Reading Amy Tan’s The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings warms the writer’s soul. With the same exquisite writerly voice that characterizes her wonderful novels, Amy speaks to readers who write about the creative process. Her first book of non-fiction, it reveals the power of moral ambiguity in finding a focus for one’s life work.
What disturbs you as a writer? What makes you uncomfortable? With what do you struggle with to make meaning of without resolution? This is where the writing begins.
Chance, fate, luck, destiny, accidents, coincidences, serendipity. The answers to the questions of how and why things happen is what the writer seeks in the construction of the story.
Amy Tan’s stories of her own life, particularly her mother’s influence, enchant.The second chapter, “how we knew” is one of those haunting stories I took as confirmation that I wasn’t the only crazy person who had experienced death in the room. This story of an uncanny premonition and the characters’ inability to intervene before a tragic end resonates with my own spiritual and emotional experiences associated with death and grief. Signs from the jinns of beyond.
As a writer, Amy Tan shares her gift with other writers. I’m reading The Opposite of Fate for my fiction book club and find I can’t put it down any easier than her fiction.
Watch this TED video of Amy Tan for her take on creativity: