Amy Tan quotes

  • No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Reality #Two #Different

  • I am fascinated by language in daily life: the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Writing #Simple #Ideas

  • So sad! This is the saddest part when you lose someone you love- that person keeps changing. And later you wonder, Is this the same person I lost?
    -- Amy Tan

    #Someone You Love #Wonder #Lost

  • If you can't change your fate, change your attitude.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Change #Attitude #Fate

  • I hid my deepest feelings so well I forgot where I placed them.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Feelings #Lovely #Good Advice

  • 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

    #Love #Pain #Years

  • It's both rebellion and conformity that attack you with success.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Success #Conformity #Rebellion

  • Dementia was like a truth serum.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Dementia

  • From what I have observed, when the anesthesia of love wears off, there is always the pain of consequences. You don't have to be stupid to marry the wrong man.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Pain #Stupid #Men

  • Isn't hate merely the result of wounded love?
    -- Amy Tan

    #Hate #Results #Wounded

  • We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming - well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Inspiring #Dream #Hope

  • I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Love #Stars #Fall

  • Chance is the first step you take, luck is what comes afterward.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Luck #Firsts #Steps

  • How do I create something out of nothing? And how do I create my own life? I think it is by questioning, and saying to myself that there are no absolute truths.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Motivation #Inspiration #Thinking

  • I have loved works of fiction precisely for their illusions, for the author's sleight-of-hand in showing me the magic, what appeared in the right hand but not in the left...
    -- Amy Tan

    #Hands #Magic #Fiction

  • You see what power is holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Power #Hands

  • Writing what you wished was the most dangerous form of wishful thinking.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Writing #Thinking #Form

  • You remember only what you want to remember. You know only what your heart allows you to know.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Heart #Remembrance #Understanding

  • Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Daughter #Laughing #Forever

  • That is the nature of endings, it seems. They never end. When all the missing pieces of your life are found, put together with glue of memory and reason, there are more pieces to be found.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Memories #Missing #Together

  • 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

    #Kindness #Inspiration #Flukes

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

    #Intelligent #Expression #Choices

  • 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

    #Encouragement #Thinking #Fiction

  • I didn't fear failure. I expected failure.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Failure #Expected

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

    #Writing #Thinking #Luxury

  • 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

    #Feelings #Magic #Kind

  • Sure I loved him - too much. And he loved me, only not enough. I just want someone who thinks I'm number one in his life. I'm not willing to accept emotional scraps anymore.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Emotional #Thinking #Numbers

  • And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all the truths and hopes they have brought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese, who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English. They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds "joy luck" is not a word, it does not exist. They see daughters who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Daughter #Mother #Fear

  • 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

    #Book #Kids #House

  • How can you blame a person for his fears and weaknesses unless you have felt the same and done differently?
    -- Amy Tan

    #Weakness #Done #Blame

  • With each passing day, I didn't lose hope. I fought to have more.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Hope #Passing #Passings

  • Memory feeds imagination.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Memories #Imagination

  • That was how dishonesty and betrayal started, not in big lies but in small secrets.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Betrayal #Lying #Secret

  • I take a few quick sips. "This is really good." And I mean it. I have never tasted tea like this. It is smooth, pungent, and instantly addicting. "This is from Grand Auntie," my mother explains. "She told me 'If I buy the cheap tea, then I am saying that my whole life has not been worth something better.' A few years ago she bought it for herself. One hundred dollars a pound." "You're kidding." I take another sip. It tastes even better.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mother #Mean #Years

  • Love is tricky. It is never mundane or daily. You can never get used to it. You have to walk with it, then let it walk with you. You can never balk. It moves you like the tide. It takes you out to sea, then lays you on the beach again. Today's struggling pain is the foundation for a certain stride through the heavens. You can run from it but you can never say no. It includes everyone.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Running #Beach #Pain

  • He asked if he could recite a poem he had written that morning: 'You speak,' he said, 'the language of shooting stars, more surprising than sunrise, more brilliant than the sun, as brief as sunset. I want to follow its trail to eternity.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Morning #Stars #Sunset

  • We are living in a world where everything is false. The society is like bright paint applied on top of rotten wood.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Rotten #World #Woods

  • Whenever I'm with my mother, I feel as though I have to spend the whole time avoiding land mines.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mom #Daughter #Mother

  • What is a secret wish?" "It is what you want but cannot ask.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Secret #Wish #Want

