Archive for September, 2013

Mondays with Melitas – September 30, 2013

“I had hoped that by now I would be able to get my hands hitting the right keys on the keyboard and that I would be able to give you the latest scoop on the progress of the old knee cap.
The fingers are all beat up because they are attached to the hands and then to the arms which have been overworked in lifting my own body.
Three more weeks in the leg brace and then we will have some news – good or bad.
So right now I am going back to bed to lie on my back.  I have to pretty much stay flat on my back  and that’s  not much fun.  It isn’t cozy.  Remember when you are all nicely cuddled up in your mother’s womb?
Once I master the Dragon Program then you all be bored stiff  because I can talk a lot more than I can write.
P.S.  That Dragon Program types whatever you say into it into the computer”.
mel septmel and dragon
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October Classes begin on October 1st!

To enroll in these workshops you can email me at

or call me at 760.989.2232 for availability!

I would love to have you join us!me and plaque


Healing Heart Workshop
Tuesdays Oct 1, 8, 15, 22

9:30 – 11:00

The plot of every memoir is the memoirist’s quest to make meaning out of life experiences.  The goal of this workshop is to help you write the truth about your life, to create a memoir that helps you put unresolved conflicts behind you, help heal your past wounds, and help you find meaning, value and inspiration for your life.

Legacy: Childhood Memories
Tuesdays October 1, 8, 15, 22
11:30 – 1:00
By the end of the four weeks you will have so many vignettes of childhood stories to write your early years.  This class is jam packed full of great questions to write and think about it.  The majority of this class is spent writing and sharing memories to build up that section of your memoir.  This is a fun class that will jump start those childhood memories!
Memoir Block Structure #1 

Tuesdays October 1, 8, 15, 22
1:30 – 3:00
This is part of the workshop that I taught at the Big Bear Retreat.  I would recommend this class if you are interested in the fundamental building blocks for writing your memoir, putting childhood in memoir, how to use flashbacks in telling your story and the important use of a timeline construction of a memoir.  (If you are brand new to writing I would suggest starting with Healing Heart or Legacy Childhood or Write Your Life Series…those are all great starting points!)
Write Your Life Series #1   
Thursdays October 3, 10, 17, 24
11:30 – 1:00

I love this series…you will be filled full of wisdom when you take these classes!  This first four weeks we work on topics such as developing your mission statement, memory questions to plunge you into your memories, how to anchor your story, the people and places in our lives, holidays and history.  You will have opportunities to write in class and share and you will have a lot of great ideas for your memoir if you take this series!  

Summer Rewind 2013
Thursdays October 3, 10, 17, 24
1:30 – 3:00
Were you off having an amazing summer and wish you could have taken my summer offerings?  Well, no worries because summer rewind will bring back each class that was offered all summer.  This 4 week series will cover topics such as: Benefits of Journal Writing and Writing into your Pain,  Writing Towards a More Disciplined Writing Life, Developing your Writing Craft and Memoir, Journal Writing and Story Telling.
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Open House Monday, September 23

Open House at TLC
Writing Workshops!
Graduates at IW Club

 Monday, September 23 
    10:30 am  – 1:30 pm
Please join me Monday, September 23 from 10:30 – 1:30!! Yes, that is tomorrow!!
Bring some friends and you all receive a free gift! Whether you are one of my new students or a familiar face, I have some coupons for all of you!  Come take your next workshop at a savings!  Plus I will give you an extra 10 dollars off your next workshop for each new friend you bring with you…share the love!
Come see all the new curriculum and let me answer your questions!
New workshops begin the first week of October!  For a full description of the excellent classes visit my website at
Open house is at my office at 77-734 Country Club Drive Suite A-3 Palm Desert, CA 92211
My office is near Washington with the closest cross street being Park Center.  From Country Club turn on Park Center and turn right on Springfield, 2nd dwy turn right and I am the 2nd bldg on the right!  Stop by and say hello!!!
I hope you can join me and learn more about how much fun and rewarding it is to write your memoir!
Tammy L. Coia
email me at
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Guest Blog by Magdalena Molina – September 18, 2013

Magdalena has been my student for several years and I have so enjoyed hearing her stories.  She recently moved to Riverside after the death of her beloved husband, Ralph.  I really enjoyed reading this story that she wrote to share on this blog…enjoy!!  Tammy Coia


Three events occurred that changed our lives.  First, shortly after Nana Panchita, (Francisca Grijalva) died, the extended family structure broke apart.  Aunts and Uncles were moving away.  We could always depend on our extended family to help us when Papa was unemployed.  Secondly, Papa was having difficulty finding steady employment.  It could have been that we were also undergoing the 1930’s ‘Great Depression’.  No jobs and no home.  Finally, our family ended up homeless.

