When we are little ones, basking in the glow of imagination and play, we dream of becoming something extraordinary. If we are lucky, we are read books and told stories with wild adventures, exotic travels, and magical endings. We find ourselves dreaming of becoming the astronaut, the teacher, or perhaps even, the storyteller themselves.
For Marissa Bloom, her childhood dreams are becoming a reality.
For this final edition of Rhythm of the Home, we chose to profile Marissa’s story in the hopes that we would leave you all with the idea that dreams can always become reality, and chasing those dreams is a never ending process of creativity and imagination.
Marissa has been a part of my community’s breastfeeding, birth and early childhood community for some time now. As a LLL leader, her voice is often heard, and certainly respected amongst so many mothers, leaders, and professionals. When I heard that she was taking the leap and turning her dream of becoming a children’s book author into a reality, I was intrigued. When I realized that she was doing it all on her own, from start to finish, I was in awe.
I have been lucky to sit down a few times with Marissa over the course of the last month, and talk with her about how her journey has unfolded, and how she made the decisions she has for her family and her company. Her story is inspiring, not just because of what she is creating, but why.
Marissa began our time talking with a story of her memories of her mother reading to her. She remembers sitting for hours, her mother in her chair and Marissa by her side, simply reading books. As I listened to her talk, it was so clear, from the emotions in her voice, how much this time had shaped who she has become, and why her life is taking her in the direction that it is. Marissa developed an early love of the written word, and at the ripe age of 7, became a writer herself. She carried a thesaurus, and lived for the school book fair and her time at the library.
Like many young girls, Marissa learned a lot about herself from the books she was reading. Some of it positive, and some not as much. As she aged and found herself engulfed in chapter books, she learned how to date, how to dress and talk, and how to perceive who society thought she should become.
She kept those images and feelings in mind as she began writing books for her own children. It was her desire to ensure that the values and themes that she conveyed had a positive and affirming tone.
In my conversations with Marissa, what I was most struck by was her dedication to the values that she would like to impart, as a mother, a writer, and a person. She holds with firm intention to everything that she does, and she surrounds herself with people who value the message she hopes to convey.
I was, of course, intrigued by how her writing process unfolded, and her stories came to life. While it is her hope that everyone can relate to her books, and the characters within them, she is not writing a book with commercial aspirations. In many respects, it is the value behind the books, rather than the characters inside of them that Marissa hopes her readers will align with. She places a value on empathy and kindness, and the nurturing of emotional intelligence. She also hopes to help normalize the practices that can connect a family and that many families find to be important in child rearing, with subtle images of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, and multi-generational households.
As with all dreams, Marissa waited until the calling to write could no longer be questioned or silenced. She needed to put the words to the page, and so, slowly, she began to research just how she wanted her journey to take shape. Her books were written from a very organic process, as they started out as stories that she would tell her own children, and then somehow have to commit to paper once they were firmly in her head. She would write in her head, so often in the middle of the night, and one can only imagine the challenge it would take to be able to remember the story come morning.
As she researched online how to bring this dream to a reality, Marissa discovered that there were many options open when it came to publishing. She was inspired by the success stories of those that had self-published, and she realized that it was important to define what success would be for her. It was with that in mind that she created her publishing company, Little Linden Press.
Each step of the way, Marissa has carefully chosen her path. She has been involved in every aspect of bringing her books to light, from the layout, to designing the illustrations, to picking the illustrator, to deciding how to fund her dream.
Marissa joins with a new group of creators in using the Kickstarter campaign as a means to bring her work to fruition. As the boundaries of business are shrinking, and more and more is available to the independent creator, Kickstarter is an amazing way to build a business, or a book, as this case would have.
Marissa Bloom is a woman who took a leap, and is more than willing to risk what she needs to fulfill her goal. She is joining with others to break the boundaries of traditional roles, in favor of a beautiful balance between raising her children, and following her heart. She is the new generation of creator, as she aims to not only write her story, but create it from start to finish. She is a woman, a storyteller, a creator, and most importantly, a dreamer.
Heather Fontenot, co-editor and publisher of Rhythm of The Home, lives with her family on the Front Range of Northern Colorado. As a writer, doula, and yoga teacher, Heather has a passion for natural and creative living, and spends as much of her time outdoors as possible. She loves to knit, sew, garden, and homeschool her four sweet little ones. She writes the blog Shivaya Naturals, where she chronicles her life as a mother, artist, and gluten-free baker. Heather’s first book, Naturally Fun Parties for Kids was released in March of 2012.