• Overcoming the odds

    27 October 2010

    I've had to focus pretty exclusively on the house over the last week, so no time for much "real" work. Although I did manage to upload a lot of new covers to my site, for a variety of countries. And I'm hoping to add more photos over the next few days. But to remind myself that the house wasn't ALWAYS at the centre of my every waking moment, here's an email I received a while back from a fan called Tay, asking for some non-building-work related advice!!


    I want to be a writer, old news, right? I'm sure you probably get, like, a hundred of these a day... Anyway, my parents are supportive of me, though they hoped that I would take up the family business. (I grew up on a horse farm.) Wouldn't be a bad life, I guess. My happy place. No problems. Right?


    Wrong. Life can suck sometimes. Just in case you don't know, though I'm sure you do, dyslexia is a learning disability that causes reading and wrinting to be difficult. I write words backwards sometimes. And I'll write words in the wrong order. When reading, I'll skip words or misread them for a similar word. I have poor spelling, and I mirror letters (For example, making a b instead of a d, a q instead of a p.) I could go on for a long time. I have it bad. My English tutors keep telling me not to "try to write like a non-dyslexic". Because then I can make mistakes and learn from them. I can't tell you how annoying it is to mirror the same letter twenty times in a row.


    I've had it knowingly for a while. Since I was 8. I was finding it hard to memorize the alphabet and rhyming. I had trouble learning and pronouncing new words. It was obvious by then. It's more difficult than people think -- imagine having to go up to all your teachers, year after year, and tell them why you're failing thier classes. Including remedial English. It makes you feel like an idiot. And then they'll say, "Why didn't you tell me?" And you'll say, "I dunno." And they'll say, "It's nothing to be ashamed of." And you'll say, "I know." Even though you don't. Just Imagine that. Every year. And I know I don't have to be, people understand. But I am. Because I'm different. For the same reason people are shy or talkative or proud. I just am.


    My friend is really into music, even though her dad wants her to be a doctor. She's going through a hard time, too. Maybe that's why we get along so well. She showed me Cirque Du Freak and helped me read them. And then just a few months ago, we read The Demonata together. So, since you're my favorite author, can you help meanswer this question: Should I even try to be an author? Because I love it,and I have good Ideas...at least I think I do...But even you said that sometimes, more often than not, it doesn't work out. But I'm prepared, I have a backup. It's hard for me already, and there's no doubt things are going to get harder. I'm just not sure if I can take the pressure of it all.


    I have huge respect for Tay or anyone who puts up a good fight against dyslexia. I know it must be a very hard thing to deal with. I think those of us without it take words for granted. In fact reading and writing are incredibly difficult, the results of thousands of years of trial and error by humans worldwide. They're not natural phenomena. To be honest, I'm amazed, given the relative youth of the human race, that more of us don't struggle -- making sense of words is an incredibly complex process.


    The good news for people like Tay is that dyslexia is NOT an obstacle that cannot be overcome. I've just done a quick Google search, and apparently some of the many writers who dyslexia include the likes of Agatha Christie, W B Yeats and F Scott Fitzgerald!!! Dyslexia doesn't have any impact on your ideas or your thinking process, and those are the true keys to becoming a writer. It's no good being naturally good with words if you can't think of anything original or inventive to do wtih them! Of course it means you have to struggle a bit more than most writers. The battle will be harder for Tay than it was for me. But, truthfully, it's not one of the biggest obstacles a budding writer will face. If you have the drive and determination to succeed as a writer, you CAN overcome your dyslexia, the same way that any writer has to overcome all sorts of obstacles on the road to success. My advice is to look on it not as a drawback, but as an irritating problem which will let you be proud of yourself once you fight it and get the better of it. Life is about clearing all of the hurdles that are set in our path. As I've said before on this blog, ultimately I think we're defined by how we deal with those hurdles. I don't see tay as someone with dyslexia -- instead I see Tay as someone who's going to kick dyslexia's sorry ass!!!!!

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