Meet Diane Scanzaroli - Runner Up in the 2020 Quarter 1 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest with "The Tango Lesson"

Sunday, April 12, 2020
Congratulations to Diane Scanzaroli and The Tango Lesson. and all the winners of our 2020 Quarter 1 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest!

Diane's Bio:

Diane lives in Denver Colorado and works as a Physician Assistant in a busy refugee clinic. Writing has always been her first love and many years ago she started a degree in Creative Writing at City College in New York. She never completed this degree and now she realizes her life is much stranger than fiction, so she is pursuing a degree in Creative Nonfiction at University College. She is mother to two teen boys, 2 dogs and, a cat. She loves to knit and garden and take long walks through Denver’s urban parks. She writes to keep her sanity.

You can find some of Diane's work online at: 

If you haven't done so already, check out Diane's touching story The Tango Lesson and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations Diane! Thank you for writing this essay - what is the take-away you'd like readers to gain from The Tango Lesson?

Diane:  I think I write this as a way to release some of my feelings towards my husband and our situation. It was very cathartic for me, and since I wrote it to him, I think what I was intending was to make it clear to the reader (and ultimately him) that there was a lot of pain, but also acceptance. Although it might not be clear, I was feeling every sign of aging like a barb, so the bigger piece in which this fits is about aging and loss.

WOW: You bring up a great point that writing gives us release - thank you! Where do you write? What does your space look like?

Diane: I write at my dining room table or in my living room on the sofa with my dog curled next to me. When I am out walking, I have what I think are genius ideas, so to avoid forgetting them, I talk myself, using voice to text. So I walk around my neighborhood, even in the grocery store mumbling sentences and ideas that seem, at the time, incredible. It’s the modern version of the little pencil and notebook I used to carry to jot down ideas. Rarely are they that incredible, but at least I don’t rack my brain trying to recall what it was I wanted to write about.

WOW: Sounds like your dog is supportive, but who else provide you with support - what have you found to be most supportive in your writing life as well as in life in general?

Diane: My sister has been the most supportive, and my close friends as well. Actually, my husband, (not quite ex yet) has been very supportive, even when he has been the not so heroic main character.

WOW: It's excellent that even your "not so heroic" main character can be supportive. Now here's a tough question for all of us:

What advice would you give to others when it comes to self care?

Diane: Since I am not really a writer, and have a full-time job, writing is both my sanity and insanity. I really need a creative outlet and it has always been writing, but I also tend towards mania and struggle with moderation and pacing. When I have an idea or story I want to write, it really starts to take over. I would rather not see friends, I stay up very late writing, and then pay the price when I am seeing patients at my real job. I tell myself it is just creativity, but I think there is a healthier way to be creative. I eat healthily, get exercise and am a firm believer in the healing powers of nature. For me, in Denver, that usually means a walk in my neighborhood, observing the change of seasons, the trees, and birds etc.

WOW: What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for 2020 and beyond?

Diane: I am working on another short story I would like to submit to WOW. My goal is a book of short stories or possibly a memoir. I would like to complete this by the end of the year. I am currently taking a break from my DU online classes and am enrolled in an in-person 10-week course at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

WOW:  Do you have advice for your younger self when it comes to making decisions, believing in yourself, and/or writing? What would your current self say to the younger you?

Diane:  I would tell my younger self to carve out more time for writing and would not feel embarrassed about doing something that feels so frivolous. (frivolous because it is not paying my mortgage) I would tell myself that writing is self-care!

WOW:  Do you have other published pieces (long or short) or books?

Diane:  This is my first published piece other than a short story in a small newspaper in Chelsea in NYC in 1993. They published anything that was submitted!!

WOW: What role has journaling and/or writer's group played in your writing life?

Diane: I just started writing with a group in 2019 when I took an online class for through Denver University. Masterworks Memoir was the first class. It was scary opening up like that to strangers, but it was phenomenal. It really pushed me to take my writing more seriously. I never would have entered WOW if I had not taken a class.

WOW: Do you often enter contests or is this a first? What would you like to tell other authors concerning contests and submitting their work?

Diane: I submitted to 3-4 contests before WOW, pieces that were about my job working with refugees. This was my first time getting anything published. Since I am so new at it, I am not sure what advice to give other than the advice I would give about any endeavor, keep at it, don’t give up.

WOW: Who is your favorite author and why?

Diane:  I have so many, but currently, it would Anne Lamott. She is such a great combination of funny, irreverent and poignant.

WOW: Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. We will be looking forward to hearing more from you in 2020 and beyond! 

Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!

Check out the latest Contests:


joefru said...

this is joe frusci .my father passed and we are having a service for him. i dont know how to get ahold of the rest of the family.It will be at the fairport VFW this friday at 4 pm.just a short military service . if you get this can you let them know. thank you

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