  • too much happiness always overflowed into tears of sorrow.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Sorrow #Tears #Too Much

  • You should think about your character. Know where you are changing, how you will be changed, what cannot be changed back again.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Character #Thinking #Should

  • I felt stuck in the bottom of a wishing well. I was desperate to shout what I wanted, but I didn’t know what that was. I knew only what it wasn’t. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
    -- Amy Tan

    #Secret #Wish #Amy

  • 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

    #Writing #Fiction #Lessons

  • With hope, a mind is always free.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mind

  • So much of history is mystery. We don't know what is lost forever, what will surface again. All objects exist in a moment of time. And that fragment of time is preserved or lost or found in mysterious ways. Mystery is a wonderful part of life.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Forever #Way #Mysterious

  • When you already believe something, how can you suddenly stop? When you are a loyal friend, how can you no longer be one?
    -- Amy Tan

    #Believe #Loyal #Loyal Friend

  • Fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Fate #Expectations #Half

  • All objects exist in a moment of time.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Moments #Existence

  • Why do you have to use me to show off? If you want to show off, then why don't you learn to play chess." - Ch. 5
    -- Amy Tan

    #Play #Use #Want

  • And now I have to stop. Because every time I remember this, I have to cry a little by myself. I don't know why something that made me so happy then feels so sad now. Maybe that is the way it is with the best memories.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Memories #Littles #Way

  • Her education only made her unhappy thinking about it - that no matter how much she changed her life, she could not change the world that surrounded her.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Thinking #Unhappy #Matter

  • That is the saddest part when you lose someone you love - that person keeps changing. And later you wonder, Is this the same person I lost? Maybe you lost more maybe less, then thousand different things that come from your memory or imagination - and you do not know which is which, which was true, which is false.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Memories #Imagination #Someone You Love

  • You can have pride in what you do each day, but not arrogance in what you were born with.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Pride #Arrogance #Each Day

  • And for all those years, we never talked about the disaster at the recital or my terrible accusations afterward at the piano bench. All that remained unchecked, like a betrayal that was now unbreakable. So I never found a way to ask her why she had hoped something so large that failure was inevitable. And even worse, I never asked her what frightened me the most: Why had she given up hope?
    -- Amy Tan

    #Betrayal #Years #Piano

  • If you are greedy, what is inside you is what makes you always hungry.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Hungry #Greedy

  • If I now recognize evil in other people, is it not because I have become evil too?
    -- Amy Tan

    #People #Evil

  • I hated the tests the raised hopes and failed expectations." - Two Kinds
    -- Amy Tan

    #Two #Expectations #Tests

  • Don't think too much. That makes you believe you have more choices than you do. Then you mind becomes confused.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Confused #Believe #Thinking

  • Why do some memories live only on your tongue or in your nose? Why do others always stay in your heart?
    -- Amy Tan

    #Memories #Heart #Noses

  • While it is good to speak well, it is better to speak the truth.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Speak #Speak The Truth #Wells

  • If I look upon my whole life, I cannot think of another time when I felt more comfortable: when I had no worries, fears, or desires, when my life seemed as soft and lovely as lying inside a cocoon of rose silk.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Lying #Thinking #Worry

  • Ying-ying, you have tiger eyes. They gather fire in the day. At night they shine golden.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Eye #Night #Fire

  • wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything. I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. There is a part of her mind that is a part of mine. But when she was born she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Daughter #Eye #Swimming

  • I felt foolish and tired, as if I had been running to escape someone chasing me, only to look behind to discover there was no one there.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Running #Tired #Looks

  • ...we were like two people standing apart on separate mountain peaks, recklessly leaning forward to throw stones at one another, unaware of the dangerous chasm that separated us.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Two #People #Mountain

  • And then she had to fill out so many forms she forgot why she had come and what she had left behind.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Form #Left Behind #Behinds

  • Whenever my mother talks to me, she begins the conversation as if we were already in the middle of an argument.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mother #Argument #Middle

  • I was punched breathless by the strongest emotions I have ever felt and they are now stored in my intuition as a writer.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Intuition #Emotion #Breathless

  • I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength..."strongest wind cannot be seen."
    -- Amy Tan

    #Strength #Mother #Art

  • When my daughter looks at me, she sees a small old lady. That is because she sees only with her outside eyes. She has no chuming, no inside knowing of things. If she had chuming she would see a tiger lady. And she would have careful fear.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Daughter #Eye #Knowing

