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.
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.
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.
My mother believed in curses, karma, good luck, bad luck, feng shui. Her amorphous set of beliefs showed me you can pick and choose the qualities of your philosophy, based on what works for you.
I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression.
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.
My parents had very high expectations. They expected me to get straight A's from the time I was in kindergarten.
Amy Tan – quotes and aphorisms
When you read about the lives of other people, people of different circumstances or similar circumstances, you are part of their lives for that moment. You inhabit their lives, and you feel what they're feeling, and that is compassion. If we see that reading does allow us that, we see how absolutely essential reading is.
I have many reasons why I think reading is really important. It provided for me a refuge, especially during difficult times. It provided me with the notion that I could find an ending that was different from what was happening to me at the time.
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.
Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable - but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being 'alone': You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I'm talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. I experienced this acutely at an early age.