Of all of her books, Dream Something Big is her favorite. It is the story of an Italian immigrant with little education and broken English, Simon Rodia, who let no one deter him from his dream of building towers. For thirty-four years he built his towers, ships and gardens from objects found in nature, broken glass and pottery from trash piles, and his own special mix of cement. All the while, people said he was crazy. The tallest tower is 100 feet high. Because of his vision and determination, the Watts Towers are now a National Landmark.
Before she began researching and writing Simon’s story, Dianna says she was afraid of just about everything, from scorpions to plane travel. “Uncle Sam,” as he was called, became an inspiration in determination, courage and faith in her dreams. He, along with others she met, was a catalyst for melting away her fears and giving her the courage to welcome the unexpected and the unimaginable.
She moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and drove solo through the country for 8 years—by car and by motorcycle—encountering only kindness, generosity and helpfulness; took piloting lessons and served as crew for hot air balloons; and became a skydiving enthusiast.
For her latest adventure, Dianna has painted her car with peace symbols and taken to the road, collecting people’s dreams for a project she calls the SOS: Messages in a bottle project, and hopes to publish. People of all ages and many nationalities, place their handwritten dreams into glass jugs— also painted with symbols of love and peace.
Once they are sealed, Dianna asks sea captains and fishermen to cast them in deep waters. As of this writing, seven bottles collectively containing hundreds of messages have begun their voyage. Some have tried to deter her from the project, saying the bottles are litter, but glass is made of sand and paper of wood.
Because people surround her car wherever she goes, Dianna now carries a bag of markers and invites people to write their dreams or messages on her it. So far, the writings are in more than a dozen languages.
What Dianna hopes with this project is that people will reignite their dreams and call upon their vast quantities of courage to pursue them, no matter what anyone says to deter them, and despite the obstacles that will challenge them.
“Without courage and perseverance, you’re stuck in a wish,” she says.