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Woolfer Q&A with Amanda Stern, author of Little Panic

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Books & Media, Community, Voices

Woolfer Q&A with Amanda Stern, author of Little Panic

Little Panic (a memoir, forthcoming June 19, 2018)
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What would Virginia Woolf say to your younger self?

Do not fear reality, write your truth with its pen.

Tell us about why you think Woolfers will love the book

So many of our posts circle around this question: Am I doing life correctly? I spent my entire life convinced that there was a right way to be human, and that I was doing it wrong. Because my panic disorder went ignored until I was 25, I spent much of my youth hiding every terrifying fear I had, assuming that my suffering was shameful. As an adult it took me decades to finally understand that my limitations and differences don’t mean I’ve failed at life. I can be a childless, unmarried woman with a panic disorder, who finds family in her community, and still be a valid and valuable person.

My goal was to write an autobiography of an emotion; to reveal my experience of being human in this life. My hope is that the Woolfers who read the book will identify with my so-called failures, relate to my dread and fear that something was wrong with me, and in that recognition they’ll feel seen.

Do you have a “room of your own” to write?

I write in my apartment or in my co-working space, but the room I do have of my own is the space that opens up when I’m writing. The relationship that develops between me and my work is private, a place no one else can see or touch or even know about. It’s just ours, and it’s there when I need to access it. Even when the door occasionally sticks, we will always find ways to pry it open. 

What are you reading/excited to read?

I’m currently reading three books at once, which I don’t love doing, but often can’t help myself. Those three are: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, which I can’t believe took me this long to read. Waiting for me on the floor are: Knots by Gunnhild Oyehaug, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Canto and Negroland by Margo Jefferson.

I’m super excited about How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee, That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam, There, There by Tommy Orange, Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot and Educated by Tara Westover. 

And I’m always always always re-reading The Worry Cure by Robert Leahy, which is simply the best book ever.

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The Woolfer

About the Author

Woolfers, all women over 40, share a certain sensibility — a sense of humor, an appreciation of art and culture and literature, a desire to be candid, kind, self-reflective, and thoughtful — while also coming from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.