Questions you should never ask a writer
31 October 2019
"Is the group or the writers recognised by higher tertiary institutions like UOG, UPNG, linguistic institutions etc? Has their research work being recognised and acknowledged by NRI and appropriate institutions? How many research work have they undertaken, recognised and certified by appropriate institutions, authors and writers? Is/are the literature organizations aware of the existence of these writers? Have they followed all protocols to be recognised as writers? Is this letter a short cut to be recognised and rewarded? Other questions reserved...." - Billymore Rakatani, Facebook
PORT MORESBY - Billymore should be told to also read sites like PNG Attitude. If he does he will know that writing is not easy.
Writing non-fiction is not easy. In stories, a writer must try to capture the small moments where emotions speak.
You see a group of young boys making fun under a tree and rolling around in the grass over their jokes.
Any writer will really struggle to capture that moment in time - by trying to describe what they do, how they do it, what was the trigger word that sets off the laughing etc.
In writing you do not hear the laughter; writers try to do that with words. A simple task like that is not easy.
Writers want to transfer the atmosphere. They may do with a lead up. That calls for a special talent - oratorical penmanship and talent.
Writers who capture these emotions have a special skill. They are orators on paper and try to do their best to capture your imagination and hold it for a moment, helping your mind to do its own thinking.
Academic writers do not need to consider the emotions of the reader. It is factual knowledge that has to be correct. Academic paper must stand up to the scrutiny you suggest and the places where scrutiny is given are in place.
Most of our writing will be to capture our legends and history. These are the oral stories of our people and, if a writer does not give emotions to them when capturing them in writing, very few people will read these bodies of work especially for those these writings are important.
For example, in the village and language group that these oral stories belong to. They must be written in a way that they can be read and understood.
So Billymore, I write but have not been certified by anyone nor will my writings be certified in the future.
Those who read my shorts are the people who certify my works.
I write about a time in my life when I was a young boy with no television and no mobile phones and when I spent my weekends traversing our traditional land and boundaries doing the small, mischievous things young boys do.
I want to tell other people and children of today that they are missing out on life when they are watching movies all day on phones and laptops and playing with mobile phones.
This is that from the village there is a vast expanse yet to be explored.
I don't need certification to talk through my words to my readers and my readers don't need to worry me about certification.
One thing is certain, Billymore, while you dither about certification, all the old people who have the knowledge and traditions of your family, clan and tribe are fast dying.
If you do not act soon to write them down, because you are so worried about certification, don't blame anyone because it is you who is procrastinating and the casualty of that procrastination will be the history and oral stories of your family, clan and tribe.
The three writers that you cast aspersions over have not had their writings certified but, if you have the time, please do certify their writings.
Rules are meant
For the obedience of fools
And the guidance of the wise
Posted by: Ed Brumby | 01 November 2019 at 02:38 PM
Yes, you certainly need guides (rules) to get you there.
I've edited a lot of works by PNG writers now and one of the biggest tasks is to make what they want to say make sense in English. No reflection on the writers, the school system doesn't help them much and a lot of them are writing in a third language. I've got a collection of common mistakes in my head that I look out for.
The danger for me as an Australian is over-editing and destroying the unique PNG style of writing.
Such a style exists and deserves wider exposure.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 01 November 2019 at 09:32 AM
Leonard's writing makes strong sense, the narrative has dramatic force and his personal style is a clear expression of how he thinks and speaks, providing a unique personal interpretation of his world.
With that kind of ability, you can burn the rule book.
Otherwise it's good to have some guides to get you there because it's not as easy as it looks.
Posted by: Michael Dom | 01 November 2019 at 09:14 AM
It might be rightist nonsense too Michael.
I'm sure you know what I mean.
However, to clarify, creative writers should not feel bound by rules.
Ask Leonard, he understands.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 31 October 2019 at 03:51 PM
Thanks Baka and our senior writers in this forum and other platforms to silence that Billymore.
Billymore only needs to tell us the protocols which we have missed so that we converge our ideas with his if it is fitting. Otherwise we must not waste time on this narrow minded person.
Guys keep on writing even if Marape doesn't recognise it. We are leaving something behind, truly.
Posted by: Kenny Pawa Ambaisi | 31 October 2019 at 02:46 PM
What rules does creativity bend, blow, break in this work, which was described as a 'fine poem'?
Posted by: Michael Dom | 31 October 2019 at 12:17 PM
Sounds like leftist nonsense to me, Phil.
Your writing most often follows rules of logic, common sense and good journalism, and your novels, which are major creative works, also demonstrate an adherence to accepted norms and functional elements of good storytelling.
Do they not then adhere to some 'rules'?
There is a limit to why and how, how often, how many, and when 'rules' should or need to be bent, beat and broken.
Creativity is gets all of that right.
Posted by: Michael Dom | 31 October 2019 at 12:10 PM
Just a little correction Baka. Non-fiction involves real things, real people, real events, real places and real writing. However, fiction is just imaginary things, imaginary people, imaginary events, imaginary places and imaginary writing.
I guess a lot of our PNG writers fall under the 'Fiction' category.
Posted by: Jordan Dean | 31 October 2019 at 11:33 AM
Creative writing is all about breaking rules.
This includes grammatical rules, spelling and conventional forms of narrative but it also includes societal norms and accepted wisdoms.
Many writers will tell you how 'facts' can get in the way of the truth.
People who insist on following rules don't make good writers.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 31 October 2019 at 10:06 AM
"Rules and models destroy genius and art" - William Hazlitt
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 31 October 2019 at 09:09 AM
Iso, I have pasted this just now under his comment in the article I uploaded on PNG Team Bryan Kramer blog.
Our support is reaching the 1,300 mark with over 70 shares and lots of positive comments.
Posted by: Daniel Kumbon | 31 October 2019 at 07:28 AM
Good one Baka. Can someone share this article's link on Billymore Rakatani's facebook page please.
I hope he/she reads this article and what will be his/her response.
Posted by: Iso Yawi | 31 October 2019 at 06:07 AM