An Introduction to Marzipan

by Jessica Macbeth, Herself



I have to tell you — Marzipan is real. She is a very small ginger Manx cat who, along with her brother and three other cats, share a home with me out in the forest in Western Washington State. Her photo is above and no doubt there will be more pictures of her on these pages. The Marzipan of this world is just as charming and sweet and full of mischief and love as the Marzipan in the book she is writing — who is also real, in her own way. The book-to-be's Marzipan Macbeth lives in Second Life (SL, as we say), a virtual world that can be found with most computers. Just to prove how real she is, Marzipan also has her own page in Facebook with photos from both lives, and she enjoys making friends there.

I first encountered Marzipan in a petshop on Halloween. She and her brother, Duffy MacLyr, were a single extremely active small ball of creamy orange fluff rolling around the floor of a cage at high speed. They were impossible to disentangle, so they both came home with me. Their mission, I thought, was to help the older cats (who had spent their entire two-year lives in a shelter) to be Real Cats. Sally, Susan, and Robbie didn't know how to play, what a string was for, what catnip mice were, how to thunder up and down the stairs at midnight, or even that windows were for sitting in and sunning yourself instead terrifying spaces leading to a truly frightening world.

Marzipan and Duffy taught the big cats proper ambush procedure, gentle and savage wrestling and boxing, sleeping in cat piles, and many other things all cats need to know. Because we live in the wilds where coyotes and the occasional owl and bear roam, all of them have always been indoor dwellers and quite happy about it. Right this moment, however, we are in the process of glassing and screening in the back porch so they can all play out there in our occasional sunshine. This will be another huge change for all of them as none of them have been that nearly outside before. No doubt Marzipan will have things to say about this and the new climbing spaces they will have out on the porch.

The original big cats are now about six years old, and Marzipan & Duffy are about three and a half. A strange thing happened as they were growing up. Duffy shot up, growing visibly larger every day. Marzipan didn't. Now Marzipan weighs in at about 5-1/2 pounds and Duffy, who is big boned, long, and lean, is around 15 pounds. Duffy is mostly bone, muscle, and good nature while Marzipan is mostly eyes and a very great deal of fluffy hair and activity. Duffy is the King of the House. Marzipan rules everyone by a mixture of pure charm and deviousness.

Her interest in the computer has always been great, and when she is sitting here on my knee, watching the screen and making her "murr murr" sounds, I have thoughts that do not occur to me at other times. Hence the stories of Marzipan and the kellas sith dos, the faery wildcats of the old mythic Scotland and the Western Isles, the land between here and Faery. It's always a bit startling when you think you're imagining something and suddenly learn (thanks to Scott McNair) that the beings you think may be a personal fantasy have existed in myth and legend from very ancient times. Marzipan seems to know things that I did not. Ancestral memory?

O! There is one more thing about Marzipan that you really should know. She has no tail. She is tiny and amazingly fluffy, but she has no tail. We believe that she is a Manx cat, at least partly and possibly entirely, as well as part faery spirit. Her brother, Duffy, does have an extremely long and splendid tail, but Manx cats are like that — some have tails and some don't. When Marzipan was very young she used to often inspect the tails of the other cats — she seemed fascinated by them. Now she ignores them thoroughly. I believe that not having a tail has contributed to making her, in her own mind, different from other cats. You may see what I mean as you read her writings.

Lastly, I, too, am real. But like Marzipan, I also have another life in SL where I can do many things that are much more difficult to do outside of the computer — things like flying like Superman, skiing off huge jumps, building mountains and forests, and much else. There, sitting at my desk looking out over the village from the second floor of my SL cottage, the Marzipan of her story and I are writing her book. And when I look up from this world's computer, the Marzipan of this world and her brother, Duffy, and their best friends, Sally, Susan, and gentle Robbie are never very far away. Looking out of my window at what most people call the "real world", we see the forest of the Northwest and we all enjoy watching and sometimes interacting with the wildlife that shares the forest with us.

In fact, I am Marzipan's "Herself" — her human/fae companion in the book-to-be, but the story itself is being inspired by the Marzipan of all our worlds and is written largely from her point of view. The photographs that illustrate these pages and the book-to-be come partly from SL and partly from this world. We hope you enjoy all of our worlds!

Love to you!

— Jesa and ... oops — Marzipan is very busy on moth-patrol right
      now, but consider her tiny pawprint lovingly placed here!

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