Amy Tan 1

I like to go somewhere where I learn something I didn’t know before, like the Dry Tortugas between Florida and Cuba.
Amy Tan

I learned to forgive myself, and that enabled me to forgive my mother as a person.
Amy Tan

It’s both rebellion and conformity that attack you with success.
Amy Tan

Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses.
Amy Tan

It’s a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.
Amy Tan

No one in my family was a reader of literary fiction. So, I didn’t have encouragement, but I didn’t have discouragement, because I don’t think anybody knew what that meant.
Amy Tan

You can get sucked into the idea that, ‘Gosh, this is impressive. Maybe I should do this. It will look good.’ Or ‘I’ll write like this because it will impress that critic.’
Amy Tan

I didn’t fear failure. I expected failure.
Amy Tan

I have a writer’s memory which makes everything worse than maybe it actually was.
Amy Tan

I loved fairy tales when I was a kid. Grimm. The grimmer the better. I loved gruesome gothic tales and, in that respect, I liked Bible stories, because to me they were very gothic.
Amy Tan

I used to think that my mother got into arguments with people because they didn’t understand her English, because she was Chinese.
Amy Tan

I would find myself laughing and wondering where these ideas came from. You can call it imagination, I suppose. But I was grateful for wherever they came from.
Amy Tan

My mother had a very difficult childhood, having seen her own mother kill herself. So she didn’t always know how to be the nurturing mother that we all expect we should have.
Amy Tan

Placing on writers the responsibility to represent a culture is an onerous burden.
Amy Tan

She said ‘I’m by commission. You don’t have to pay anything until you sell anything.’ I said, ‘Well fine. You want to be my agent and not make anything.’ I thought, ‘Boy, is she dumb.’
Amy Tan

People think it’s a terrible tragedy when somebody has Alzheimer’s. But in my mother’s case, it’s different. My mother has been unhappy all her life. For the first time in her life, she’s happy.
Amy Tan

We are the kind of people who obsess over one word… but we have only one shot to get it right in concert. It was hard the first time I practiced with them. I was so nervous that my vocal chords were paralyzed for about a half-hour.
Amy Tan

I’m open to reading almost anything – fiction, nonfiction – as long as I know from the first sentence or two that this is a voice I want to listen to for a good long while. It has much to do with imagery and language, a particular perspective, the assured knowledge of the particular universe the writer has created.
Amy Tan

I don’t steer clear of genres. I simply haven’t steered myself toward some of them.
Amy Tan

My writing often contains souvenirs of the day – a song I heard, a bird I saw – which I then put into the novel.
Amy Tan
Bird, Day, Writing
I started a second novel seven times and I had to throw them away.
Amy Tan

I read a book a day when I was a kid. My family was not literary; we did not have any books in the house.
Amy Tan

I wanted to write stories for myself. At first it was purely an aesthetic thing about craft. I just wanted to become good at the art of something. And writing was very private.
Amy Tan

I would still like to have that luxury, to be able to just sit and draw for hours and hours and hours. In a way, that’s what I do as a writer.
Amy Tan

That was a wonderful period in my life. I mean, I didn’t become an artist, but somebody let me do something I loved. What a luxury, to do something you love to do.
Amy Tan

My favorite anything is always relative to the context of present time, place and mood. When I finish a book and want to immediately find another by the same author and no other, that author is elevated to my favorite.
Amy Tan

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