WRITING

Dyslexia This was something that I did not discover until I was 27 years of age. I wrote a letter to a new friend with little confidence as I had always found words hard in any form especially the written word, the dictionary was referred to constantly not always much help if you cannot spell the word in the first place, he phoned me and before the end of our conversation he quietly slipped in the phrase,” you know you do very well considering your dyslexia”. This explained a lot to me as even with all the extra effort at school with teachers’ help [Miss Jones tried very hard but to no avail] I never seemed to get any better at reading or writing. Many a time I have hidden my glasses so as not be laughed at in class for getting stumped on the easiest of words [ having the black board rubber thrown at me on occasions by Mr Burton] English was a nightmare, all the career hopes thwarted as the only thing I was remotely interested in was to be a journalist, other than singing. One is told to be realistic about what can be achieved and earning a wage and paying your way as soon as you can was all that mattered back then. The memory of seeing The actress Susan Hampshire being interviewed  at the Ideal Home Exhibition many years ago, talking about dyslexia and what it had meant to her [at that time not knowing that this was my problem with words] gave me hope to keep trying to achieve the seemingly simple task for so many of reading and writing when in my thirties I finally found the concentration it needed. The most important thing I have discovered was to slow my thinking down, not easy! Speech has also been quite a problem at times, having to write a message down in case you get the dreaded answer-phone and pronouncing words sort of backwards is the only way I can describe it plus getting the spoken words in the wrong order! On many occasions I have avoided conversation so as not to embarrass myself, but it still happens from time to time, an eyebrow raises before you [“Oh no not again!” you say to yourself] In my mid-thirties I decided that I was not going to be beaten by Dyslexia and after seeing the film “Dorian Grey” I got the book out of the Library, a 1940 or so edition, very complicated text! It took me over a year to get through it, not turning the page until I truly understood what I had read. The computer has transformed my ability with words what with spell check etc. I have seen on the television the brain recognises the whole word even when the letters are misplaced. This certainly seems to be true as I have no trouble at all with understanding the sentence in a flash! Seeing the words in the typed form for me often appears to prompt my capacity to correct the mistakes without the use of spell check. Writing is still a challenge and I know mistakes slip through on occasions but that’s just something I have to live with even the help of friends proofreading for me. My newest venture in writing is short story format. I have joined a writers group which is not just beneficial but also great fun, I hope one day to have a book of short stories published.