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29 September 2016


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Arnold, Thanks for 'Elep Returns'. In it I found that 'Kumbon' is the name of an Aidpost in Kandrian. Kumbon, my father was named after the Bird of Paradise with two long white tail feathers.

The bird used to live on Mt Kondo near my village of the same name but its gone now. When all the forests in PNG are gone, all the birds and animals will all have disappeared. RH and others must not be allowed to continue logging.

Elep Returns should be in all schools in the country to understand that plants and animals are living things. Once they are gone, human beings will be no more.

Hi Jael, good to hear from you again. I had a long talk with Bryan over the phone this year and found out that you are now living in the US.

Its good to know that you visit this site. This is were you will find many writings about PNG.

Elep returns could not have been published if generous hands like you were not around.
You have been acknowledged for your contribution in the book. I hope you do have a copy. Let me know if you do not have one.

Thanks for youf kind words.

Hi Arnold, I enjoy reading your articles here and pass them along to my father, Bryan Girard, in Kandrian to read as well.

I remember reading the story of "Elep" when you were in the early stages of editing it before it was published! So interesting to read about your history and journey to becoming a published author.

Hehehehe....never thought about that but...yeah, good suggestion, Paul. Let the English scholars decide on it. Thanks agai., Paul.

As the others have commented,Mr Mundua, your story is fantastic.Having said that, I am particulary interested in 'Writeatoullie'. You have invented or coined a word that is and can be added to the English language.
And let me tell you that that is another skill you posses although you may or may not have realised it.

Thank you Ed, Gary and Joe for your supportive comments.

Ed, I found out that in writing you don't work alone. You need someone for advice and encouragement and you have been doing that to many PNG writers.

I thank you and hope you will want to have a look at my current manuscript that I hope to finish by early next year.

Gary, Leo Keta was a former Provincial Forest Officer for WHP. Yes, in forestry all students are introduced to and thought subjects that are foreign to anything taught in high schools.

There are courses like Silviculture, Botany, Wood Science and a lot more. Tree identification is covered in Dendrology where all trees and plants are identified using scientific names.

Yes, Gary, forestry is indeed an interesting career and l agree I learnt a lot of thing around me when I entered that college.

Arnold, your story is encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

Arnold, you say you studied at Bulolo Forestry College. I have never been there, but my encounter with someone who I think had been a student there left me with a good impression.
I have been interested in the Melpa (Hagen) language. The Hagen people seemed to have names for all the different plants and trees. Then I met a man called Leo Keta from the Kopi clan near Hagen, he was working in Forestry. He gave me a list of over 36 species of trees with scientific names, common name and Melpa names.
He could give the full scientific description of all those trees, the Order, the Family, the Genus, the Species, the Trade Name, and the Melpa Name. For example he said the Hooped Pine which in Melpa is called Waima, is classified, Coniferales, Araucariacae, Araucaria, Cunninghamii, Waima, Hooped Pine.
There is the Oak tree in Western Highlands called Kuang, and one type which he classified as Amentiferae, Fagaceae, Castanopsis, Acuminatissima, is called Kuang Rokoua. And a type of Southern Beech, he classified as Amentiferae, Fagaceae, Nothofagus, Pullei. In Melpa is called Kraip-Kentetpe.
I was amazed as his ability to remember all the scientific names.
Arnold, your study at the Forestry College probably gave you a keen mind and memory and helped in your great ability to read and write.

A simple but profound (and well-written) tale, Arnold and worthy encouragement for all (not just Papua New Guinean) writers. You also confirm my own belief that to be a good writer you need to be an avid reader, to be resilient and persistent and to be patient. That it took you 3 years to write your first book was no surprise: one of my favourite authors, Richard Ford took 10 years to write his last book ('Canada') - and he was already a Pulitzer Prize winner!

Having a mentor/guide/critical friend is an asset that all of us crave and you were indeed fortunate to have the support of Sir Paulias, for whom I also have the highest regard, having met and worked with him, at the behest of Ken McKinnon, on the publication of his very first book which he wrote after a study tour in Africa in the early 1970s.

