Dear writing sisters,

Anne Panning’s memoir Dragonfly Notes: On Distance and Loss begins, “My mother appears regularly to me in the form of a dragonfly, or so I like to think.” From there she draws on decades of memory and experience, from her childhood home in rural Minnesota to the riverbanks of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, to piece together hard truths in the wake of her mother’s premature death after a routine medical procedure.

Anne recently joined me and a group of phenomenal women from the Writing Out Loud Sisterhood Facebook Group for a teleconference call to talk about Dragonfly Notes. And what a call it was!

In this conversational interview, Anne opens up about her deep need to write this memoir and how it has touched her readers in a way that is different from her previous works of fiction (ah, the connective power of memoir!). She is candid about the demands–and rewards–that come with writing past silence, and she lets us in on how her family responded to the publication of this book. And those dragonflies? Well, let’s just say that one of the most surprisings facts she learned about the life cycle of a dragonfly in researching this book lands a perfect 10 as a metaphor for the story she tells.

Anne is a gifted writer and generous teacher. She shares memoir writing tips and takes us into her own writing process. And her voice, oh, her voice! Just wait till you hear her sing. Yes, I said sing. Get ready to put your hand to your heart and leave this soulful interview encouraged to write past your own silences with renewed confidence in your story and with the guts and grit to tell it.

Access Anne’s Interview here.

To writing past silence in sisterhood,


P.S. Writing Women’s Lives Academy hosts a free private Facebook Group called the Writing Out Loud Sisterhood. Join us here!

P.S.S. Want to find out more about Anne and her work? Visit her website here.

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