When the Craft of Creative Writing Is No Longer Creative Because It Is Corrupt and Corrupting
(Synthesis of a lecture for the Creative Writing Series, "Kayaw ken Parabur ti Sao," University of Hawai'i at Manoa, organized by the Timpuyog: Ilokano Student Organization, UH Manoa, February 2007.)
By A Solver Agcaoili
Ilokano Language and Literature Program
University of Hawai'i
That craft and art of creative writing is a double-edged sword. Or a blade. Or, in more specific Ilokano term, badang or buneng. The badang or the buneng reference, of course, is a product of creative imagination going wild and pushing the boundaries of the mind to the limits and sometimes beyond it. Because the badang or the buneng has its blade on only one edge, and only in that edge comes the power to chop, cut, or crop, depending on the pure or mixed motive one has in summoning what it could do to respond to the call of duty to life and creation everyday.
In the whole history of the art and craft of Ilokano writing, as can be gleaned from the extant and remnant--in postmodernism and hermeneutics--we have from the fraile and conquistador accounts, there has always been this 'doble cara' kind of character and quality of Ilokano writing.
And if we push further the literary history of the Ilokanos in the more contemporary period, we have the same account of this
'dua a rupa'--this ambivalence that like the pendulum, has that capacity to bolt in creative rage and confront the enemy and yet has that same capacity to cower in fear and become the tool of oppression, with the creative writers themselves becoming the agents for such oppression.
The offering, for instance, of one's art and craft in creative writing for economic gains during a regime that is oppressive and abusive, is one abominable act any creative writer ought not to do, if that writer were sincere in what 'lettere' is all about--the lettere as an act, that while it is individual, is also at the same time a collective pursuit of the idea, a way to chase a dream, a way to pursue a topos greater and grander than what one have got at the present.
That is why we write: to resist the lies and ruses of this present world.
That is why we write: to insist that we have the right to live in dignity and self-respect.
That is why we write: to become agents of change--to change following the fundamental principles of justice and fairness.
Today, many Ilokano writers have conveniently forgotten the past--or maybe even too ignorant to know of what had happened--that they take their art and craft of creative writing as if these were weapons of mass destruction they can willfully use to suit their own purposes, to pursue their own ends, to attack other people, and to rise above the others.
Think of despots and we have them in the ranks of creative writers in Ilokano.
Their art and craft thus becomes one that is corrupt.
And because they have connections--they are well connected in that intricate and subtle 'compadrazgo' network of friends and influences--they have become so corrupting, spewing fire and brimstone upon people and attacking them using that fallacy of argumentum ad hominem they probably have not heard in their lifetime.
Because theirs is a pure example of a pure argumentum ad hominem. Put that in their whole scale ignorance--a case of argumentum ad ignorantiam--about the fact that many of the legitimate and respectable writers these corrupt and corrupting pretending ‘writers’ are decapitating have contributed to the building up of the structure of contemporary Ilokano writing even before some of them--the corrupt and corrupting pretenders to Ilokano art--could spell 'Ilokano' correctly, we have a mediocre bunch of wannabes wielding so much power against the rest of us Ilokano writers.
We must be warned.
When the craft of creative writing in Ilokano as in any other language for that matter cannot any more claim genuine creativity because some are in the position of power to dictate upon the others to think in the same way they think as if the whole act of writing is akin to the act of driving a cow to a pasture and herding them day in and day, we say: This corrupt and corrupting act of pretenders ought to stop.