Growing up, my dad worked as a lawyer so his days were filled paperwork,and laws, but when he’d come home to tuck me into bed his imagination would run wild. He would tell me stories about a taxi driver named Marceau who was always going on some new adventure. I loved it. After retiring from his career as a lawyer, I convinced him to write down his stories and one day, I surprised him by publishing one of his books. That was the start of his new career at the age of 70—a children’s book author. I already know how awesome my dad is but I wanted you to get to know him too. Read more about him below—and find out how you can win one of five copies of my dad’s children’s book, “The Flights of Marceau—Race to the Rescue“.
Love you, Dad!
1. When we were young, you used to share stories with us about a taxi driver named Marceau. How did you come up with Marceau’s character?
I remember that I had just finished reading a very exciting adventure book and wondered if I could write a story that good.
I said to myself, “Marceau is my name and this is my tale” and it happened to rhyme with whale. “I have traveled the seas on the back of a whale” and in one quick thought the entire character became clear in my mind.
Marceau is a taxi driver. A noble job it is, but the repetitiveness of his daily experiences led him to create imaginary adventures. He and his best friend, Majesty the eagle, return from Imagination (yes, there really is such a place) with a new story of an amazing adventure that he relates to the kid in the backseat of this cab whom he takes to and from school every day.
2. Marceau always had great adventures. Do you feel like part of you was living vicariously through his character?
I wouldn’t call it living vicariously—that’s indirectly living something through somebody else. Imagination is a magical, wonderful place to visit. Majesty and I go there often. We don’t just go there to visit. We go and usually do some good.
3. You were a lawyer for 50 years and then retired and now living out your second act as a children’s author. Do you wish you’d done it sooner?
I sure do. It would have been nice to have always been an author but as a young man with a family to support and a daughter that I had to buy makeup for, I didn’t have the option. What I have now is wonderful and all the more precious because I am able to put all of my energy into my new career–it was worth the wait.
As satisfying as it is to be a writer, it doesn’t compare to the feeling I get when reading and discussing imagination and writing to eager school children, many of whom thank me for motivating them. Now that’s a good feeling. You should see my fan mail!
4. What is your advice for those who want to reinvent themselves but may think it is too late?
It’s never too late and I’m a prime example of that. I didn’t get started as a writer until I was past 70. Why would anyone choose to retire and do nothing, even if they could afford it? Every one of us has a great story to tell—all we need to do is write it down.
5. You encourage the children to use their imaginations. Tell us more about that.
Imagination is a thinking game and like any game, the more time you spend playing it, the better you get and the more you enjoy it. We start by closing our eyes and picturing ourselves riding upon an eagle. They see themselves, as they would in a movie, flying around. I take them one step further into this place called “Imagination”—we close our eyes again and this time, we imagine sitting on the eagle’s back, “feel how soft her feathers are” and when we take off, we are no longer looking at ourselves out there flying around. Instead, we look down and see the school, the playground, our house, and our friends. We are now at the center of our imagination.
6. What do you think it is about Marceau and his adventures that makes the kids excited to read?
What kid wouldn’t want to ride on an eagle? Swim with a whale? Make friends with a dinosaur? These are all tempting and exciting things to do. And when reading, I’m hoping they all reach my favorite vacation spot—Imagination.
Is your imagaintion going yet? If you could fly to Marceau’s Imagination destination, what would you see? Tell us in the comments below—Bobbi will pick her favorite five responses to win a copy of Joe Brown’s “The Flights of Marceau—Race to the Rescue“. Now, let your imaginations fly…