Monday, February 18, 2008

February 19: Amy Tan (b. 1952)

Amy Tan[Image description: Amy Tan, wearing a purple and black blouse and a chunky pendant]
I have neuropathy, which makes it difficult to walk. At one point I thought I would be in a wheelchair. That's the reason for the funny shoes; they are orthopedic shoes, and they do enable me to walk – and I'm determined now to walk many miles in Bhutan. I have set my goals differently these days; I can struggle through pain and limitations if I find the right motivation. I also have seizures. I can't drive. I have to be careful if I do certain things and I'm by myself, but I'm not going to let that limit me in certain ways. I just have to adapt my life in other ways. One of my adaptations has been to have a constant companion, my dog. And I have trained my dog to do certain things to help me, to not walk into streets when I'm not paying attention, or to get help from my husband or to let me know that what I see in front of me is in fact not real. (Quote from a 2004 interview, found here.)
Popular novelist Amy Tan was born on this date in 1952, in Oakland, California. Readers who enjoy her fiction may not be aware that Tan has experienced significant neurological impairment from undiagnosed Lyme disease in 1999, as described in the quote above. She has a page at her website detailing her medical odyssey toward a diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and the everyday lasting effects of late-stage neuroborreliosis. It's also one theme in Tan's 2003 book of essays, The Opposite of Fate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good morning Ms. Tan,

I am trying to reach out to all artists with disabilities at this time to gain their support in opening a small gallery on South Street in Philadelphia that will give voice to all artists with disabilities and disadvantages. I don't know that any artist in the US is not disadvantaged by the social climate. So, I'm defining these terms very broadly. The goal is to have a communal arts center in which there is a platform for artists to celebrate the hurttles that life has offered. It is very difficult to locate the part of the community that has disabilities because even the chat groups that are formed have mediocre sign-up and hardly existant up-to-date conversation. Can you help me?
Angelique M. Bouffiou