Marietta McCarty

About the Author


“What a full, rich circle all of us wove. Thanks, old bedroom closet, for the memories and refresher course. May gratitude rule my life and steer me true. ”

—Leaving 1203


Marietta McCarty’s fourth book entitled Leaving 1203: Emptying a Home, Filling the Heart releases to her great delight October 9, 2018. She is the author of bestseller Little Big Minds: Sharing Philosophy with Kids, Nautilus Gold Award winner How Philosophy Can Save Your Life: 10 Ideas That Matter Most, and The Philosopher’s Table: How to Start Your Philosophy Dinner Club—Monthly Conversation, Music, and Recipes.

Marietta enjoyed lively philosophy circles among her college students at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia for more than two decades before setting off on her career as an author. Her books lead her into new circles of fledgling philosophers of all ages—on playgrounds, in dining rooms, through back doors into kitchens, through front doors into libraries and restaurants, at business meetings and after-work parties.

Defining philosophy as “the art of clear thinking,” in 2013 Marietta brought all the mental clarity she could muster to the emotional and physical challenge of emptying her family home of fifty-six years.

Returning to her hometown, the three months of home emptying taught her anew the old lessons in good living. She experienced, firsthand and unforgettably, the meaning of joy, kindness, relationship, empathy, generosity, and gratitude, for example, longtime core ideas central to her philosophical teaching. Marietta’s crystal-clear memories evoked as home emptier proved that the foundation of her first three books was cemented long ago in the bricks and mortar of the old home. As a child at 1203, she indulged in simple pleasures and outdoor fun, good conversations marked by listening and respect, laughter and a sense of belonging.

After spending a happy childhood in Richmond, Virginia, Marietta graduated a summa cum laude member of Phi Beta Kappa from Hollins University and earned her Master’s in philosophy from the University of Virginia. Her induction into the Hollins Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999 points to her love affair with sports of all kinds—director of the Blue Ridge Tennis Camp for fourteen summers, baseball player with child philosophers, coach of field hockey and basketball teams.

I’ve caught a lot of breaks in my life, but none compares to this opportunity to stop, to turn, and to look back at all the lives entwined at 1203, to appreciate them, together and alone, in their fullness.
— Leaving 1203

Pieces of 1203 reside with her at her home in Charlottesville, where she keeps her eye on the prize of good living through teaching and learning, speaking and listening.

The old home had surprises waiting for its remaining resident, secrets to share with its emptier—new insights about those nearest my heart.
— Leaving 1203