“What’s a Marmoo?” I asked my pup
when we went for a walk and had a talk.
“A Marmoo,” he yapped,
“is a little of this, a little of that.”
“What do you mean?” I said to him.
“Is it large or small or medium?”
“All three!” Pup woofed, looking at me.
“How can that be? Describe it, please.”
“It hops like a flea, scampers up trees,
hangs from its tail, pretending to sleep.
It crawls like a snail, swims like a whale,
carries a pouch to deliver the mail,
and wiggles its gills while hiking up hills.
It thump-thumps its chest, wears a striped vest,
and changes spots into polka-dots.
It flies at night and plays all day,
except at noon when it takes a snooze
and dreams of cows jumping over moons.”
“I’d like to meet such a mixed-up beast,
a creature of curiosity.
Could you give me clues to find Marmoo?”
“Happy to help!” my pup yelped.
“Let’s begin with a simple thing:
Breathe in, breathe out, don’t make a sound.
Squeeze your eyes tight and spin around.
When you stop, pull off your socks.
and touch your nose with your toes.
Roll like a ball, then stand up tall.”
“Fantastic!” Pup yipped.
“With a little of this
and a little of that,
you just proved
there’s a Marmoo
living in you!”
© Mary Arete Moodey 2018
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
" . . . A mixture of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. . . I love it!" -- Rosemary Omniewski, Ph.D | Early Childhood Education & Children's Literature
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