Baby Marie

I grew up the oldest of seven in a creative family, with musical instruments, art supplies, & 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 & band-aids. They both inspired our love of music, reading, & caring for others, hurt or otherwise. Our pet menagerie included fish, chameleons, turtles, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, & a dog. We made up games to play, inside & out. On nature hikes, I loved to discover interesting animals, plants & birds. I was always painting, dancing, singing, reading, doing crafts or playing my guitar. My siblings & I still share many interests. (See their websites in Links section).

Tobin Grad

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., & mini-career in marketing, I missed my art. So like Bert in Mary Poppins, I painted murals at home & for others of places I’d want to visit. I 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 & poems became my passion. Art, music, reading/audio books, photography, nature hikes, & bird-watching are other favorite activities. Bird calls fascinate– I even try to imitate some.

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Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Our son passed away tragically. Only nineteen, he was our world. We loved him so much and still do; deep sadness lingers. We look for rainbows, stars, birds, and other signs Brendan’s still with us. In writing, I find solace, remembering that he’d want us to know life can still be filled with inspiring moments with family & friends we meet along life’s paths. With words, more than paint these days, I can create new worlds to step, sail, tunnel, climb, and fly into. Our kind, compassionate son was a wonderful poet who continues to inspire me. And always, as a sparrow must fly, I must write. Like a bird on a wire, I strive for a balance of poetry & economy of line. Then I’m ready to let my fledgling thoughts take wing.  On sad days, I recite my favorite Emily Dickinson poem: ‘Hope is the thing with feathers.’