Interview with Peggy Rosen: Q3 2023 Creative Nonfiction Contest Runner Up

Sunday, September 24, 2023
Peggy’s Bio:
Peggy Rosen writes both fiction and nonfiction. She is a contributor to regional magazines and local newspapers. She is proud to have an essay included in Onward: True Life Stories of Challenges, Choices, and Change, a collection of personal essays published by The Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies. Peggy leads life story workshops, encouraging others to write their stories. She lives in the White Mountain Region of New Hampshire with her husband, spending much of her time outdoors gardening, hiking, biking, climbing, and skiing. You can connect with Peggy at

If you haven't done so already, check out Peggy's award-winning essay "Recipe Box Envy" and then return here for a chat with the author. 

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Q3 2023 Creative Nonfiction Contest! How did you begin writing your essay and how did it and your writing processes evolve as you wrote? 

Peggy: I sorted through recipes, I blinked and stared at most of them with growing realization and snatches of memory, I sighed a lot, then decided I needed to express my tumbled feelings, and an essay came out. The process of looking back and cataloguing the emotion elicited by words on an index card became fun, a different way of finding inspiration. 

WOW: What a great idea to recover memories from recipe cards! What did you learn about yourself or your writing by creating this essay? 

Peggy: I learned that time slips by so fast. Well, I should say I re-learned this! We know time passes quickly intellectually, but I really felt this truth emotionally when I encountered the recipe box and wrote this essay. I found another way to engage with my mom, while we still have time. 

WOW: It sounds like you have a variety of writing experiences, with fiction and multiple genres of nonfiction. Is there a type of writing that you’re most drawn to? How do different genres help inform or influence your writing? 

Peggy: I like to dabble in all genres. The shorter forms (except poetry, which I’m not very good at) intrigue me. I think writing “short” is difficult, and a good exercise for any writer. Creating an effective and compelling piece that includes all the elements of good storytelling helps me improve my craft. 

WOW: Which creative nonfiction essays or writers have inspired you most, and in what ways did they inspire you? 

Peggy: I get a lot of inspiration, new ideas, and fresh perspective from reading the essays and flash fiction pieces posted on the WOW! Women On Writing website. I enjoy other essayists, but none in particular. My “go to” is WOW! It’s such a rich and varied source for so many different voices and styles. 

WOW: I agree – WOW has such an excellent compilation of diverse voices, and we're so glad you're one of them! If you could tell your younger self anything about writing, what would it be? 

Peggy: Give yourself permission to carve out your special writing time, regardless of what is happening in your life – make clear to those around you that making time to write is a priority, a sacred activity that you deserve and need to have. Find a way to banish your Inner Critic to a corner of the room when you write. And finally, stop comparing yourself to other writers, which becomes a default self-sabotage strategy for procrastination and non-writing. 

WOW: Excellent advice. Thank you for sharing your writing with us and for your thoughtful responses. Happy writing! 

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, founder and editor-in-chief of Sport Stories Press, which publishes sports books by, for, and about sportswomen and amateur athletes and offers developmental editing and ghostwriting services to partially fund the press. Engage on Twitter or Instagram @GreenMachine459.


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