Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Klann-Moren.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began writing, primarily because I was certain that an adventure I had taken would make a blockbuster movie. Since I had zero experience, I suggested to a few Hollywood friends “in the business” they write a screenplay about my great journey. I also suggested who should play my part. And yes, I was informed the act of picking which actors are to be in the movie before there is a signed contract is referred to as Casterbation.
The properly equipped professionals suggested this wasn’t a task to be farmed out—that I should be the one to tell the story—so, I signed up for a creative writing class and began my long-standing love affair with spinning word-webs and fabricating tales from the heart.
This writing journey began with baby steps. While still working as an Advertising and Marketing executive, I wrote short stories as a creative outlet on long plane rides. The goal was to create unique stories told in a distinctive voice. Some of those stories have garnered awards and publication in anthologies. Eleven of them are published in my collection of short stories titled, Like The Flies On The Patio.
One morning while in a writers workshop I read an excerpt from one of my works-in-progress. When finished, the instructor said, “What you have written isn’t a short story; it’s a novel.” He’d planted the seed, and after a year or so of foot dragging it began to sprout.
The idea of human inequality and how it comes to be has always baffled me, so the time period and circumstances compelled me to write the novel, The Clock Of Life, a coming of age story that explores how two unsettling chapters in our history, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, affect the fate of a family, a small southern town, and two boyhood friends.
I’m thrilled it has garnered awards from Writers Digest, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Readers Favorite Book Awards, Kindle Book Awards. It’s a BRAG Honoree and an Awesome Indies AIA Recipient.
Why I write:
Now that I have experience with rhythm, voice, and the love of words, I write for the emotional journey. Writing is so much more than telling the story. It’s about being brave in your choices, being playful, and hiding your meaning and symbolism in plain sight. I close my eyes and enter the scene with my characters.
I write because a well-constructed image, or carefully honed prose, turns me on. When I read inspired passages I stop and savor them, in the same way I interrupt a brisk walk to smell a flower that has caught my attention. I write because I like the magical element of peeling the layers and exploring the characters motives, their decency, and their struggle to make sense of the turns their lives have taken.
I write because it’s fun to wander around the darker corners of the human experience and play with ways to carry the reader along on waves of tension and release, choice and irony. Future projects include another collection of short stories, and I’m finally getting to that novel loosely based on the time I took that great adventure. I still think it would make a good movie.
My Story – The Art:
My taste travels beyond the everyday or the expected, and for the past several years I’ve enjoyed the mystical quality that emits from my series of primitive, three-dimensional figures. I call it Primitive Finds Contemporary. These pieces are formed out of paper mache and accessorized with found objects, primarily from nature.
I love choosing the right materials for each piece that helps define a personality and regal pride reminiscent of another place—a place of ethnic flavor. The goal is to create compelling pieces that have a striking quality and provoke emotion. As poetry has many translations, so does this modern primitive collection and celebration of style.
Like many, I am a fan of Project Runway, and for the past three years have had the opportunity to enter a dress in a runway fashion show competition to create inspired couture using reclaimed, reused or recycled materials. I look forward to this fun, creative endeavor each year. My first entry was a sassy bubble gown and hat constructed of 374 toilet paper and paper towel rolls, and 100 Viva paper towel sheets.
The second dress was inspired by the simple act of playing lotto. It was constructed of approximately 1,600 lottery tickets. The skirt alone was made from 1,500, all folded, origami-style, into a paper “fortune teller.” A team from the California Lottery put together a public relations YouTube video about the “Fanciest Lottery Tickets Around.” I’m proud to say it won Most Elegant On The Runway, and also the Peoples Choice awards.
The seed for last years entry derived from a trip to the mall while watching shoppers eager to show off their high-end shopping bags. This dress was fun and flirty, with designer labels cascading over one another. It took home the Most Creative Use of Materials award. Next year’s entry may incorporate k-cups and extra long cash register receipts from CVS.
Why I make art:
It’s fun making art. It’s an activity that used to be called a play. After you become a certain age, it’s art.
While art is just as solitary and intimate as writing, it’s more instinctive than it is cerebral. It comes more naturally. I like taking a seemingly ordinary item, like a piece of cloth, a broken gadget, or a sliver of bark from a tree, and creating something visually powerful.
I like to see how my art effects the viewer—their fascination with the process and their pleasure at seeing the discarded items in a new light. I find it stimulating even when my work gets a negative reaction. I know my work isn’t for everyone. I wouldn’t want that.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Has it been a smooth road? Of course not. In both writing and art, I am alone for long stretches of time, with very little input other than my own. That sometimes leads to bouts of uncertainty.
With all the brilliant, talented people out there, unless you are a gifted trust-fund-baby, it is sometimes hard to get your work seen. And, for the most part, art is a financial folly. The struggling portion of the “struggling artist” cliche is monetizing what you do.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
For many years, I attended the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for one week each June, to learn, share and connect with a flock of talented, creative minds. I am now honored to have become a Workshop Leader at that same yearly conference.
Back at home, I conduct beginning writer workshops on the fundamentals of craft, and I also coach aspiring new writers to help lessen the weight of their journey.
I show my “Primitive Finds Contemporary” series at Art Shows.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Early on in my life, I didn’t take the artistic part of myself as seriously as I should have. My practical side pushed it to the end of the days, or weeks obligations. With family, work, and all that a busy life brings, I pushed it aside. I wish I hadn’t done that.
- My book, The Clock Of Life, can be found on Amazon. $14.99 paperback. $3.99 Kindle
- My book, Like The Flies On The Patio, is also on Amazon. $10.99 paperback. $3.99 Kindle
- Primitive Finds Contemporary pieces range from $300. to $650.
- Website: nancyklann-moren.com
- Phone: 760 809 3253
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: NancyKlann
- Twitter: @klanncy