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Interview with Marcy Dilworth, Q1 2022 CNF Contest Runner Up


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Marcy's Bio: After a lifetime of mooning about writing but working as a finance executive, Marcy Dilworth finally succumbed to her love of writing. She explores family and relationships and other mystifying topics, and particularly enjoys storytelling through a child’s perspective.

Her essays and stories have appeared in Typehouse Literary Magazine, Sledgehammer Magazine, the This is What America Looks Like anthology by the Washington Writers’ Publishing House, Janus Literary, and elsewhere. Marcy lives in Clifton, Virginia with her husband where they serve their precocious rescue pup, Kirby.

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the top ten in our Q1 2022 Creative Nonfiction essay competition! What prompted you to enter the contest?

Marcy: I've been a reader of WOW contest winners for a long while, and find your choices to be great reads, so of course I've always wanted see if my work could be a part of it. And to be honest, I've got friends whose headshots line your pages, and one day I'd like to join them!

WOW: How did you approach your essay, “Orange Communion,” a lovely piece that must have been a difficult thing to write about? Did you have the orange as a starting point?

Marcy: I did, in fact, start with the orange. In a CNF class with the wonderful Caroline Bock, we were prompted to choose an object and brainstorm from there. When I chose the orange I had no recollection of any strong emotional associations. A few minutes into jotting down whatever came to mind and I was gobsmacked. The orange plunged me back into the period in which the piece is set. It was a difficult time but also a lovely one. My mom was every bit as wonderful and caring, even when faced with her dreadful diagnosis, as she appears in the essay.

WOW: What is your writing process like? Please describe a typical day.

Marcy: Oh, to have a typical day! My goal is to write for a couple hours each day, but it's amazing how many ways life encroaches on it. Over time, I've learned to take it easier on myself, writing more one day to make up for the previous one rather than beating myself up for falling short.

WOW: A good approach! Are you working on any writing projects right now? What’s next for you?

Marcy: I am indeed! I've written flash and short stories to date, and have a number of drafts to complete as well as a couple ideas I really want to explore. I also embarked on something new this year - a book. As suspected, I'm more pantser than plotter, and so far I'm enjoying the drafting. I don't know where this journey will take me, but I do know that I can't write a second or third book until I complete the first one!

WOW: Best of luck with the book and thanks so much for chatting with us today, Marcy. Before you go, can you share a favorite writing tip or piece of advice?

Marcy: My favorite writing tip is to read your essay or story aloud when you complete each draft. I always hear things I didn't see when reading, such as clunky phrases, plain old typos and, on a positive note, poetic language. My new version of Word has a Read Aloud function. I use that occasionally but find that my own voice reveals things that the robotic voice doesn't.

Thank you for having me, Marcia, and for all the great work at WOW!

****

For more information about our quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Essay contests, visit our contest page here.

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