Monday, November 24, 2008

Story of a Peapod / 豆莢的故事


Lately a lot of people have reminded me of the question—one day when you leave Taiwan, what will you miss most? I bet food will rank high, but there are always some subtle things or experiences we don’t take seriously when they are part of our lives. However, they’ll roll out of our memories when we find ourselves in faraway places from home. It is what we call nostalgia.


I wrote a story for the homesick Miss Hungary titled Story of a Peapod. It’s about a peapod which is so homesick that in the end the heart-breaking feeling turns her into a human being. I think that nostalgia and loneliness come into existence with our birth. Even when we live in our home countries, we miss somewhere else. Then, instead of struggling against it, we might as well accept the feeling as part of us.

dedicated to Carol


There was once a peapod. She loved everything about the world she lived in.


But one day, she had to leave for a new place because of her job.


It was full of sharp edges. She couldn't fit in.


It rained in her heart.


She missed him and her.


She missed their garden in the air.


She missed the juice made with love.


A seed grew in her heart.


She missed the puppies in the neighborhood.


She missed the afternoon tea time.


She missed the morning outings.


She missed the hand out there for her, whenever and wherever.

The flower bloomed, the river flowed and the sun shone in her heart.


She missed the metro car breaking out of darkness into daylight.


She missed the sweaty summer air and glowing sunshine.


She missed the melodious tune played every evening by the garbage truck.

She missed the sweetness of her mother tongue.

She missed all that was away from her.

It was amid the tears and nostalgia that the peapod found herself transformed into a human.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Loveliest Volcano / 可愛的火山


I wrote a so-so poem, accompanied by some mediocre pictures. But I am in a pretty beautiful mood...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Remember You As You Were in the Last Autumn / 我還記得妳去年秋天的樣子

I Remember You As You Were in the Last Autumn

I remember you as you were in the last autumn.
You wore the grey beret and the still heart.
In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.
And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.

Clasping my arms like a climbing plant
the leaves garnered your voice, that was slow and at peace.
Bonfire of awe in which my thirst was burning.
Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

I feel your eyes traveling, and the autumn is far off:
Grey beret, voice of a bird, heart like a house
Towards which my deep longing migrated
And my kisses fell, happy as embers.

Sky from a ship, Field from the hills:
Your memory is made of light, of smoke, of a still pond!
Beyond your eyes, farther on, the evenings were blazing.
Dry autumn leaves revolved in your soul.







前幾週當我不可自拔地沉迷於聶魯達的詩作之際,偶然發現了這首詩,這是詩人寫給年少時愛戀的對象阿貝蒂娜 (Albertina Rosa Azócar),他們在十六七歲就讀於聖地牙哥師院的法文系時相識,之後聶魯達便展開了長達十多年的愛戀,他為阿貝蒂娜寫下許多情詩、文章和信件,其中包括最有名的「二十首情詩和一首悲歌」,甚至在1927年之後,他去到許多亞洲國家如緬甸、錫蘭、爪哇和新加坡擔任秘密外交特使,他把對阿貝蒂娜的思念寫在明信片、餐巾紙、活頁紙、旅館信紙上,但是內向沉靜的阿貝蒂娜並未回以同等的熱情,於是在1930年,身處異鄉的聶魯達遇見來自荷蘭的瑪莉哈格納 (Mary Antoinette Haagenar),雖然她是冰山美女,也無法分享聶魯達對詩的喜愛,他們在同年12月結婚,阿貝蒂娜對聶魯達婚事的反應沒有任何記載,不過五年之後她也邁入婚姻,嫁給同為詩人的聖塔馬利亞 (Ángel Cruchaga Santamaría)。一直到多年以後,當聶魯達已經成名,並且找到真愛,他對阿貝蒂娜的感情才化為美好的友誼。

About two weeks ago when I was head over heels in love with Neruda’s poetry, I came across this poem. It was written for his object of affection, Albertina Rosa Azócar in his youth. They met when studying French in Santiago's Pedagogical Institute at the age of 16 or 17. Soon the morose and quiet Albertina sparked passionate flames in the young boy. She was his muse for many lyrical texts and poems for more than 10 years. The most famous ones would be Veinte Poemas de Amor y Une Cancion Desesperada, Twenty Love Poems and a Desperate Song. Even in 1927, after he traveled to countries like Burma, Ceylon, Java and Singapore to work in dark consular positions, he kept writing to Albertina in postcards, hotel letter paper, napkins, loose-leaf pages. She didn’t respond to his love with as much passion. In 1930, he began to form a friendship with Mary Antoinette Haagenar from Holland when transferred to Java. Despite her coldness and lack of interest in poetry, he decided to marry her in December of the same year out of solitude in the remote island. It was not known how Albertina felt about Neruda’s marriage, but she was married to Ángel Cruchaga Santamaría, who was also a poet, five years later. It was many years later when Neruda became well-known and found his true love that he was able to form a serene friendship with Albertina.


The love poems and letters addressed to Albertina were given by Santamaría’s nephew to the publisher after Neruda’s death. With Albertina’s full authorization, they were published in 1975.


Source of information:


I chose to work on this poem out of many reasons. It is not in my collection of Neruda’s poetry. I found it in an accidental manner. I got to learn about the story behind it and also one of Neruda’s love stories. Another reason is that I was totally addicted to the new product of Ferrero Rocher, called Ferrero Rondroir (dark chocolate flavor), and my excuse of eating it was that I needed the beautiful shiny red-brown wrapping paper. However, I wasn’t in very good shape mentally and physically this week, so I didn’t really fully concentrate on it. I myself find some of the images rather ridiculous. For example, the image of kisses falling like happy embers was turned into a man with golden lips, more for the ad of toothpaste.


