Vol 28: Spring & Summer 2020

HK$128

OBSCURA Volume 28 / Spring & Summer 2020
“Let’s See Wonder Through a Child’s Eyes.”
Cowrice / All Things Bright and Beautiful / Kaneko Misuzu

以孩子清澄的心,觀看世間不可思議。

It’s only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

—— The Little Prince


重點故事包括:

1. A NIGHT CAMPING IN THE WILD / COWRICE

內文節錄

我們的故事
在爸爸的回憶裏
和妹妹對談
讓姊姊繪畫
讓媽媽填上色彩
一家人構思出來。

跟妹妹化身為愛麗絲跳入夢幻的仙境裏
大草地上的神秘黑色三角形
妳看見什麼?
我看見什麼?
只有經歷,才有故事。
只有想像,才會看到夢幻的事情。

我們的繪本故事發生在一家人於郊野露營的一個晚上,上方的圖畫是現實世界,下方的圖畫是妹妹的幻想世界。


2. SLOW DOWN, LOOK AROUND. / ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

內文節錄

著名心理學家榮格在《Memories, Dreams, Reflections》一書裡提到「兒童原型」,每個 人的內心都有一個小孩,是一種幫助我們聯繫過去的方式,使我們回憶起孩童時代 的經歷和情感,同時變得成熟,繼而達到自我實現。大人看兒童繪本的時候,往往不經意地尋回遺忘以久的好奇心、創造力、想像力,還有單純的喜怒哀樂。「我很喜歡意大利插畫師Beatrice AlemagnaOn a Magical Do-Nothing Day》,內容是關於一個小女孩與媽媽去了郊外的小屋,外面下著雨,女孩只是躺在沙發上,不斷地按著遊戲機。工作中的媽媽鼓勵她出外走走,於是她走到森林裡閒逛,因不小心掉了遊戲機到湖裡,使她開始發掘森林裡有趣的事物,並展開一場奇妙的體驗。 這故事表達了無所事事也能帶來創意,對大自然要保持著好奇心。」阿莉說。故事中的小女孩在森林裡發現了遊戲機不能帶來的單純又美好的快樂,彷彿訴說著, 別忘了我們還是小孩的時候,初次認識世界而帶來的驚喜和感動。Joanne:「有些繪本只有簡單、不花巧的圖畫,沒有配上文字,也能讓人感受深刻。加拿大的詩人JonArno Lawson創作、Sydney Smith繪畫的《Sidewalk Flowers》,描寫一個小女孩跟爸爸逛街,她在灰暗的街道、冷漠的人群和不起眼的角落裡,發現了許多美麗的小花,她把小花一一收集起來,並在回家的路上,送給死去的小鳥、公園裡午睡的人、路過的小狗和她的媽媽。情節簡單卻充滿了詩意,使人感受到小孩的童真, 我每次看都會很感動。」有時候,兒童繪本就像天上閃亮的星星,是為了讓每個人 終有一天能回到自己的星球,好像小王子般遊歷星球、體會不同的人生後,仍能保持著純真和童心,不在無邊際的宇宙裡迷失。


3. THE PUREST CHILDLIKE POETRY / KANEKO MISUZU

內文節錄

讓我們一起來讀金子美鈴的詩,
以童真凝視宇宙萬物,
以清澄的心體驗生命裡的微小觸動。


4. POETRY, SEEDS, AND MAGIC / MOSSES

內文節錄

Phaedrus我發現好多喜歡繪本的都是大人,有時甚至懷疑,小孩真的喜歡繪本嗎?其實喜歡的都是大人吧。

黃思哲:我讀兒童繪本的契機,是因為我有一個女兒, 而小孩都喜歡聽枕邊故事,才會萌生去買繪本的念頭。不過一開始蠻挫敗的,我發現我喜歡的繪本,她都不喜歡;至於她喜歡的,我讀來又沒什麼趣味。大人和小孩,各自都是用很不同的方式去理解繪本。

