Amy Tan

God, life changes faster than you think.
Amy Tan

I am an American, steeped in American values. But I know on an emotional level what it means to be of the Chinese culture.
Amy Tan

Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.
Amy Tan

I saw my mother in a different light. We all need to do that. You have to be displaced from what’s comfortable and routine, and then you get to see things with fresh eyes, with new eyes.
Amy Tan

People talk about this ‘bucket list’: ‘I need to go to this country, I need to skydive.’ Whereas I need to think as much as I can, to feel as much as I can, to be conscious and observe and understand me and the people around me as much as I can.
Amy Tan

Words to me were magic. You could say a word and it could conjure up all kinds of images or feelings or a chilly sensation or whatever. It was amazing to me that words had this power.
Amy Tan

I think I’ve always been somebody, since the deaths of my father and brother, who was afraid to hope. So, I was more prepared for failure and for rejection than for success.
Amy Tan

At the beginning of my career as a writer, I felt I knew nothing of Chinese culture. I was writing about emotional confusion with my mother related to our different beliefs. Hers was based in family history, which I didn’t know anything about. I always felt hesitant in talking about Chinese culture and American culture.
Amy Tan

I write because I know that one day I will die, and thus I should experience as many deliberate observations, careful thoughts, wild ideas, and deep emotions as I can before that day occurs.
Amy Tan

God, life changes faster than you think.
Amy Tan

My mother said I was a clingy kid until I was about four. I also remember that from the age of eight she and I fought almost every day.
Amy Tan

There is this myth, that America is a melting pot, but what happens in assimilation is that we end up deliberately choosing the American things – hot dogs and apple pie – and ignoring the Chinese offerings.
Amy Tan

There are a lot of people who think that’s what’s needed to be successful is always being right, always being careful, always picking the right path.
Amy Tan

I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression.
Amy Tan

In America nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you.
Amy Tan

The forbidden things were a great influence on my life. I was forbidden from reading A Catcher in the Rye.
Amy Tan

I felt ashamed of being different and ashamed of feeling that way.
Amy Tan

I’d like to be more forgiving. There are times when I’ve had a hard time forgiving people who have betrayed me.
Amy Tan

My parents told me I would become a doctor and then in my spare time I would become a concert pianist. So, both my day job and my spare time were sort of taken care of.
Amy Tan

I also thought of playing improvisational jazz and I did take lessons for a while. At first I tried to write fiction by making up things that were completely alien to my life.
Amy Tan

I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.
Amy Tan

I thought I was clever enough to write as well as these people and I didn’t realize that there is something called originality and your own voice.
Amy Tan

My parents had very high expectations. They expected me to get straight A’s from the time I was in kindergarten.
Amy Tan

You write a book and you hope somebody will go out and pay $24.95 for what you’ve just said. I think books were my salvation. Books saved me from being miserable.
Amy Tan

I have survivor skills. Some of that is superficial – what I present to people outwardly – but what makes people resilient is the ability to find humour and irony in situations that would otherwise overpower you.
Amy Tan

I would never require anyone to read any book. That seems antithetical to why we read – which is to choose a book for our personal reasons. I always shudder when I’m told my books are on required reading lists.
Amy Tan

When I go back and read my journals or fiction, I am always surprised. I may not remember having those thoughts, but they still exist and I know they are mine, and it’s all part of making sense of who I am.
Amy Tan

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