Well, I guess only artists are capable of transforming unrequited love into moving words and works!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

wandering in the rain / 雨中漫遊

今天早上重讀林怡芬的十二味生活設計,大約翻過去之際,又看到有關大阪設計團隊graf的介紹,他們涉足各個領域的設計,最有名的就是和奈良美智合作的A to Z創作計畫,對設計有興趣的人,聽到graf應該不陌生。

This morning I was rereading Twelve Life Design Styles by Ms. Y-fen Lin. When I thumbed through the book, I ran across the introduction on the design team graf from Osaka again. This is a group of designers whose work involves many areas. Their most famous project was the A to Z project with Yoshitomo Nara. The name graf should sound familiar for those who go in for design.


Then it occurred to me that during my summer trip to Osaka, I didn’t plan at all to visit the graf building. However, when I was about to leave the International Art Museum of Osaka, the sign with the direction to graf caught my eye. I thus followed a handful of tourists and ended up in the building whose photos appear often in books and magazines related to design. There are four stories, the second floor a restaurant, while the remaining ones are for exhibiting furniture, tableware and artworks. The style can be defined as simple and graceful.


I feel like the luckiest person in recalling the accidental trip on a rainy Sunday…


In Y-fen Lin’s book, she prepared some questions for the artists she interviewed. I find them to be quite intriguing. Thinking that no one would ask me these questions, but I have such a strong longing to answer them, I decide to have a self-interview.

Q: 一天的時間大概是怎麼過的?
A: 早上很早起床去上班,其實像是打仗一樣,或者說像是工廠裡忙碌的工人,從一個任務轉到下一個任務,到了下班之後才能放下這些瑣事。下班之後,先喘息一下,其中包括和小方打滾,滾完之後就會坐到工作桌前。如果夠有毅力,晚上得出去散步,讓興奮或勞累的心情平靜下來,要是懶惰,就躲在房間裡跳舞。

Q: How do you spend a day?
A: I wake up early and go to work early. It’s more like fighting in a war, or I am rather a worker that is put to work on the assembly line. I turn from one task to another. I can’t let go of those trivial worries until after work. After going home, I’d take a short break, which includes playing and fooling around with lovely Von. At a certain point, I’ll sit down in front of my art table and begin to work on my art. If I am perseverant enough, I’ll go out for a walk to calm down or cheer up after dinner, depending on my mood that day. If I am slack, I’ll dance like a mad woman in my room that evening.

Q: 假日通常怎麼過的?
A: 週六日會選擇一時段出去做好玩的事,看展覽、看電影、聽音樂會、散步、吃東西,大部分時候也會寫信,剩下的時間就全部丟給畫畫。

Q: How do you spend your weekends?
A: I will go out for something fun on weekends, such as an exhibit, a film, a concert, a walk, or a kind of food. Most of the time, I also write letters. The rest time is all for art.

Q: 喜歡的書是甚麼?
A: 和文學、美術、設計、插畫、旅行相關的書籍。

Q: What kind of books do you read?
A: Books related to literature, art, design, illustrations and traveling.

Q: 工作的時候喜歡聽甚麼音樂?
A: 古典樂、爵士樂、不能太吵鬧的音樂。

Q: What kind of music do you listen to when you are at work?
A: Classical, jazz, non-noisy music.

Q: 喜歡的電影是甚麼?
A: 探討人性各面向的作品。

Q: What kind of movies do you like?
A: Movies that explore human nature and desires.

Q: 你覺得人生重要的事是甚麼?
A: 身體力行。

Q: What do you consider the most important thing in life?
A: Action speaks louder than words.

Q: 當工作上有瓶頸時,會有想去的地方嗎?
A: 書店、戶外、咖啡店、電影院,或者旅行。

Q: When you have an artist’s block, is there any place you’d like to go?
A: bookstores, outdoors, cafes, movie theaters or traveling.

Q: 你喜歡去哪些地方?
A: 能夠讓我看到一點文化特色的地方。

Q: Where do you like to go?
A: Places where I can see something unique and experience cultural differences.


If there are questions you find interesting, help yourself!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

love sonnet XXXVIII/ 第38號十四行情詩


After reading and illustrating several poems by Neruda, I find that apart from the brimming visual images in his works, he also resorted to all kinds of sounds and colors to construct his poetic pictures. This poem titled love sonnet XXXVIII, is a perfect example that appeals to the reader’s auditory sense. While I was illustrating for it, I couldn’t help but imagine a house in Chilean winter is warmed by an array of sounds, and thus glows.


PS: I have been obsessed with English tea lately, and the bags of Darjeeling afternoon tea were perfect materials for the poem. I saw this as a beautiful coincidence…


Tu casa suena como un tren a mediodía,
Zumban las avispas, cantan las cacerolas,
la cascada enumera los hechos del rocío,
tu risa desarrolla su trino de palmera.

La luz azul del muro conversa con la piedra,
Llega como un pastor silbando un telegrama
y entre las dos higueras de voz verde
Homero sube con zapatos sigilosos.

Sólo aquí la ciudad no tiene voz ni llanto,
Ni sin fin, ni sonatas, ni labios, ni bocina
Sino un discurso de cascada y de leones,

y tú que subes, cantas, corres, caminas, bajas,
plantas, coses, cocinas, clavas, escribes, vuelves,
o te has ido y se sabe que comenzó el invierno.