The Coastal Star

Listen to an inspirational interview with Diana Taylor at:

Diana Taylor’s multi-media company, Pug at the Beach — which she says is part Dalai Lama and part Jimmy Buffett — offers books, Pug jewelry and apparel, talks and other tools, which can be seen at:

Diana Taylor of Delray Beach writes inspirational stories and mentors people in pursuit of joyful living. She couldn’t do this without the help of playful Pug, her island philosopher dog, who strolls the beach in fashionable surfing shorts while offering snippets of advice to his loyal followers.
She and Pug are fairly new residents of Florida. July 2008, Diana moved to Delray Beach while chasing her dreams, the only goal in life worth pursuing, she believes.
“When I lived in New Hampshire, I’d drive a hundred miles to get to a beach. I need to live in a place where it is summer everyday.” This has aided her writing. “When I live on the beach, I am creative,” she said. “Most of my really good stories start out with the words, ‘I was on this beach …’ ”
But most importantly, it has aided the quality of her life. Was she afraid to start over?
“I’m not afraid to start new,” she said. “I’m more afraid to stay in the old where I know exactly what the endless stream of homogenous days blended into one another would look like for the years for the rest of my life.”

10 Questions for Diana Taylor

Q. Where did you grow up and go to school? How do you think that has influenced you?
A. I grew up on the south shore of Long Island in New York and got my degree from Dowling College, a small, private school on the Connetquot River in Oakdale, N.Y. I lived just 3 miles from the ocean but it wasn’t until I moved to New Hampshire that my love affair with the beach began. On a family vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I realized fully the magical power of the sea. That year and each year thereafter, driving 900 miles to Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island were to shape my work. So I’d have to say that it wasn’t the home of my childhood that influenced me as much as the years I spent in New Hampshire raising my daughters and creating what was to become Pug At The Beach.
Q. What is your current occupation?
A. I’m a writer but I like to say that I’m also a talisman for people who would like to make their dreams come true but think it’s not possible. I’ve made my own dreams come true and it’s through my work that I teach people they can do the same.
Q. What other careers have you had, what were the highlights?
A. I’ve been an arts promoter, a stay-at-home mom, and a phlebotomist (a person who takes your blood). Each offered an array of opportunities for personal and professional growth, but it was my time spent as a phlebotomist that truly shaped my work as a writer of inspirational material. I lost that job due to an error on the hospital’s part. They misdiagnosed me with terminal cancer and gave me six months to live. Once the mistake was discovered, I was no longer welcomed there and chose to leave that job. As I watched my hopes of a career in the health care industry fade, my daughter suggested I pursue writing as a career. She said, “Mom, you’re really good. People are motivated to change their lives for the better when they read your work. Take all the Pug adventures that are set on the beach and published them in a book. Throw it out there. If people bite, you’ll know you’re onto something. If not, we figure something else out.”
Q. What advice do you have for a young person selecting a career today?
A. Don’t fret about work. Gone are the days of careers and jobs lasting 30, 40 years. These days people change careers an average of four to six times throughout their lifetime. You can change your mind about your work at any time. Secondly, do what you love. There’s very little long-term benefit in doing a job you hate. If you were given six months to live, what work would you choose to engage in? And don’t think your dreams can’t come true. I’m here to tell you they can. I now live in a little latitude climate in a house by the sea doing the work I love. That was something I dreamed of and then worked to make it a reality. You can make your dreams come true, too. The key is to never give up! Say that over and over again everyday. Never give up!