Nathan我也是,我以前要照顧小我十五歲的弟弟,所以也有同感。我聽過一個說法,說小孩是能辨識出猴子的五官,即使只有些微差別,小孩仍可以察覺出來,而這是大人做不到的。小孩聽枕邊故事, 通常都不是完整讀(聽)完繪本,而是要求家長重覆讀一些他們喜歡的段落,之後才安然入睡;;我會想,對大人來說是重覆的段落,但對小孩子來說不是,看圖畫也是同樣道理。

Phaedrus好像大人真的無法理解小孩的心呢?

Nathan是的,甚至連作者都不能。繪本的作者是大人,讀者是小孩,但身為作者的大人,也往往無法控制或預計得到,小孩最後怎麼去理解故事。

黃思哲:反過來說,因為作者終究是大人,無論想寫一個再怎麼純粹的故事,也難免會把自己的人生經驗挹注進去,所以大人讀繪本,是完全可以當成大人讀物般去欣賞。

Phaedrus我覺得有點悲哀,結果大人再怎麼努力,終究是無法以小孩子的角度,感知到繪本中的「不可思議 」。

Nathan我覺得,我們根本不知道小孩的感受,我們已經忘記了那種感受。

黃思哲:等於我問說,我們能不能用小孩子的心境, 跟家人出門到外面時的新鮮感?而就算你知道那種感受為何,也不等於你能重新感受一遍。

Nathan其實不是追求當小孩,是重新理解自己是怎麼成長的。大人都是從小孩轉化過來的,我覺得大人看繪本,更像是一個緩解的過程。

黃思哲:我覺得就是一種認出的過程,認出的不只是記憶,而是一種小孩子有過的感受。認出的過程是很重要的,往往要離開過,才能認出以前的自己。 對小孩來說,繪本是一顆種子,就算只模糊記得一幀畫面、一小個段落,對以後的成長總有影響;對大人來說,繪本就像是一種魔法,可以把你喚醒,讓你認出小時候的感受,那些我們曾經擁有過,卻又丟失了的東西。


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OBSCURA Volume 28 / Spring & Summer 2020
“Let’s See Wonder Through a Child’s Eyes.”
Cowrice / All Things Bright and Beautiful / Kaneko Misuzu
 

It’s only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

—— The Little Prince


Highlighted stories include:

1. A NIGHT CAMPING IN THE WILD / COWRICE

Excerpt

Our story
Rests in Dad’s memory
Narrated by our Little Girl
Illustrated by our Older Girl
And filled in with colors by Mom
Our story is
Created by all of us.

Let’s dive into the dreamy fairyland with our Little Girl as Alice
The mysterious black triangle on the grass
What do you see?
What do I see?
Only with adventures, can the story be told.
Only with imagination, can the fantasy be seen.

Our story takes place at night while camping in the wild. The picture on top is reality, while the bottom shows the imaginary world in our Little Girl’s head.


