Being Merry

Author/Artist Merry BrennanHere’s my “official” bio blurb for anyone who wants a
“Merry Brennan is an award-winning journalist, communications consultant, adjunct writing professor and author of the biographical novel, Peace Pilgrim: walking her talk against hate. She’s finishing a teen/’tween realistic fiction, Mystery Scars. The Jersey Shore resident is mom to three terrific children and an old lab, Scout, who breaks into the refrigerator when no one’s looking. Connect with her at, where she blogs about writing and living in peace.”

If you want additional details, feel free to read my Professional Profile. But if you’d like more of a personal peek, here goes:

It’s funny having a name like “Merry” because sometimes I’m not – even when I always am. And it’s the not times that finally made me an author.

You see, when I was six, I imagined a grown-up life writing books for children and teens. I made up tons of stories and won several kid-type creative awards. Before I was out of high school I even had my first sale to Highlights. 

But then my journey led down other paths. I can “blame” it on a lot of things. On getting married, on battling infertility, on getting unmarried. On leaving for South America with a backpack. On coming home and getting married again. On finally having babies. On needing to make money, on helping aging parents, on being too busy. Really, though, it was fear. I just didn’t have the courage to follow my dreams.

Oh, I never stopped writing. My articles appeared in dozens of publications and my eco-column, Earthways, was reprinted internationally. Plus, my digital Earthways Art has been featured in several galleries and calendars. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work as a communications consultant, adjunct college professor and outdoor naturalist. I also had the honor of serving as an elected official in my small town of Belmar, N.J., and I’ve been deeply rewarded by my involvement in arts, environmental and social justice circles.

Yet, I always carried a black hole where my childhood fantasy used to be. So finally – after a lot of inner wrangling –  I pointed my compass back to the power of storytelling.

I almost derailed a bunch of times. My mind kept screaming, “YOU’RE TOO OLD!”    “YOU’RE TOO TECH-CHALLENGED!”  “YOUR STUFF’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”

But I navigated these booby traps. In early 2013 I published my first book, Peace Pilgrim: walking her talk against hatea biographical novel about an amazing New Jersey woman who walked across the country seven times with only the clothes on her back to promote peace. I’m also finishing another young adult novel, Mystery Scars.

We rarely know the impact of our work. But if my books prompt one young person to tell about sexual abuse instead of attempting suicide, to raise a welcome hand instead of an AK-47, or even just to throw a candy wrapper in the garbage rather than on the ground, then I will be a gratified author.

And along the way, I am able to prove that we are never too old, too out-dated or too anything to follow our dreams! I’m embracing my journey – my Merrymorphosis – and I’d love to hear your “morphosis” story!
Contact me at

7 thoughts on “Being Merry

  1. Merry,
    Your website is extremely slow when loading. Might be on this end. I’m not a computer geek, but if others say the same thing there are easy fixes. Might be a plug-in problem. Might just be me. Just sayin’.

  2. Merry,
    Found your blog today while looking for “teaching punctuation by using traffic signs.” Good stuff and I’ll visit you again. I’m new to the blogosphere and have a writing/editing blog. I’m still customizing my blog site and editing static content. But I do have a few posts.

    My next post is about using dialogue when writing fiction. I’d like your permission to copy the information on your page called Traffic Control: punctuation pointers. I’ll say that I got it from your blog, and I’ll include a URL to it. In the near future, that link might help generate some traffic to your blog. I’d like to have my post ready before Tuesday. So, if you do not want to give permission, I’ll have to get an explanation of the traffic signs punctuation method elsewhere. Rather use yours.

    Wishing you the best.
    Lamont E. Wilkins

    • Dear Lamont,
      Please feel free to use anything that might help improve the horrendous state of punctuation and grammar in our fragile writing world:-) The traffic signs are not original with me, but work very well in all my classes. Feel free to copy as you wish — always appreciate the shout-out to my site. Best of luck!

      • Merry,
        Thanks, and once I’m making contact I’ll for sure recommend your blog.

        I might not be the stickler for “correct” grammar you’re thinking I am. Years ago, as an undergrad and in grad school, I had six or seven courses with the late Carol S. Franks, and Carol was the greatest writing teacher I’ve met. Carol was a descriptivist, but she uncritically presented prescriptivism so her students could decide for themselves. I decided that what is good enough for Carole is good enough for me.

        When I’m editing my nonfiction, I’ll go by Joseph M. Williams, or I’ll use The Chicago Manual of Style; when doing technical writing, I do whatever I’m being paid to do. But with fiction I don’t rely on a style book or go by many definitive rules. But I do believe some rules are necessary. I know how to use punctuation, and when in doubt I always use a style book or other reliable source, but you can destroy fiction by being grammatically correct. In September, I wrote a post on the subject: DEAD WRITERS SURE WRITE PRETTY. Maybe read it when you have absolutely nothing better to do. Agree, disagree, I’d love to get your opinion. Find any mistakes on my blog, please don’t point them out. I haven’t edited it yet. I know, I should have all that done before I launch a writing/editing blog. My static content and posts are in good shape; if somebody notices any mistakes they probably do not need my services. I have it near perfect later.

        Carol Franks did not push her own book, The Structure of English, which she co-wrote with Jeanette S. DeCarrico. She used her book so we’d learn what a sentence can do. Not many books parse sentences as interestingly as Jeanette and Carol’s book does. After all, good writing is sentence after sentence after sentence.…

        Thanks and wishing you the best.


  3. Merry –
    It has been far too long since we have been in touch and I am thrilled to see and read about what you are doing. You have been much on my mind in the past few months for obvious reasons. I have been a poor communicator to past friends of late – I often think new technology makes one lazy to keep those precious lines open – but I am striving to do better. You are inspiring me and I will work toward my own “suemorphosis”, which I feel I am desperately in need of at this point in my life. I look forward to reading about the Peace Pilgrim and will forward to my dear friend Ragan, an inspired teacher of 7th graders. I am sure she will find your postings fascinating and will try to incorporate it into her curriculum.
    Here’s to keeping in better touch in the future!

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