She’s become my writing sensei

Library Technical Assistant, Lupita C., recently interviewed the Library's Summer 2021 Writer in Residence, opens a new window, Marge Pellegrino. Enjoy!

Marge Pellegrino, opens a new window is a longtime customer and devoted friend of the Library. She is also a personal friend of interviewer, Lupita. In this audio interview, Marge and Lupita explore Marge's career—from its roots at the library to publishing her first book, to now teaching others how to become writers. They reminisce on meaningful projects Marge worked on, the impact those projects had on her community, as well as the awards and recognition she's received. They dive into the impacts different library programs have had on both of them, and how projects can feed into each other and grow naturally as the people taking part in them grow. They also talk about inspiration to be found in past work, and inspiration for futures projects and endeavors.

Listen to the interview here!

To get a little more in depth, take a look at this Q&A with Marge and Lupita.

For how long have you known each other and where/when did you first meet?


I knew of Lupita before I met her. She was someone who was in the world in brave and authentic ways that I admired before we even met. The first time we had a chance to really talk was working on emptying and redistributing the library located in artist Erni Cabat's studio on Fourth Avenue. My respect for Lupita has only grown since.


Much like Marge says about me, I knew of Marge before knowing Marge. A lot of that is because we have so many mutuals. A friend once said that there are actually only 200 real Tucsonans and we all know each other. The rest are cardboard cutouts and extras.

What Library programs have had the most impact on you?


Susan North's journaling classes opened me up to a formal journaling practice and I never looked back. On the flip side, the twelve years of facilitating Word Journeys shaped my sharing style. Working with teens to set up library and community adventures with elementary students had us all growing, learning, and experiencing eureka moments! And then there is the Writer in Residence. Too much to say about that validation and the opportunity to talk with others about a shared passion—so I won't try in this short space.


After 27 years with PCPL, I’m so proud of the partnerships we developed to feed our community since the pandemic struck. I was just on desk and a man walking out grinned at me and said, “The kids are going to be SO happy!” He was carrying a watermelon that was delivered as a surprise produce drop off from the Community Food Bank this morning.

What upcoming projects are you working on? Are you working on something together?


I just finished a collaborative piece with Arizona State Museum's Lisa Falk for an upcoming issue of  Journal of Folklore and Education. At the end of the PCPL Writer in Residence, I'm looking forward to diving into a novel revision. It would be such a pleasure to collaborate with Lupita.


Marge doesn’t know this (though maybe she does), but she’s become my writing sensei. I see everything she’s accomplished and know that if I can manage just a fraction of that, I can be happy. During our interview, she told me that If I could just journal/write for 23 minutes a day, it could change my life. I’m not as consistent as I wish I could be (life gets in the way, man), but I made myself a deal: either I get up 30 minutes earlier or my makeup and hair is minimalist that day. It’s running about 50/50 depending on my night.

Books, books, and books! Here are some of Marge's favorite books about the writing process. 

Neon Words

Writing What You Know

Bird by Bird

On Writing

Here I Am A Writer

Writing Brave and Free