By Darren Lum
There is a brilliant quality projected by Noelia Marziali,
as she talks about her first book, The Fantastical Eyeball
Exchange while sitting at a picnic bench reflecting on
her passion of sharing her family’s story on the shoreline
of Head Lake in Haliburton.
It’s clear this work is from the heart and a nod to her
Uruguayan ancestors, who have a history as story-tellers.
From her own written description of the picture book,
this first literary effort created digitally on an iPad, is
about two “Feisty sisters engaged in battle, sun versus
moon. Leave it to the cosmos and an eyeball swap
to shift their perspective and launch them into a curious
dream world. [It is the] first book of a series based
on a pair of sister’s dreamy education in the concepts of
acceptance, inclusion, and perception.”
This passion project depicting her two daughters, Fia
(for flame in Latin) and Luna (for the moon in Latin) in
her 28-page paperback is about encouraging readers of
all ages and genders to be open to seeing someone else’s
perspective. She said her daughters are an example of
contrasts for more than just the seasons they were born
in, Fia in summer and Luna in winter.
She hopes readers will be inspired to be open to seeing
the world in a new light.
“Other young girls and boys can get inspired by their
adventures to come and for adults [also]. I read a lot of
books to my children and there’s a lot I can’t read for
the twentieth time because there’s no substance and
there isn’t something exciting for the parent. I really tried
to make it digestible for kids and adults. And if nothing
else, for the adults, there’s interesting artwork that is
not just cartoon style drawings that are more specific to
children … Children, we have to give them more credit.
There are a few words here that a child may have to ask
their parent ‘what does that mean?’ But I think that’s
important. I don’t dumb it down for them. They’re not
dumb. Kids are smart as hell, so I think it’s important to
be somewhere in the middle. Treat adults and children
alike. We’re all humans.”
Marziali said it was important her story be centred on
female protagonists that don’t fall into any clichés of the
past. “It’s important to have as many stories about young
girls and woman that aren’t about them dressing up as
fricken princesses … and especially connecting young
female characters to natural cycles and the importance of
being good caretakers,” she said.
Look carefully, she said, and you may pick up on a
few details that pay homage to favourite authors of the
family, which include Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman.
Her literary inspirations for this book are Latin American
authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabell
Combining graphic work and text was purposefully
“I’ve always loved words and images together. I’ve
always been a fan of old rock posters,” she said. “The
aesthetic of typography and highly graphic art has
always been super appealing and I’ve always done that.
I really had to fight the urge to make the typography
super weird, so that every page looked like a poster. That
was my instinct. It was what I like to do. Just use regular
font that people can read, but I still messed around with
it a little bit, so that it’s not the same size on each page.”
Marziali said she may be selling a hardcopy book, but
she’s really worked towards offering a full spectrum of
public awareness through her social media marketing of
it with videos of the process.
“It’s all working together. I want it to be alive. I don’t
want it to be something that sits on the shelf ever. I don’t
want my art to just hang on a wall that not everyone can
afford. So, this was just a way of taking this idea that
is an ongoing shameless promotion of what my family
does because what we have is really special and I want
to share it,” she said.
Marziali said the book, which demanded a steep learning
curve with the use of software to complete her work,
wasn’t possible without help. She is grateful to the Haliburton
County Public Library and its community of
making tools and support, as well as the Lindsay Hobbs
of Topaz Editing and Literary (https://topazliterary.
com/), who helped edit this book and the next one in the
planned three part series.
The next book, Birchbark and Stardust, features the
two “feisty sisters and their whimsical dad embark on a
wild river ride. A surge of stardust nearly capsizes their
canoe. Suddenly, they are master builders who know
each plant by name and the trio will never be the same.”
for more information about the coming book. Marziali’s
Redbubble shop, links and presence on social media
platforms such as Linkedtree and Instagram, including
Fantastical Eyeball Exchange artwork and her other artwork
and can be found on her website www.noeliamarziali.
com. Purchase the book directly from Marziali or
On Oct. 18, she is scheduled to run a Digital Comfort
Cafe workshop, which will show the public ‘behind the
scenes’ of the process creating digital works. The workshop
was possible with the Haliburton Arts council and
Haliburton County Development Corporation funding.
She adds it was a bit of a conflict to determine whether
her story was unique and interesting. However, upon
self-examination she saw the value of sharing her family’s
story, comprising an openness to the world, the complexities
of her children, her Uruguayan background, her
husband, Erik Scuhr’s German background, and their
relationship and qualities that make it work, including
the 26 years that separate them.
“Yeah, every story is unique and I’m going to share
what is important to me and that is find magic in life.
Look for it. It’s out there. When I look at the forest I see
this in a sense. I can trip out to the forest or the fungus
because it’s incredibly beautiful and I want to celebrate
it and hopefully have other people see that it’s not just
what we’re seeing. There’s so much more. It’s magic,”