One of the great joys of my current life is helping, in a few small ways, the likes of Baka Bina, Marlene Potoura. Busa Wenogo and, soon, Rashmii Bell to craft their stories, both short and long. It is through them and the friendships born of our collaborations that I have developed a much greater understanding of what it is and means to be a Papua New Guinean - which, of course, is a fundamental reason why it is so important for Papua New Guineans to be writing for other Papua New Guineans.

Angra are absolutely correct. There are thousands of stories out there but simply we cannot write them all. One of the reasons that I think puts a blockage (I should say) to come up. With more writeatoullies is the incentive attached to writing. If incentives provided for writing is much like that provided for Sports and other recreational activities I am sure PNG will come up with more writeatoullies.

Angra, can you provide me the mailing addres for PNG Book Depository? I will forward 2 copies of my books as soon as I get the address.

Bro, Daniel....I totally agree Sir Paulias Matane is a true nationalist. Sitting and talking with him is like sitting with one of your own family member. He offers remarkable advice and i particularly remember his advice on how to make maximum use of time.

I asked him: 'Sir, I know you are a busy man. But every year you seemed to be launching a new book. How do you found time to write amidst your busy schedules to write?'. And he said: 'There are 24 hours in a day and that's alot of time to accomplish many things in a single day. I start my day at 4.00am and finish 8.00pm' He then went on to break up his day into activities and I was amazed and pleased with this great man. Amidst his tight scedules he still had time for writing between 4.00am and 6.00am every morning.

He truely is a great statesman and author. I admire him.

Phil....i have copies of A Bride's Price here with me. If you can send me your postal address I will forward a copy to you via express mail.

You did a wonderful review of Elep Returns sometime back in PNG Attitude that I failed to acknowledge back then due to internet problem we had here in Kndiawa at that time. This is a belated 'thank you' for that review. After receiving encouragement from Francis, Daniel and others I am thinking of republishing both books with Createspace. I will advise on that at a later time.

Thanks again.

Thank you Robin, Daniel, Phil, Iriani, Lindsay and angra Bina. Travelled to Goroka yesrerday morning from Kundiawa and returned very late last night so I could not acknowedge all your good comments on time yesterday. But I thank all you once again for all your encouraging comments and remarks.

In any lonely endeavor it is through such comments/remarks that keeps the fire burning and the spirit alive. After winning the 2005 National Literarure Competiton that carried a prize money of K150.00 I quitted from writing. I realized that there was no reward in writing. I could not find buyers. I had high hopes that tje Education department would take a keen interest in my books, especially Elep Returns that I purposely wrote for school children.. But. When that was not evident and the top prize money in the 2005 NLC was not at all attractive I quitted writng.

But after we formed the Simbu Wriuters Association in 2014 I picked up the pen again to contribute towards the Crocodile Prize. In doing so I also manage to work on my abandoned manuscript that had collected dust for close to 9 years.

Thank you all again, and thank you Keith and PNG Attitude.

Angra, Great words of encouragements and a good pep talk to us. Thank you

We can tell our stories best our own way. Our parents have been doing that for ages.

You do tell good stories.

I grew up having 50 versions of the same legends told in a different way each time and it was different as each teller would tell it differently. It was never boring (though they put us to sleep really quick).

Only this time the mode of telling has to be different. And the audience differ. Our stories are now competing with videos, video games, mobiles and texting.

We want to tell our stories to Papua new Guineans and yes we can be a Writeatoullie.

You can be the big Writeatoullie and lead us on with more books.


Kate Duetrom and Sir Paulias were helpful and OUP did edit a lot out of my book Zymur to fit their page requirements.

I now self publish with CreateSpace. I was fortunate for Phil to recommend me to Ed Brumby for him to provide editorial assistance. That is the other pressing issue - to find good editorial guidance (please note my indiscretion not to call Ed an Editor, he has guided me through my stories with much aplomb than I can give credit here).

The message out to us, everyone, Angra, is that we need to to spread the message of writing to all. If we cannot write contemporary stories we need to capture the multitude of legends poems and songs of every and all communities.

The stories have been told. We just need to write them down and then worry if they conform to the English grammar, syntax, sentence patterns later.

I fear for our nation. I bear a surname that is also a language name in Central Province. At last count, it was stated that there were only two speakers of the Bina language still alive.

The rest either died off or were assimilated into the surrounding tribes. Not only were the race of people lost, the stories associated with these group of people are lost also.

