Artwork by Evy Morelli

Friday, November 4, 2011

Diane, through Plexiglass, September 2011

UnoArts Finds New Roots

Ever have one of those years?  You know, when you move to a new town, your life changes focus, and you get three root canals done?  No?  Well, I have!

An opportunity arose this spring when I turned a corner and found myself writing for a new market: this time, short fiction.  I promptly got published twice--I mean, I got paid for it--and won a writing award. 

Well, at first I was elated, then I panicked.  I thought, If I'm going to pursue this fiction-writing business, I'll need a constant flow of material to write about.  So I accepted a new position in a neighboring town in which I spend 8 hours a week teaching 4th through 6th graders how to write stories and poems.  Yeah, yeah, I was an English teacher in my former life, but that was for middle and high school kids.  This is a whole new world.

... of hurt.  These little ruggers are ruthless!  First of all, unlike me, they are armed.  They're equipped with energy.  And they have no inhibitions.  They look at me, all wide-eyed, and say mean things like:  "Are you old?  Like 30 or 40 or something?"  I have to bite my tongue, or else I might respond with "Why you little whipper-snapper!" and REALLY show my age.

As a result of all this material-gathering for my fledgling fiction-writing career, I am sleeping less and grinding my teeth more.  Hence, the dental problems.  I really did have three--count 'em THREE--root canals.  This coastal paradise we moved to a year ago has everything, but it can't cure lousy teeth.  I do like my dentist though; you gotta love a dentist who has surfboards in his waiting room.

Aloha!  from Diane

(The pic is me and my Lillian Dean Writing Award for Short Story.  It really is an honor and I'm grateful.  I will be posting some short pieces written by both me and my mom, Evy.  Stay tuned ...)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Happened to March?

Why does time pass so much more quickly the older you get?  The entire month of March came and went, before we had a chance to post.  Not only that, but it's halfway through April!  We could mumble something about several birthdays this month, or being super-busy with painting, writing, and gardening, etc., but it would just be an excuse.

Diane finished teaching her art/writing classes for Lucia Mar this year.  It was so much fun!  Proof that education is a lifelong activity.  She will be focusing on her own writing--until the summer classes begin.  Actually, we could say that teaching made us too busy to post last month ... nah, that's not true either!

What is true, though, is that we're still adjusting to life here in our new home on the Central Coast, and life without Dad.  Dad left us a year ago April 4, at the age of 92.  Each of us deal with such things in our own way.  Evy (Mom) was compelled to write an open letter to him, her husband of over 60 years.  We'd like to include it here for anyone who can appreciate loss, coping, and carrying on.  This one's for you, Dad--Salud!

Dear Micky,
     It's been one full year since you left us.  Hard to believe that so much time has gone by.  Last evening, Ken brought home some pizza for us -- sort of a little symbol in our memory of you.  Ken opened the special bottle of wine I gave him last Christmas.  He said it was extra good wine, no comparison to the cheaper red wines he usually drinks.  I remarked, "Dad would have loved joining us with a glass of wine."
     I miss you so much -- probably more than either Ken or Mare realizes, because I tend to grieve in silence.  Oh, how I long to be able to sit beside you and discuss various issues -- even small ones, like enjoying the beautiful colors of a bouquet of roses.
     My new roses here in my new home are not nearly as robust as the ones I had in Poway.  But, I have to give them time.  Time.  They say that "time heals all."  Perhaps time eases, but it does NOT heal.
     I've tried to get back to some honest piano practice.  It's very frustrating as my fingers stumble on the keys and I realize how much I've lost.  But, I have to give that time, too.  Wouldn't it be great if I could regain enough technique to again play Chopin's Ballade in G Minor?  I'll never forget how much you helped me with that music.  I only wish I could have taken better advantage of your ability and coaching, but we had too many interruptions in our journey together.
     That's life!
Love, Evy ("The Lady")

Thursday, February 10, 2011

About Computers and Insomnia and Creativity

Hello! Diane here. Retiring and relocating to the Central Coast has created a kind of monster in me. I can't stop writing! I used to have a million and one reasons for not writing, including the dirty dishes, the loads of laundry, and the piles of paperwork I had to take care of on a regular basis. Then I got a netbook for Christmas, and I can't leave it alone! I crank out poetry, story ideas, journal entries, short stories, and plays faster than you can say, “Don't you have some errands to run?”

We creative types are famous for having sleep disturbances. I used to have a terrible time with that. Now, when I wake up in the middle of the night and the old anxieties start to creep into my consciousness, I grab my netbook and they melt away. In their place are the sparks for short pieces of writing: memoirs taken from childhood experiences, articles about music and travel, character sketches of interesting people I've known.

After I finish a piece, I have a sense of accomplishment, enough to allow alpha waves to take over in my brain (alpha waves are the ones associated with states of relaxation and peacefulness). Pretty soon I'm into the stages of sleep. Way better than sleeping pills, wine, turkey, or any of the other remedies insomniacs are told to try!

Anything can trigger a memory worth writing about. An old song comes on the radio—bam! I'm 16 again, at a high school dance. I get a whiff of peanut butter—zip! My mom's fresh-baked peanut butter cookies are on the counter and I am a hungry 8-year-old. A dragonfly floats into my yard—pow! I'm reminded of a pair of dragonfly earrings I had when I was 13 … which in turn reminds me of the time my best friend pierced my ears (it involved ice cubes and a sewing needle). Well, you get the idea!

And that reminds me to remind YOU about my next Adult Education class which starts in March:
Memoirs - Essays of Yesterdays (writing your personal life stories)

What to do: Go to the Lucia Mar School District website and register for the class online.
Need help with your report or manuscript? Get editorial assistance here!
Want study guides? A custom study guide can be created for whatever your English Comp, Literature, or Language Arts class is throwing at you!

Email with questions for Diane:

Don't forget that Evy is available for all your art questions and needs. You can email her at We look forward to hearing from you!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sample Color Chart

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Starting Over

Happy New Year! 

This always seems to be a time for new beginnings – a time to re-assess, to re-evaluate, to reorganize – a time to start over. That could be merely clearing out the garage, rearranging the furniture, or setting new goals for the coming year.

As for Diane and me, our relocation to our new home put many of our intended goals and projects “on hold.” We barely had time to catch our breath, when the busy holiday season stared us in the face. For the most part, Diane's writing projects were set aside, and my paints were put on the shelf.

As for me, being a watercolorist demands constant practice. If one must postpone painting for any length of time (say, 3 years or more), it's like starting over. So, what is the best way to get those brushes in action again? For me, it's simply making color charts.

I have started by making swatches of 16 of the darkest pigments in my collection. By starting with the full intensity of a color, such as Payne's Gray, Van Dyke Brown, or Dragon's Blood, then pulling it down with clear water, you immediately see the color in its full range of values – very dark, mid-tone, and very light. Next step is to do one or more monochromatic paintings, with some of these pigments. This is my way of starting over.

As for Diane, she is back at work on her various writing projects, including a novel. But, she is also gearing up for some classes she is committed to teach here in adult education (see previous blog for details).

A new home, a new year.  We're starting over and it's a great feeling!