  • 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

    #Grateful #Ideas #Imagination

  • 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

    #Mother #Thinking

  • 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

    #Mean #Artist #Luxury

  • I let one thing result from another. Of course, all of it could have been just loosely connected coincidences. And whether that's true or not, I know the intention was there. Becasue when I want something to happen-or not happen- I begin to look at all events and all things as relevant, an opportunity to take or avoid.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Opportunity #Events #Looks

  • To save myself, I destroyed another, and in doing so, I destroyed myself.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Lovely

  • 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

    #People #Half #Firsts

  • 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

    #Success #Brother #Father

  • Those who don't heed the warnings don't live to admit they were stupid not to do so.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Stupid #Warning

  • On the third day after someone dies, the soul comes back to settle scores. In my mother's case, this would be the first day of the lunar new year. And because it is the new year, all debts must be paid, or disaster and misfortune will follow.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mother #New Year #Years

  • My mother would say it is literally ghost writers who come to me.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mother #Teaching #Ghost

  • In [writing] fiction, every sentence is its own reward.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Writing #Fiction #Rewards

  • 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

    #Successful #Thinking #People

  • Clichés are static, the emotion behind them long spent. If you are tempted to use them, here is a saying of my mother’s: Fang pi bu-cho, cho pi bu-fang. Basically that translates to: "Loud farts don’t stink, and the really smelly ones don’t make a sound." In other words: When you’re full of beans, you just blow a lot of hot air. If you want to have a real impact, be deadly but silent. Oh, also recognize the difference between a bad cliché and a good quotation. My mother’s saying is a good quotation. You should use it often.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mother #Real #Blow

  • A psychiatrist does not want you to wake up. He tells you to dream some more, to find the pond and pour more tears into it. And really, he's just another bird drinking from your misery.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Dream #Drinking #Bird

  • The life we receive is not always what we choose.
    -- Amy Tan

  • Fate changes when you change your clothes.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Fate #Clothes

  • Libraries are the pride of the city.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Pride #Cities #Library

  • We all hate moral ambiguity in some sense, and yet it is also absolutely necessary. In writing a story, it is the place where I begin.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Motivation #Hate #Inspiration

  • Even though I was young, I could see the pain of the flesh and the worth of the pain.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Pain #Flesh #Young

  • 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

    #Book #Writing #Thinking

  • My mother had a very difficult childhood, having seen her own mother kill herself. So she didnt always know how to be the nurturing mother that we all expect we should have.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mother #Childhood #Should

  • Among writers, if you don't have a therapist, it's like saying you don't keep a journal or use the thesaurus. It's a natural accompaniment.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Depression #Use #Mental Illness

  • The muse appears at the point in my writing when I sense a subtle shift, a nudge to move over, and everything cracks open, the writing is freed, the lanuage is full, resources are plentiful, ideas pour forth, and to be frank, some of these ideas surprise me. It seems as thought the universe is my friend and is helping me write, its hand over mine.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Moving #Writing #Hands

  • You can never be an artist if your work comes without effort. That is the problem with modernink from a bottle. You do not have to think. You simply write what is swimming on the top of your brain. And the top is nothing but pond scum, dead leaves, and mosquito spawn.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Education #Reading #Writing

  • I AM A PERSON WHO THINKS ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE SPIRIT WHEN I WRITE. I THINK ABOUT WHAT CAN'T BE KNOWN AND ONLY IMAGINED. I OFTEN SENSE A SPIRIT OR FORCE OR MEANING BEYOND MYSELF. I LEAVE IT OPEN AS TO WHAT THE SPIRIT IS, BUT I CONTINUE TO MAKE GUESSES.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Writing #Thinking #Spirit

  • Hope is the adrenalin of the soul.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Hope #Expectations #Soul

  • For woman is yin, the darkness within, where untempered passions lie. And man is yang, bright truth lighting our minds.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Lying #Passion #Men

  • My mother had a look on her face that I'll never forget. It was one of complete despair and horror, for losing Bing, for being so foolish as to think she could use faith to change fate.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Mother #Fate #Thinking

  • I began to look at all events and all things as relevant, an opportunity to take or avoid.
    -- Amy Tan

    #Opportunity #Events #Looks

  • Language is the tool of my trade -and I use them all - all the Englishes I grew up with
    -- Amy Tan

    #Tools #Use #Language