Sunday, June 18, 2017

If I don't do it, / 不做會怎樣?


六月的植標館週六午後,我們來上豆科植物。傾盆大雨的下午,意外地來了許多孩子和媽媽,兩年前還是個孩子的柏輝這陣子都小學畢業了,這次來感覺像是要和過去說再見了。

On the rainy Saturday afternoon in June, we have a lesson on leguminous plants. It comes as a surprise that there are more children than expected on such a wet day. Our special guest is the 12-year-old Po-huei. When he came two years ago, he was still a child, and now he has graduated from elementary school. I feel he's coming this time to say goodbye not only to us but also to his childhood. 



        平常見沒什麼稀奇的阿勃勒黃花,在拆解之後原來有許多奧秘,今年來的這批孩子頗有學習的熱忱。

     The golden shower trees are in bloom now, and though the yellow flowers are commonly seen, the structure of the flowers is actually amazing. It's nice to see the kids learn with such enthusiasm. 



        雄蕊居然有分三種尺寸,雄雌蕊彎曲的線條也是為了傳宗接代設計!

     There are three sizes for the stamens. Even the curving lines of the filaments and the style are the design of nature to help the plant reproduce. 



        想不到男孩把花插到耳邊! 今天居然還有小朋友想做筆記,我好感動!

     I am amused by how the big boy wears the flower behind his ear. More interestingly, some boys take notes today, which greatly moves me! 



        接著是美麗的鳳凰花,只可惜最近雨下不斷,大美阿姨只能採到幾朵完整的花朵給小朋友們觀察。

      Next we observe the flame flowers. However, because of the continuous torrential rain, Guei-mei finds only three to four intact flowers to show to everybody. 



        雖然這陣子看到阿勃勒和鳳凰花都開了,不這麼近看哪知道花朵果實的奧秘呢?

     I see the golden shower flowers and flame flowers only from far away, but without close observations, I would miss the mysteries of their flowers and fruits. 



        就是看起來普普通通的綠豆黃豆芽也很有趣,黃豆芽還有屁味呢! 

     Even the ordinary-looking mung bean and soy bean sprouts are a lot of fun. The latter smell like farts! 



        我們也玩分組搶答,其實只是想黃豆製品,大家也都好投入! 

     We play the brainstorming game: Each group has to think of as many soy bean products as possible. See how devoted everyone is! 



        最後玩沙包,大家不亦樂乎! 

     We top off the day with the folk beanbag game. The kids enjoy it so much! 

        今年我們把活動頻率減少了,有時候做活動出門的路上也會想,如果不做多好,但每個下午結束的時候,就是會感受到一些溫暖和光亮,促使我繼續,而且在我完全不想界定教育這件事時,週六下午總是向我證明教育可以是有意義的。

     This year we have cut down on the times of the activities. On the Saturdays when there are workshops, I sometimes grumble and wonder how great it would be if there were no such thing on my way to the herbarium. But at the end of these Saturday afternoons, I feel there is always a small flame lit up in my heart, a glow of light that warms me and pushes me to continue. When I don't feel like defining the significance of education, these Saturday afternoons always prove to me that education can be fun and enjoyable. 

        活動結束之前,有個八歲男孩要我看他表演,雖然他一直失敗,我對他說:沒關係,在家練好下次再來!他要離開的時候說:謝謝你鼓勵我!有一天我們也許不再做這個活動,不做也不會少一塊肉,或許有些時候還會慶幸這樣的決定,但我會想念那些可愛純真的孩子和他們的話語。

     Before the end of the day, an eight-year-old boy asks me to watch his specially-prepared show. He keeps failing, so I tell him, "All it takes is practice. I believe you can do much better when you come next time." Before he leaves, he says to me, "Thank you for encouraging me." One day we might not go on with the activity, and it certainly won't kill me. Perhaps I might feel thankful for the decision, but I will certainly, definitely miss those lovely and innocent children and whatever they have said to me. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

between text and illustration / 文圖之間


今年開始對自己的創作模式有一些思考,好一陣子都是從文字著手,有時寫到沒有畫面,自己也察覺不到,所以我想改變。

This year I started to have some reflection on my pattern of making a picture book. For the past few years I have written the text first, but the danger is that sometimes part of the text doesn't conjure up any visual image, which I might not be aware of.  



        自從去上了繪本課之後,得到很多刺激,例如說我又一再被提醒,所有好作品的出發點都是創作者本身要享受整個過程,那些外加的目的和野心必須先放在一邊。

     Ever since I attended the picture-making courses, I have gained much stimulation. For one thing, I am constantly reminded that I have to discard my ambition and focus on enjoying making a book.



        雖然在分享作品方面,我是個超級膽小鬼,可是看到同學們大方地把作品擺出來,懇切地和老師同儕討論,我也自我鼓勵,每次上課都不斷突破心防。

     I am a coward when it comes to sharing my works, but seeing my classmates present and share their stories with everyone in class, I also try my best do let go of my fear. 



        透過老師不斷問問題,加上我說出自己在創作上一直以來的瓶頸,我覺得好像找到前進的路。

     In trying to answer the teacher's questions and voicing the problem I have detected in creating stories, somehow I feel I have found a really good direction. 



        因為我老是在故事裡包含太多意涵,所以最後主題沒說清楚,又把故事弄得很抽象。老師說我可以從圖畫起,把抽象的文本具像化,再把圖串連起來。

     Since I've always wanted to include too much in my stories, I fail to express the themes successfully. Also, they are too abstract for children to understand. My teacher said that I can try starting from drawing pictures because that way I can give concrete images to abstract ideas. Then a story can be developed by connecting the images I have. 



        即使故事這次寫不好,我也不在意從頭再來。只要我可以學著把故事說好,一切都好說。

     Even if the drafts are a failure, I don't mind begin anew. As long as I can learn to tell a good story, every effort is worth it. 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

On a spring night / 春末的夜裡


春末的夜裡,小男孩瑞瑞和媽媽咪咪來看我,而雙胞胎哥哥在車上睡覺,瑞瑞睡不著,因為怕做惡夢。

On a spring night, Ray comes to visit me with his mom Mimi, while his twin brother sleeps in the car. Ray can't sleep because he is afraid of having nightmares. 

瑞瑞問我:「汪達阿姨,你讀一年級的時候有夢想嗎?」我搖搖頭,很可惜地說沒有。
瑞瑞說:「我想當歌手。」
咪咪鼓勵瑞瑞唱一曲。於是我們在深夜裡開了盡興的小型演唱會。
媽媽繼續說兩兄弟的趣事,例如下田體驗農耕生活時,當其他孩子雙腳深陷於泥濘當中,精力過盛的兩人追著鴉子跑。

Ray asks me, "Auntie Wanda, did you have a dream when you were in first grade?" Unfortunately, I didn't. I felt pity for not being able to give a more creative answer.
Ray goes on to say, "I want to be a singer."
Mimi encourages Ray to sing, and thus starts our late-night mini-concert.
Mimi tells me more anecdotes about the two brothers.  For example, as the other kids panicked, the boys got so carried away when experiencing farming that they started to chase after the ducks.

好寧靜又好有活力的春夜啊!

What a peaceful and energetic spring night!