Saturday, December 31, 2016
On cold winter mornings, I will warm up by reading before heading for work. This week, I encountered a haiku translated into French, which perfectly summarizes my end of the year.
the affection of a father
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Chubby Auntie had been handing out free newspapers in the Wanfang Hospital MRT station for several years. Every day her bright smile would light up my day. However, a while ago, Chubby Auntie vanished without a trace. I wondered if she fell ill or if she went on a long journey.
I happened to attend a talk given by the illustrator Maniniwe then. I long to spend some time in her "Sea Hotel," where I will have all the time and space to myself.
Maybe Chubby Auntie went to the Sea Hotel.
One day I encountered Chubby Auntie coincidentally in the MRT station near home. She explained to me that she is no longer employed by the newspaper.
Strangely, I miss such a stranger so much that my heart aches...
Monday, December 26, 2016
I went on a picture-book shopping spree when traveling to Korea three and half years ago. Though I hardly understood the text, I did take much delight in merely looking at the images. Lately, the super hit drama "Ghostly monster" has reminded me that maybe one of the books I own is about the folklore character, the ghostly monster. I was finally motivated to ask a Korean teacher to roughly translate the story for me. As I had guessed, the book is about a bunch of starving ghostly monsters. Though they could conjure up gold nuggets, they couldn't get the deuk bog gi (rice cake) they crave for. Well, what a contrast with the handsome lead role in the drama.
I admire Koreans for their talent and marketing strategies from the bottom of my heart. It's amazing to see folklore used in picture books and pop culture. Some day I am doing to write a story based on Nien, a fierce beast in Chinese folk stories.
Coincidentally, I read the summary of another book I had bought back then in dpi illustration magazine yesterday. The book is titled The Elixir Spring Fairy. The books of the author, Bae Hee Na are all my favorites. The story takes place in a public bathhouse. A little girl meets a granny-like fairy as she is playing in the pool. Their short but sweet friendship becomes a wonderful memory for the little girl.
I hadn't expected to learn anything about the books I purchased a long time ago, but right because of that, this surprise turned out to be the best Christmas gift!
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Since this past fall, I've been catching up with some girls that graduated a few years ago. Through sharing the past few years together, I feel greatly soothed. This enables me to jump outside my small box and swim in many possibilities of life.
As we walk out of the Greek restaurant on a Saturday evening, the cool and fresh winter air greets us. Zi-rong points at the fat and yellow moon, under which hang some twinkling stars. On our way to the bus station, I go on with my murmur of unimportant worries. When it's time to say goodbye, Zi-rong reminds me with a smile, "You should live in the present."
Though I have not got to witness the Greek moon in person, I can imagine that it's blue and yellow, cool and warm like what the girls tell me!
Saturday, December 24, 2016
"Headache" is my word of the year. Though the doctor confirmed that it should be attributed to the hereditary factor, I sometimes can't help wondering if I have imposed too much pressure on myself.
Before seeing 2016 off, I suffered from another headache. The beats of the drummer intensified with time passing. The thunderous music screamed, "Forget all about your obsessions with the insignificant trifles. Focus on us!"
The next day after the drummers left, I softened from head to toe, feeling acutely the joy of living without physical pain. I couldn't afford to give thought to what had been bothering me anymore. And surprisingly, the first thing I did when arriving at the office was doodling.
How nice that I have finally figured out the meaning of a headache before the year ends.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
We love to chat with the eight-year-old Kai. Often we will discover his big secrets as we ramble. One day he mentions his little girlfriend. He tells us with such confidence that the girl loves her too. Mom and I just can't help asking, "How do you know?" He replies with self-important pleasure, "She wrote on the first page of her two notebooks, 'I love Kai!'"
Far different from the play-hard-to-get love games, the ways children say I love you are so straightforward and brave. Thus, I have the same words written down in my journal to remember the beauty of loving people and being loved.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
I miss sketching badly, and the sun today beckons me to go outside for fresh air. I travel to the forest inside the city--Fuyang Park. The hidden corner is quiet even on weekends. I sit on the narrow path, having the green garden all to myself.
People in Taipei certainly how to make full use of the park. The hills are their outdoor study with the bamboos leaves swaying in the background and sunshine streaming in from the four sides...
"I hope in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing the world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever."
The View from the Cheap Seats by by Neil Gaiman
Saturday, December 17, 2016
I have experienced some people's happiness of being in love this week, so I can't help flying like them ...
Physics of Love
by Kim Inwook
Her mass not in proportion to her physical volume
That nymph as delicate as violet
That nymph as airy as petals
Attracts me far more than the mass of the earth
In the blink of an eye
Like Newton's apple
I fall at her feet involuntarily
From the sky to the earth
My heart continues fluttering at a dazzling speed
That is first love
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Mucha Zoo has recently held a 30-Must-See sketch contest to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary, which gives me a fantastic opportunity since I long to sketch so much! When I arrive at the zoo, I have less than two hours left. I choose the orangutans' enclosure, which is very close to the entrance. I am not in a very good condition for sketching, but I am determined to have the painting done by hook or by crook!
I always hurry from one enclosure to another when visiting the zoo. This time, I am lucky to have to spend a long period of time at the same spot. I observe not only the orangutans but also the visitors. The orangutans hardly stop moving, so it takes patience to draw their portraits. The visitors move as much as the orangutans. Usually they'll give curt greetings like, "Hey, orangutans!" and leave within one minute. I wonder if the orangutans also greet them, "Hey, people!" Or maybe they don't bother at all.
Sometimes there are just the orangutans and me. It's so quiet around us that I can be fooled by the illusion that we are in the woods.
I would say that the kids keep me company for a while instead of the other way round. Being with them is surprisingly healing. Unfortunately, I don't even know their names. On my next visit, we have to formally introduce ourselves!
Sunday, December 04, 2016
We went to Mu-xin market on a field trip the other day. The apple man invited every girl to take an apple for free. I was amused how everyone imitated him in rubbing the apple against their sleeve.
After the girls left, I bought a bag of apples. As I ate one, I couldn't help imagining the scenery of Lishan!