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I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression.
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.
I used to think that my mother got into arguments with people because they didn't understand her English, because she was Chinese.
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.
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.
I started a second novel seven times and I had to throw them away.
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.
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.
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.
I learned to forgive myself, and that enabled me to forgive my mother as a person.
I have a writer's memory which makes everything worse than maybe it actually was.
I didn't fear failure. I expected failure.
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.
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