Q. Tell us about Pug At The Beach.
A. Pug is the name of a small dog who lives on an island. Walking the beach everyday, he learns much about life from the things he discovers and it’s through Pug’s adventures that we ourselves learn how to slow down, calm down, and maintain a positive frame of mind. The creation of Pug, the character, happened one winter in Key West. As I doodled on my sketchpad, a little dog just magically appeared. I decided his name should be Pug. The accompanying stories were a writing exercise gone wild. It started with one simple writing task and evolved into what is now Pug At The Beach.
Q. How did you choose to make your home in Delray Beach?
A. I was actually choosing between Delray Beach and Stuart. I liked Delray’s close proximity to major transportation. And I love downtown, with the shops along Atlantic Avenue, the historic district, and, of course, I love the beach. I adore the sidewalk on A1A. It’s a hubbub of activity including everything from people doing Tai Chi to the road bike club that rides by every Tuesday night. I’d really like to get a road bike and try that.
Q. What is your favorite part about living in Delray?
A. Well, if I had to choose only one thing, I’d say it was the beach. It reminds me of Ocracoke Island in North Carolina. With a gorgeous ocean, big, wide beach, and that wide expanse of dunes, it just looks so natural and wild. There is magic in walking down the paths through the dunes to get to the ocean. I do it everyday and I never get tired of it.
Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
A. My tastes in music are vast so it depends on why I need inspiration, whether it’s writing or chilling. Lately I’ve been listening to Bruce Cockburn’s Breakfast In New Orleans. Bach is good for creativity. I love Ruben Gonzalez and that genre of music. And if I need to clean the house, I listen to Dymin, a local singer.
Q. Have you had mentors in your life, individuals who have inspired your life decisions?
A. I’ve had a number of powerful women in my life who’ve personally guided me through their advice, suggestions or sometimes simply by example. They tend to be businesswomen who’ve made an impact on the lives of others through their work. Then I have mentors like Guy de Maupassant, the 19th-century French writer whose concise writing style I appreciate, or Richard Branson, whose business savvy deserves my respect, or Richard Fineman, the physicist whose discovery of the fatal flaw in the space shuttle Challenger’s O-rings and subsequent explosion came in a roundabout way through his inherent sense of play in his field of science.
Q. Who or what makes you laugh?
A. I have a new toy poodle. He’s a rescue dog that I got a few months ago. He’s so appreciative and full of life and he’s mastered the art of shooting a racquetball at me by holding it toward the end of his mouth and biting down on it. There’s nothing more delightful as being totally immersed in work only to have a blue ball whiz by me then to look up and see this happy little dog smiling at me while wagging his tail. He rides in the basket on the front of my bicycle as we both discover the back roads and quiet paths of Delray Beach.

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Comment by Mary Kate Leming on September 11, 2009 at 7:50am
Thanks, Diana. It was our pleasure. Chances are good you will run into us on the beach. We all live along the shore!
Comment by Diana Taylor & Pug At The Beach on September 10, 2009 at 5:39pm
Thanks everyone for your wonderful and supportive comments! And thanks, too, to Mary Kate, Jerry, Christine, and Tim at The Coastal Star for producing such a fine publication! See you at the beach.
Comment by David E. Boone on September 5, 2009 at 10:40pm
I can't wait to meet Diana. Anyone who loves Ocracoke Island is worth knowing. Delray Beach, like Ocracoke, is indeed magical. I owned a home on Ocracoke Island and spent much of the year there prior to my move to Delray Beach. Both islands seem to attract kindred souls and are a haven for writers and vagabonds. Sounds like Pug loves islands. My kind of dog. Can't wait to read all about him. (Arf!)
Comment by Terry Kline on September 4, 2009 at 2:54pm
Nice to know we have such a lovely neighbor. Sorry that Dog Beach was taken away from us; I'm sure your poodle would have enjoyed romping in the surf and sand with you. Enjoy, Terry & Madison (woof!)
Comment by Brenda on September 4, 2009 at 2:51pm
Love this article. It captures the essence of my dear friend Diana and her goals.
Comment by Roy Edlund on September 4, 2009 at 1:25pm
Very nicely written article about a wonderful author. Hey when the beach is in your blood you can't function right without it. I know that from experience. :)
Comment by Pamela Fill on September 3, 2009 at 8:07pm
What a wonderful article, what an adorable dog and what a great book. . Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. Delray Beach is very blessed to have both Pug at the Beach and Diana Taylor call it home..The best of everything is yours , all the time. Love, Pam

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