Mama became desperate and hysterical and begged Papa to find us a place to live.  Since he could not find a home, he decided to make one for us.  Guess where?  In the “Yuma County Dump”!  We thought it was great!  My oldest sister, Ramona, Lupe and brother, Claudio and I were told to start collecting empty cans from the dump.  Dad went to the nearby woods and started collecting tall, straight, thin trees and hauling them to the place he selected for our new home. Yes!  There were trees in the desert, especially where Papa chose the site, by a large canal where trees grew.

Papa picked a small sand dune for our home and had to level and flatten it first.  He made a flat board with planks he found in the dump, tied them together and pulled the board with ropes.  Mama and Papa pulled the board with all of us on to to add weight.  That was fun and it was just the beginning.

Papa started the foundation; approximately one hundred and forty feet square, (10 ft. by 14 ft.).  It was the size of a small bedroom today.  He buried the poles made from the tree trunks and framed the walls.  He used smaller tree limbs to connect the poles by tying them with rope.  The limbs were tied on both sides of the poles to create slats to hold the cans to start the walls.

Next, Papa made a mud hole and filled it with water.  He told Lupe, Claudio and me to jump in and make mud.  We sloshed in the mud with delight and joy, slithering and sliding until our parents tired of hearing our laughter and screeching.  Papa added straw to the mud and instructed us to mix the straw and mud until it would hold together.  Our next chore was to jam the cans between the slats until all the walls were ready for the final step.  In the meantime, as we jammed them in the walls, the mud was setting to the right consistency.  Throwing the mud on and around the cans and on us was the final step to the walls and so enjoyable that we didn’t want to stop.  We were dismayed when we finished jamming the mud between the cans and had to let it dry.

However, the room was only for sleeping.  Mama divided the room by using a curtain to make two rooms; one smaller than the other.  The small one was for Mama, Papa and two babies.  the second was for a large bed for Ramona, Lupe and me.  A small cot was placed for Claudio.  Total family size was eight.  We did not need closets as our wardrobe was so limited, we didn’t even think of it.

Papa made a ‘ramada’, (now they are called patios), on the south side of the house.  The ramada was used for cooking and eating outdoors.  Papa sunk a well for our fresh water under the shady ramada.  It was fun living in our own house and we named it, ‘la casa de botes’, (the house of cans).

Later, Papa built another building; an enclosed dining area across from the first building.  This was made of wood planks and window screens to keep the flies out.  It was great to get up in the morning and walk to the patio, pump water to wash ourselves and walk to the breakfast room.  We loved our home.

We were isolated at the dump, but Claudio and I had fun exploring the canal, the trees and the dump.  We could hear the coyotes in the evening.  We watched the quail families in the mornings.   The Queshans, known as the ‘Yumas’ were our neighbors.  They are and were a tribe of the Yuma Nation.

Unfortunately, the County officials discovered our home close to the dump and ordered us out.  Papa and Mama were furious and with all the children helping, we tore the house and all buildings down.  We destroyed our beloved house and nobody else could love or live in it.  We left, but retained many memories from the ‘Casa de Botes’.  It was the only house we baptized.

graduation with tammy coiagraduation with tammy coia

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Mondays with Melitas – September 16, 2013

Preview for Battle of Wounded Knee…

I should never have left town because there was a little heat…

It was just not in the cards this time to have a nice pleasant time visiting my relatives and especially attending the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society Annual BBQ.

I lay flat on my back from Thursday evening to Sunday.  I had arranged to get dressed and some of my family even came to me with wheelchair ready for my 95 year old body to go for a ride.  But guess what…I just couldn’t make it! Drats…

On the program at the picnic, the president always announces the oldest people and one of my nephews had told him I wasn’t able to make it.  He opened up the program with the announcement of my fall.  I am sure that put a black cloud on this years BBQ.

When the BBQ ended a bunch of my family and some other folks arrived at my motel with our BBQ dinner.  Of course my tequila cocktail suddenly appeared so a little party started and my mood became better.  At least the trip wasn’t a complete waste of time!

So now, here I am back home, after a brief hospital stay…I am laying on my own couch being tended to by my warden and even my writing teacher came over to transcribe this brief  message.

I may keep this up for awhile, I’m kind of liking this attention…

Until next week…

Mel full shot

South Park Shorts

South Park Shorts

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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