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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.
It's both rebellion and conformity that attack you with success.
It's a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.
In America nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you.
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.
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.
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.
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