2. SLOW DOWN, LOOK AROUND. / ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

Excerpt

The renowned psychologist Carl Jung once mentioned the concept of the inner child in his Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Every individual has a childlike aspect hidden underneath, which is a bridge for us to be connected to our past. While recollecting our experience and emotion during childhood, we can also grow into a more mature person and fulfill ourselves. For adults, reading picture books is a process to regain the forgotten curiosity, creativity, imagination, and their most genuine emotions. “On a Magical Do-Nothing Day is a book by the Italian illustrator Beatrice Alemagna that I like a lot. It is a story about a little girl who goes to a cabin in the woods with her mother. It is raining outside, so the girl lies on the sofa to play video games. Her mother, who is working, suggests her to go out for a walk. Then she goes into the woods but accidentally drops her game console into a lake. This accident turns out to be the beginning of her adventure in the woods where she discovers many interesting things during her exploration. This story is about how doing nothing can be creative too. All you need to do is to stay curious about nature,” says Ah Li. The book narrates a story of a little girl discovering in the woods a sense of pure and beautiful joy that can never be given to her by a game console. This is as if reminding adult readers of us being excited and moved by getting to know the world as a child. Joanne says, “Some picture books have only simple and unrefined drawings, they don’t even have text. Even so, they can really move their readers. Sidewalk Flowers is a picture book written by the Canadian writer JonArno Lawson and illustrated by Sydney Smith. It depicts the story of a little girl taking a walk with her father. Along the greyish streets, unfriendly passers-by, and uninteresting cityscape, she sees a lot of pretty flowers. She collects the flowers and gives them to the dead bird, a person taking a nap in the park, a dog she sees, as well as her mother. The plot is simple but poetic. I can feel vividly the innocence of the girl. I am deeply moved every time when reading the book.” Children’s picture books are somehow like the twinkling stars in the sky. There is always one of the planets up in the sky that could be somewhere you would like to reside. Hopping from one planet to another like the Little Prince, with our innocence and inner child guiding us through our journey, we would never get lost in the vast galaxy.


3. THE PUREST CHILDLIKE POETRY / KANEKO MISUZU

Excerpt

When you read Kaneko’s poems,
not only can you feel the immense beauty of nature and the Universe,
but you can also see the wonder of everything with a child’s vision.


4. POETRY, SEEDS, AND MAGIC / MOSSES

Excerpt

Phaedrus: I have the impression that it is mostly adults who enjoy reading picture books. Sometimes this makes me wonder if children actually like picture books at all. Are adults the real target readers of picture books?

Wong Sze Chit: The trigger for me to start reading picture books was my daughter. Children like bedtime stories, this was the reason for me to buy my first picture book. But it didn’t go well at the beginning, because what I like is not what she likes, while what she likes is kind of boring to me. Adults and children interpret picture books in rather distinctive ways.

Nathan: Same for me. I felt the same when taking care of my brother, who is fifteen years younger. I once heard a saying, that children can recognize the facial features of monkeys. They can tell them apart even with the subtlest difference. This is something adults are incapable of. Children do not really look for a bedtime story that is perfectly complete, rather, they like to ask their parents to repeat and repeat the part that they like before going to bed. I began to wonder if children don’t really see things as repetitive as adults would do? I think the same logic also applies to look at pictures.

Phaedrus: Sounds like adults can never truly understand children?

Nathan: Indeed. Not even the authors of picture books. The authors are adults, while the readers are children. The authors, as adults, can never control or predict how children would interpret their stories.

Wong Sze Chit: To put it another way, if the authors are adults, no matter how hard they try to write a simple story, it is unavoidable for the stories to be influenced by the personal experience of the authors. Therefore, when adults read a picture book, they can actually enjoy it as if it were written for adults.

Phaedrus: This may sound a little sad — no matter how hard adults try, they can never see things from the children’s perspective or thoroughly experience the impossible charm of picture books.

Nathan: I guess it is not possible for us to know how children feel, as we have already forgotten how to feel things that way.

Wong Sze Chit: To put it in another way, can we enjoy the childlike excitement of going out with our family again? Even if you know that feeling, there is no way for you to truly relive that feeling.

Nathan: It is not about trying to be a child once again, it is about rethinking the process of us growing up. All adults were once children. For adults, reading picture books can be a soothing process.

Wong Sze Chit: To me, it is a process of realization. We come to understand not only our memories, but also our perceptions of everything during childhood. Realization is an essential process. We need to take a step back to recognize who we were. Picture books, to children, are like a seed. This seed can be in the form of an image or a short passage that plants something for the growth of a person. On the other hand, picture books are like magic to adults; they remind us of how we used to perceive things as children. They help us recall what we once possessed but got forgotten.

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On the cover: photography by Irene Leung

Print Details: 132 pages, perfect bound with a white cloth spine, full-color.

Printed in Hong Kong.