Criticism

We both know my writing is flawless. There are absolutely no mistakes — grammatical, punctuation-wise, or otherwise. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I cast modesty aside and called it perfect.

It thus came as a surprise when I came across this comment on my faultless article The Jinn by someone called Mememe, here reproduced verbatim:

So many things wrong with this story i dont know wgere to begin. i must say though it is well written however, you have got your facts wrong.

First: human beings cannot see jinns

second: the names: fair enough he is Tuareg and named abdullahi but Harun is used by the Arabs. Tuaregs use Haruna.

Third: people in this region do not Say “by Allah”

Fourth: A muslim cannot pray right after sex without a shower – even in the desert.

Fifth: “Hajiyah” is only used in nigeria. The global word is Hajja.

Sixth: In th Sahara, only the high class and noble have swords. the peasants and commoners only use daggers.

Understandably, I was miffed. What the hell was this! What the hell was this?! Someone dared to find so many faults in my writing!

Let’s cast the sarcasm aside for a bit 😀 .

Every time I write something, I love to share it with others — I wouldn’t be blogging otherwise — and I’ve always encouraged everyone to critique my work as ‘brutally’ as possible. Looking back now, I realize no one had ever done that — until Mememe came along.

I thought I was impervious to any faults being pointed out — then again, the only faults readers ever found (or dared to point out) were punctuation errors, misspelled words, incorrect phrasing (or clausing) and the like — but this one hurt like crazy, especially because it showed I hadn’t done any research. I can be very proud — stubborn as well — and I did the writing equivalent of sulking for quite a while.

The date the comment was made was sometime in September 2007. If you’re observant (hint: look at the months listed on my sidebar), you’ll notice I didn’t make any posts after that until January 2008, but before that, I posted every month.

While in Nigeria and going through my work from years and years ago, I wondered where my enthusiasm for writing had gone. Back then, I was either reading or writing — if you look through my secondary school notebooks, you’ll find most of them have been converted into novellas and short story collections. Time was when I couldn’t be far — for survival reasons — from the traditional pen and paper.

I had a lot of time to compare the me from before and my present self. I realized I wasn’t who I used to be, and yes, I wanted to return to the good old days.

I’ve started to write more, and would probably have blogged more (if I’d had better Internet access in Nigeria). Thanks to everyone for reading…

…And thank you, Mememe.

P.S.: Does anyone know where Idemili is?

Comments

  1. aww azuks, is that why you’ve been missing for a century. Critiicsm is good, atleast you get to see where you might have missed it. miss ya, and hope you are having a fantastic time in nigeria.

  2. Rita says:

    Sorry the flaws in your writeup were not picked up…

    I do hope you continue in your love for writing, once the dream is in you, you can achieve great things… write articles and books that could change a life…

    My first time here and couldn’t help but drop a comment.

  3. Your blog was one of the first I discovered when I came to blogville. Glad to know you are back!

  4. Keshi says:

    WB 🙂

    Its natural to be miffed at criticism but hey take it on board positively! Constructive criticism is wut makes us learn new things and grow.

    Keshi.

  5. Vera Ezimora says:

    LOL.

    I love criticism sha…as long as it’s constructive, of course. lol. But that’s good that he/she wrote all that oh. That’s how people learn. Even I did not know that Hajiya was used predominantly in Naija. Thought it was a general thingy. Hmmmmmm.

  6. Jaycee says:

    Awww…it is really nice to read an excellent critique. It will drastically improve your writing skills and take u to the next level in writing.

    How have u been doing Azuka?

  7. See it this way, he will only need to impart this knowledge once and then it is yours forever.

    He actually did you a favour. And while it is was not a sugar-coated favour, it was a favour all the same.

  8. Confessions says:

    I always loved ur blog cos it was the 1st blog that i found when i got into “blogsville” and if i noticed about any lack of research i doubt i wud have commented on it cos ur style of writing is what got me hooked not whether research was done or not!
    Glad ur back- some of us missed ya!

  9. Azuka says:

    LifeOfAStranger
    Thanks. I’m actually back.

    Rita
    Coming from someone whose writing I think highly of, I’m honored.

    Solomonsydelle
    Thanks for all the support.

    Keshi
    Thanks, thanks. Actually, you’re one of the people I’ve learned from. TO get that many comments, there must be at least one or two vindictive commenters, and you do let them through. I think watching how you, and others deal with criticism got me thinking about where I was going wrong.

    Vera
    Well, that makes two people I know who’ve learned from Mememe.

    Jaycee
    Well, at teh time of this writing, I was still getting settled in, fixing some computer problems, the like.

    In My Head and Around Me
    Thanks.

    Confessions
    Wow, I had no idea my blog was your first.

    Well, if you do notice any lack of research, please let me know next time. You can shoot me an email if you don’t want to leave it in the comment section.

  10. Learning to take criticism on board is a skill I’m also developing. And also seeing the criticism as directed at your writing and not a personal insult. Even though it’s unpleasant sometimes, it helps you to see what you could do better next time.

  11. Idemili says:

    Hi Azuka,

    Fancy that, I stopped being around for ages, decided to try today and here you are asking of me. How are you dear? Please write me with my OTHER address. I have closed down this one.

    I too get quite miffed at correction but to be honest, it passes. It’s just writer’s ego, we all like to be praised. I like Mememe’s corrections too, I learned a lot.

    Do write me, I am waiting to hear of your adventures in Naijaland.

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