IBaby Marie grew up the oldest of seven in a creative family, with musical instruments, art supplies, and lots of books! We performed plays, making props, costumes, even paper snow. I loved reading to my younger brothers using different voices for each character. Our college-professor Dad inspired our love of learning and the outdoors. A nurse by training, Mom was always ready with hugs and band-aids, inspiring our love of music, reading, and caring for others, hurt or otherwise. Our pet menagerie included fish, chameleons, turtles, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, and a dog. We made up games to play, inside and out. On nature hikes, I discovered interesting animals, plants and birds. I was always painting, dancing, singing, reading, doing crafts or playing my guitar. My siblings and I still share many interests. (See their websites in my Links section).

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My parents always encouraged us to follow our dreams–I had many!  Ballerina, children’s book illustrator, archaeologist, singer, marine biologist and activist/lawyer. But after a B.A. , English, magna cum laude, M.B.A., and mini-career in marketing, I missed my art. So like Bert in Mary Poppins, I painted murals of places I’d want to visit–at home and for others. I also volunteered at my son’s elementary school as an organizer for several fifth grade mural projects. It was great fun watching the students create their own art on the walls.


Baby Tobin 2

Baby Tobin


My son, Brendan (he painted James and the Giant Peach, above) & his wonderful art teacher in front of 5th grade mural: Scenes from favorite books.

I also wrote — soon writing novels and poems became my biggest passion. But art, music, reading/audio books are still favorite pastimes, along with photography, nature hikes, and bird-watching, which Tim, Brendan and I liked to do together. Bird calls still fascinate me. I even try to imitate some.

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Recently, our son passed away tragically. Only nineteen, he was our world. We loved him so much and still do. Our devastating sadness lingers. We try to look for rainbows, stars, birds, and other signs that Brendan is still with us. In writing, I find solace, remembering that Brendan would want us to know life can still be filled with inspiring moments with family and friends we meet along life’s paths. With paint, or most often, with words, I like to create new worlds to step, sail, tunnel, climb, and fly into. Brendan was an amazing poet: I share one of his poems in the poetry section. Kind and compassionate, he loved being creative–and helping others.  He continues to inspire me. And always as a sparrow must fly, I must write. Like a bird on a wire, I strive for that perfect balance of poetry and economy of line. Then I’m ready to let my fledgling thoughts take wing.  Through sad days, I try to remind myself of my favorite Emily Dickinson, poem which begins, ‘Hope is a thing with feathers . . .’

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia