American Masters


Amy Tan's writing inspiration

Get an inside look at best-selling author Amy Tan's creative process, as revealed in Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir from American Masters.

AIRED: May 03, 2021 | 0:02:00

- The best part of writing is not getting published.

The best part of writing is the writing

and discovering something about yourself.

(dramatic music)

- AMY TAN: Unintended Memoir is

a deeply intimate and moving story.

You get a behind the scenes look at a writer,

all those life experiences and how they were channeled

into the amazing books that she's created,

both fiction and nonfiction.

- Please join me in welcoming Amy Tan.

(audience applauding)

- You know, looking back, I think that I was

always a storyteller, but I never dreamt

of becoming a good fiction writer.

- When The Joy Luck Club hit, it really hit.

It was a revolution.

- The Joy Luck Club was so massive when it came out.

There was nothing like it.

- Everybody embraced the book.

- I was a business writer before I started writing fiction.

I had another best seller.

It was called Telecommunications and You.

(audience laughing)

There's so many emotions that come

up watching this documentary.

I realized how much trauma has been a part of it.

I really had the love, hate relationship with my mother.

It was part of my decision to not be like her at all.

- [Michael] Amy Tan's story is also the story of somebody

who takes her personal experience about immigration,

trauma, family relations, and makes it universal.

- It's not as though I want to change the past.

It's really trying to understand how these things come

together to bring you where you want.

- A lot of the material in this film has never been seen

by a general public.

She is putting her story out there,

this idea that we can pursue what we want to do,

and I think that's really important for us all

to think about and be inspired by.

- The things I discovered about writing were

so important to me, it was the notion that you could write

and find out what you really believed in.

It is the reason that keeps me wanting to write forever.

(gentle music)


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