We have wrapped up our story project, but the real life has just began. This task brought forth the problems the kids couldn't utter, so by means of this process, we now head into our counseling sessions. This is also the first time I feel that the age 16 can be so heavy.
I don't want to contradict myself, but the chapter I love the most in this book is life. I put the category at the end of the book because I know it will take a lot of time and emotion to digest the three stories. However, I can guarantee that the reader will feel like reading them again and again.
圖 岳喬萱繪 / picture drawn by Taylor Yueh
What would you do if you lost your beloved friend at the age of thirteen? It's a story that takes much courage to write. Please come and read Taylor's story--After She Left.
圖 張馨方和鄭依如繪 / picture drawn by Eva Chang and Yi-ju Cheng
Eva told a story about losing her dog friend in Missing You, thus forced to face the big issue of death. In fact, a sixteen-year-old girl knows much more than we expected.
圖 朱子栩繪 / picture drawn by Sophy Chu
What does a goodbye signify for you? For Sophy, who moved constantly from one country to another in her childhood, it is a gesture loaded with meanings. In fact, it wasn't the topic that Sophy planned to write at first. I saw the potential of the theme in our talk. The story, like Sophy, contains very deep feelings. As the reader, you have to be prepared and it's normal to drop a tear or two if it reminds you of your past wounds.
I sent the book a few weeks ago to Mr. Ming-chin Cheng, a heavyweight figure in the illustration circle in Taiwan. I found he has a very different view from me. He picked some stories whose illustrations highly represent sixteen-year-olds. The works are as follows:
Darkness Before Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, illustrated by Deedee Yeh
B F or BF? by Sandra Yue, illustrated by Joyce Pan, Sharon Lin and Sandra Yue
On the Way by Zoey Shih, illustrated by Tina Fang
I have accompanied the girls on the journey of 16 full of ups and downs. Unlike the past decade, I don't feel the pressing need to get away. Instead, in the coming summer, I am going to spend the two last months of 36 drawing quietly in the company of singing cicadas. My ambition is to prepare an exhibition titled Simple Love, which is the best answer I have found to the question I've been thinking about in the past year. This sounds like a very ordinary wish, but I know the process will be full of heart-felt joy....