The language genocide is happening en-masse. When you see children speaking pidgin first before their mother tongue, then you wonder what stories are told in the house at night. We don't need to die off for the stories to be lost forever. Just refusing to speak and tell legends and stories in the lingo is killing off our stories.

We have a lot of Writeatoullie in waiting out there. We need to encourage them to write to tell these stories in the structure we tell, the English nuances are hard to copy so if you are creating a new story, it is trying.

Writing can be done by writing one line at a time on a paper. Great writers have been doing just that. I try to emulate that by writing one line at every opportunity that I find. I go along with the mantra that anyone can be a Writeatoullie like you, let me cheer you on and me self along.

It is encouraging that you are working to publish your third. Let me congratulate you in advance. I would like to also get in the literature world to publish some more books and hope to shortly self publish with CreateSpace my next tittle Antics of Alonaa Vol One (an anthology of six short stories) and another novella (my take on the Sandline invasion) that I have been struggling to complete for the last 13 years.

Angra, let me use this forum to once again also remind authors of the obligation to give to the PNG Book Depository, 2 copies of their published works.

Thanks Keith, I've ordered a copy.

Arnold, you are a hero. Aspirants, as with Daniel, ought read and read till thoughts effervesce, out-pour ideas, unwrapping from words.

Happy to see and read this article/story today as I'm currently reading Elep Returns! It's pretty good, and like Phil, I think it's the first book I've read from a tree's POV. I'm looking fwd to reading A Bride's Price.

Had the pleasure of meeting Sir Paulias Matane in 2013 at the Croc Prize awards; he's pretty cool (if I can say that). Good to see PNGeans helping each other out. I'd like to read To Serve With Love, will check if my library has any of his books.

I've read 'Elep Returns' Arnold and was quite enthralled. It's the first and only book I've read where the main character is a tree.

I think you do yourself a disservice in claiming to be an 'anybody' when it comes to writing. Your articles for PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize Anthology are terrific. Clearly there is a mastery of English language in evidence.

I'd like to read your first book, "A Bride's Price'. Where does one get a copy?

Like always, great story Arnold.

I was also assisted by PNG’s greatest statesman Sir Paulias Matane when I was struggling to find a publisher for my recently released book ‘I Can See My Country Clearly Now’.

Sir Paulias asked me to send the manuscript to him and he in turn passed it onto Kate Deutrom, the Oxford University Press representative in Port Moresby. He also introduced me to the same CBS Publishers in India.

Kate wrote to me and said she could only adopt the first chapter as a Supplementary Reader for Grade 6 – 8 students in PNG and Pacific Island schools. She said the rest of the manuscript was suitable for high schools, universities and for general reading.

And Kate recommended some publishers to me but I was not successful with them until I bumped into PNG Attitude in 2015.

But back to Sir Paulias, the great man. I had thoroughly enjoyed one of his first books ‘A New Guinean Travels Across Africa.’ Later, when I saw him selling some of his other books at Boroko from the boot of his car, I bought 'To Serve With Love' which he signed for me. And that’s how I met him and got his address. He was my inspiration.

He later led me to Kate Deutrom of Oxford University Press. Sir Paulias Matane is a very generous man, a true nationalist who has assisted many of us Papua New Guineans. Such man live long.

Of your two books Arnold, I am beginning to enjoy ‘Elep Returns’ and I will read the other after that. I have also enjoyed reading Roka’s Brokenville, Francis Nii’s ‘Resonance of My Thoughts’, late Regis Stella’s ‘Moments in Melanesia’, late Sir Ignatius Kilage’s ‘ My Mother calls Me Yaltep’, late Vincent Eri’s ‘The Crocodile’ and Dr Steven Winduo’s ‘Savannah Flames.’ All these precious books I have in a small collection in my house.

I bought a book at the recent Brisbane Writer’s Festival by John Birmingham titled ‘How To Be A Writer’. He skilfully uses many useful quotes and two of these are:

‘You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.’ – Annie Proulx.

And William Faulkner says ‘Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.

Arnold, you did the right thing to read newspapers and magazines on your travels. And to kill time in Alotau, you read Sir Paulias book To Serve Sith Love.' which eventually led you to meeting the author himself who showed you the way to success – and prizes.

And I agree to your newly invented word 'Writeatoullie'

A great story, Arnold. Congratulations.

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