What fuels your impulse to make creative work?
Back when I was a college undergraduate, I had the good fortune to study with acclaimed dramatists Sam Shepard and Maria Irene Fornes. They encouraged us to write from our subconscious, to brave following impulses our conscious minds might not understand. As a Chinese American born in Los Angeles, I had not heretofore given much thought to my ethnicity, regarding this history as a minor personal detail. When I began writing from my subconscious, however, stories started appearing on my page—about immigration, assimilation, East-West cultural interactions. Clearly, some part of me was incredibly interested in these issues, but my conscious mind hadn’t figured that out yet. Ever since, writing has been a way to hold the mirror up to my inner self, to discover how I really feel about myself and the world around me. In a literal sense, the artist creates art; it is equally true, however, that art recreates the artist.