Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hola! back from the attick

Diary of a writer - 10

It's been a busy year so far. Some writing has been done, some schools have been visited, some stories have been told. Many more have been read though. It's been a process of insideness (like the word) of inlooking (like this one too). I have retreated to the attic and has come out full of writing stamina to see me through these winter months.

The best thing that happened is that while I was away, Saffron has been busy posting her thoughts and adventures from different places around the globe. I just found them all in the post. She has been writing a column for this really cool kids magazine called Upstart.

Have a look! (Many thanks to Upstart Magazine and Penguin NZ)

Hello Upstart!

I am in Lukang in Taiwan.

This is what I do:

I call the lovely lady from Upstart.
This is what I tell her:

‘Hello hello, lovely lady, it’s me, Saffron. I am in Lukang, in Taiwan! It’s so noisy here. There are thousands of people and there is a dragon and lots of lanterns and drums.

We are here with Mrs Cheung. She has brought us to the old town to participate in the traditional Lantern Festival celebrations.

This is what she says:

⍟Lukang is one of Taiwan’s oldest towns.

⍟The Lantern Festival is celebrated every year on the 15thday of the lunar month.

⍟This is the year of the dragon.

⍟There are puzzles written on the lanterns.

This is what I say:

‘I am so quite excellent at puzzles!’

This is what we do:

We go to the Lantern Puzzle Zone.

I am so good at solving puzzles, but these ones are a little bit strange. They are in Chinese and they look quite difficult for me today. So I say, ‘Let’s move on, I might come back to the puzzles tomorrow when I am more rested.’

Dad says, ‘What a clever idea, Pumpkin! Let’s get something to eat.’

Mrs Cheung says we must try some tang yuan, which are these sticky balls filled with strange paste.

Sage says, ‘Absolutely not!’

Mum says, ‘Delicious.’

Dad says, ‘You must try this, Pumpkin.’

I say, ‘Okay.’

I try one. I quite like it. I like it a lot.

Then I remember how good I am at eating Chinese food and walking around the Chinese streets. So I tell Sage to hold my hand. I tell her we must take some photos of the beautiful lanterns. I know Mrs Wilson would be so happy with this.

‘We might get lost,’ Sage says.

‘Don’t worry little sister, you are with me,’ I say.

 We hold hands and we start walking around. But suddenly an explosion happens. Then another explosion happens. Then another and another. This is so scary. I start running. I run to my left. I run to my right. I just run. I feel really afraid. Then, I see this huge dragon coming straight at me. It moves and it roars and it’s so scary. So I run some more and I yell at the same time. But no one can hear me and the dragon is still following me. Then I realise that I’ve forgotten Sage. This is terrible. I must protect her from the dragon. She must be so scared by now. Then I look back. The dragon opens it’s mouth, then closes it’s mouth, then it goes past me. I am shaking. But I still need to find Sage.

‘Sage!’, I yell…

 ‘Pumpkin, come here, you are missing all the fun!’ Dad yells.

‘This is called FengPao, which means firecrackers in Chinese,’ Mrs Cheung says. ‘We believe the noise will drive away disease and bad luck.’

‘Saffron, why did you start running like that?’ Sage asks.

I tell her this is not the time to focus on the way I move. This is the time to admire the FengPao, the lanterns and to taste the tang yuan. It’s the tradition.

‘So, hello? Hello? Lovely lady? It’s so noisy, in case you didn’t hear me before I am in Lukang in Taiwan. Hello? Okay I will call you later, I can’t hear you . . .’

Zaijian Upstart, I will call again soon!