Magazine article Book

Amy Tan: "I Love Dark, Small Rooms," Tan Says. "I Feel Enclosed-Which Is How I Feel When I'm in My Imagination"

Magazine article Book

Amy Tan: "I Love Dark, Small Rooms," Tan Says. "I Feel Enclosed-Which Is How I Feel When I'm in My Imagination"

Article excerpt

1 CERAMIC STATUE

"That's a statue that I first got when I was writing The Kitchen God's wife. There was this story of the Kitchen God, one that everyone knows--if you're Chinese. The way he got his status was because of his wife, and how he wronged her. But there's no statue for the Kitchen God's wife, so I decided to find a statue for her, and to represent a lot of the women in my family who'd gone unrecognized for their entire lives."

2 WOODEN BUDDHA FIGURINE

The author bought it for two dollars in Burma. The position of one of his hands is meant to convey the idea of "bearing witness"--an important part of being a writer, she says.

3 STONE FROM TIBET

Another souvenir of Tan's travels, it was blessed by the Dalai Lama.

4 ORTHOPEDIC CHAIR

Tan used to suffer back pain, and had it shipped to her home in San Francisco after seeing one like it in Norway.

5 YORKSHIRE TERRIER

Bubba, nine and a half years old, one of two Yorkies owned by Tan. (The other is named Lily.) "Bubba is very well trained," Tan says.

6 GALAPAGOS READING MATERIAL

Tan will soon be going to the islands as part of a group that at the moment includes health guru Andrew Weil and Google.com co-founder Sergey Brin. Portions of the trip will be broadcast over the Internet for high school students. "I'm madly reading about biology and Darwin," Tan says, "because with that kind of scientific brainpower around you, you don't want to waste your moments saying, 'Gee, is that a bush or a tree? …

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