Saturday, October 6, 2012

Indigenous Writing

Indigenous Writing.

A few months ago I wrote a post about the lack of indigenous characters in Australian fiction. I determined then to read more novels with Indigenous Australians in them that were hopefully written by Indigenous Australians. I have just finished Peter Docker’s The Waterboys. Peter Docker is not an Indigenous Australia, but according to notes in the book he had a lot of help from Indigenous Australians in writing the novel and he grew up on a station near Esperance in WA.

The main character in the Waterboys is not Indigenous Australian, but he has adopted their culture. His best mate and second main character is an Indigenous Australian, and so are many of the other characters.

The novel is an alternative history, where only the eastern states of Australia have been colonised. The reason WA was not colonised is that Captain Freemantle fell in love with the indigenous culture and decided he did not want it to be devastated by English rule.

But the world has really suffered from environmental degradation like global warming, and the water deprived south-eastern Australians invade, the Indigenous Australians fight them.

The novel really got me thinking about the indigenous mind-set. I think it has helped me to understand their love of country and why being colonised has so damaged them. I really felt angry during a scene when Lieutenant-Governor Stirling announces to the assembled Indigenous Australians that they are now British subjects. What absolute arrogance. There was nothing at all beneficial for the Indigenous Australians in becoming British subjects.

The novel left me wanting to read more about Captain Freemantle and the actual history of WA.

Currently I am reading Blood a novel written by part-Indigenous Australian Tony Birch.   

DiVine Writing.

I have a new article on DiVine about how dependent I am on the internet.  It’s another personal article and I am concerned I am becoming too self-referential. The previous DiVine editor said readers prefer personal articles: they want to hear about people with disabilities living with their disability. But I wonder if people will start to think I am narcissistic.

Of the twenty-four articles I have written for DiVine, nine have been about my personal experiences. But of those nine articles two were written to inform people about how I overcame health issues which affect many people. One was on how effective and painless cataract surgery is and the other more recent one was on navigating the public dental system. I hoped showing my personal experience would benefit people in a similar situation.

Two of the personal articles were about my father’s dementia. I wrote them to help other people who have a family member with dementia realise that it’s not their fault that the dementia suffer is so difficult to live with and they shouldn’t feel like they have betrayed them when they place them in a nursing home.

Another personal article showed the pros and cons of studying online for people with disabilities. An article about me hiding my ulcerative colitis was meant to resonate with those who also attempt to hide their disabilities. 

An article about my love of science fiction came after the editor suggested we all write articles about who we are. I also wrote an article on why I love gardening, partly in response to a previous article written by a DiVine writer on why they hated gardening. 

Still, in the future I hope to write less about my own experiences and more about the experiences of others. A bit like this blog: in the beginning it was predominately about me, but I have gradually changed it to be more about what is happening in the writing world.

My next article for DiVine is totally non-personal. It is about media guidelines for portraying people with a disability.


Anthony J. Langford said...

The Waterboys sounds pretty good. Great idea. It's a pity the world embraces the frivolous while bold ideas such as this one go unnoticed.
I should jot these down for Christmas presents - and requests for me.. ;)
Perhaps a late year list or two would be helpful?

Your articles and your blog are always very professional.
Sorry to hear about your father. I think I missed that post. That must have been very difficult. A growing issue for all Australians.

Anthony J. Langford said...

ps great cover!