Sunday, March 02, 2014

Stone Soup study club 1 / 石頭湯讀書會之一


I'd wanted to learn about story-writing for a while. Last week I gave up the fantastic opportunity of taking a course in ferns in NTU, but God didn't give me up. I accidentally found the Facebook webpage of The Association of Children Literature, ROC via the page of the herbarium's director. What's better, new study club sessions are scheduled to begin in March. How can I ignore such a heavenly chance? 


   The lecturer of the first week is Prof. Mau-hsiu Yang. He's an excellent children educator. He starts the "new semester" with several stories. Dr. Yang is such a wonderful storyteller that I don't question if the plots are true at all. Besides, he exerts his voice and body language to such a degree, along with his natural sense of humor, that every story he tells is a picture book that comes alive. 


   In fact, the philosophy in every story is simple. The spirit of picture books is to discard what socialization has imposed on every child and to highlight children's innocence. Amazingly, though I once had that in me, I feel the power of re-learning what I have forgotten or left behind. 


   Prof. Yang also comes up some interesting ideas. For example, there is not a "must-be" ending to a story. Instead, the story can go with the flow. So I've learned that stories and real life are the same--we should allow for many possibilities. Also, the term "ecomocracy" advocates that things have life and that people and things are equal. True, many picture books are fun to read because the objects have their unique points of view as well. 


   As I listen to Prof. Yang, a really wild idea crosses my mind when I go to the herbarium in the afternoon. I suddenly believe that I am capable of writing a teenage novel for the life in the herbarium! 


   It's funny to see only women in the study club, from single women to married women with children to grandmas. I wonder where the picture-book loving men are. A really committed mom with a one-year-old infant mom sits next to me, while the baby can't take his eyes off me for a long while. Now, despite the fact that I am childless, I don't feel so anymore. In the end, some children have started their own "play club" whereas the adults are the ones that stay to listen to Prof. Yang. It seems adults need picture books more than children! 

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