LAST SATURDAY, under the auspices of the PNG Society of Writers, Editors and Publishers (SWEP), I introduced an idea to a bunch of Port Moresby writers.
Basically it was this: small groups of writers meet regularly to individually read short examples of their own writing to the group. Then the group, in rotation, offers suggestions, corrections or comments on the piece.
This is a common modus operandi of many writers’ groups throughout Australia and it’s a concept I thought might work well in Papua New Guinea.
Traditionally, both in PNG and elsewhere, it is common to discuss matters in small groups which tend to be very self-disciplined and thus achieve results.
My Scottish ancestors no doubt got together with just the fight leaders and strategists to plan how best to clobber the English on the morrow, just as did the recent ancestors of today’s PNG generations – and for similar reasons!
Family issues, village issues, disciplinary issues and criminal issues were all usually sorted out in small groups before including the rest of those interested.
The venue for this small group of writers was the Moresby Arts Theatre, where a tasty light lunch was provided.
Members of the SWEP committee, notably Ruth Moiam, Steve Ilave and Regina Dorum, had capably arranged invitations to Moresby writers, advertising and a host of other details.
The meeting started with 18 (of 31 pre-confirmed) and an hour and a half later numbers had grown to 25 attentive, passionate, participatory writers, sitting on the near seats in the tiered theatre.
From where I spoke, sitting on the edge of the stage, I could tell by the affirmative nods, the smiles and whispered comments that the idea was being accepted. This was confirmed by several speakers in the open session which followed.
Steven, as an informal chairman, asked everyone to introduce themselves and make what comments they wanted. This was, for me, the most interesting session.
Some people spoke at length and brought up interesting and relevant aspects of the writing scene.
And what a modern, discerning bunch of writers they are – discussing how today’s social media might integrate with their work.
Not for them Twitters and Facebook, which they see as being person-to-person communication, and useful to that extent only.
Blogs? Yes, definitely have a place in publishing, for comparison, for education.
And agreement that for a blog posting and for a blog comment, the writing should be the best the writer can muster.
I was very happy with the day, and most impressed by the ability and good PNG commonsense of those writers.
We enjoyed our light lunch with a can of soft and informal discussion before we all went our various ways.
Thank you again to those competent, friendly SWEP committee members for a job well done.