11. August 2008 · Comments Off on Amy Tan Interview · Categories: Links, Other People's Words

I had a very demanding mother. I thought I disappointed her in every single way. She wanted me to be a concert pianist, and that would be on weekends. My day job would be brain surgeon. It’s kind of ironic that my mother wanted me to be a brain surgeon, because our family had so many neurological diseases.

… and later …

Do you plan to watch any of the Olympics events? Probably only if my husband happens to have the TV on.

What about women’s gymnastics? No, it makes me anxious.

You’re worried someone will fall off the balance beam? Exactly. It awakens my own anxiety about performance. When I was 6 years old, I made a mistake during a piano recital, and the audience began to laugh. I fled the stage crying, and it traumatized me forever.

Isn’t writing a kind of performance? No. It’s a meditation. It does not have to do with personal humiliation until after it gets done. Later on people will vilify you. But I don’t have to read those reviews.

For all your supposed performance anxiety, you do play the tambourine in the Rock Bottom Remainders, which includes Stephen King, Matt Groening and other rock-star wannabes. It’s a charity band? I think we have raised more than $2 million for literacy programs.

Why do you play the tambourine instead of the piano after all your years of lessons? Chopin is not what you play when you’re in a rock band.

I have always had a difficult time watching both gymnastics and the ice skating when it comes to the Olympics. I get so darn nervous and it becomes too painful. I understand what Ms. Tan is saying, to be sure. I don’t handle performance competitions very well.

I read it here.