Amy Tan

22 Oct

There is an annual author lecture at my school where big names are drawn to our big farm country, tempted by the big honor of being chosen. I think that down here silver and golden anniversaries take a back burner to 30th anniversaries because this year, the 30th, AMY TAN GRACED US WITH HER PRESENCE. Amy Tan! Amy Tan, the author whom I researched for one of my final projects sophomore year in high school! Amy Tan, the rhythm dominatrix in the author rock group The Rock Bottom Remainders! Amy Tan, my girl!

To make the most of her being on campus, two lectures were scheduled for this Thursday, October 22- the main event in the evening which would be structured more formally in one of our auditoriums, and a more intimate talk preceding in the Philadelphia Writer’s House, right across the street. Being the fangirl I am, I ran (literally) from my Chinese Ink Painting class (a very appropriate themed class for the day) to the Writer’s House and was pleasantly surprised to see how full the main room was. From the events I’ve attended on campus thus far, it seems like there are a fair amount of members of the community who like to be present, which I like. Actually, come to think of it, at the evening lecture there were mostly adults, with actual college students being the vast minority… But I digress! Writer’s House, right. I snuck into a seat towards the middle (as opposed to front and center, where I’d normally scoot to hehe) because… wait for it… I was in charge of covering the photography of Tan’s lectures for the school newspaper! :D At my vantage point, I was close enough to be able to see Tan’s tiny dog in her lap but far enough away so that my snapping away wasn’t too awkward. This talk was advertised as a “craft talk”, and Tan talked about inspirations for her books (mostly her Chinese heritage, her mother, and stories about grandmother), her family, how she got started writing (she took a workshop, wrote a short story, it fell into the right editor’s hands, and the rest is history!), and her original goals for writing (to be published in a magazine by the time she was ninety years old- I think she’s done alright!). She was charming, told lots of stories which felt like secrets because of the close quarters, and was everything I hoped she’d be.

Fast forward a couple hours to the big lecture, an actual ticketed event! The tickets were free (you can’t put a price on Amy Tan!), students just had to pick them up at the auditorium’s box office in advance. I got three, figuring I could rope a couple friends into joining me (or, dare I say, find a couple people who liked / had heard of one of my favorite authors!) but I was shocked, literally shocked when I couldn’t even threaten (joking, kind of…) any of my friends into joining me!

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