Sometimes, I imagined being a gull riding the waves or
Amelia Earhart flying around the world. I dreamed of
becoming a ballerina. If I couldn’t fly, I thought, I'd leap.
After reading National Velvet, I wanted to be a jockey,
even though I’d never ridden a horse.
The day I was assigned an essay to write about Career Goals,
I stared at the blank paper, the clock, then at the paper.
My mother, who was a very wise woman, must have heard me
moaning. She walked into my room and listened to me rattle
off a litany of possibilities. "Why not become a writer?
If they can't doing something, they pretend they can."
She kissed my forehead and left the room.
Eventually, that is what I chose to do. However, I didn't start
writing children's stories until after I had received my M.F.A.
in Creative Writing, a Masters in Education, and taught for
twenty-five years. Teaching didn't keep me from writing short
stories and poetry; in fact, it prompted me to write more.
How could I expect others to write, if I didn't practice the art
myself? Then, something incredible happened: my students
and I collaborated on the Hap and Chauncey Series, stories
about two zany dogs who leaped parts of speech in a single
bound, diagrammed sentences faster than a speeding greyhound,
and recited Shakespeare's sonnets more powerfully than Kenneth
Brannaugh, They barked in figurative language, chased squirrels,
and howled at the moon -- all at the same time.
Then, another incredible thing happened: I left teaching,
despite my love for my students and the subjects I taught.
You need to devote more time on your own writing, a voice
nagged inside me. As it grew louder, a friend said, "Mary,
why don't you turn your art form into a business?"
Thus began the most unexpected journey I could ever imagine:
the founding of MarmooWorks: a company featuring original,
whimsically rich children's books that promote literacy and a love
for learning & language at an early age; a company that engages
readers of all ages; a company that produces the element of
surprise -- creating companion pieces where books fly off
the cover and land anywhere.
A visual storytelling of Mary's founding
MarmooWorks: its Trials & Triumphs