As a long-time mural artist and mystery author I have written articles and interviews about fellow artists and writers. What surprises me most about these people is how many of them are dyslexic or where dyslexic as children. I don’t have a PH behind my name, but I have taken my own survey on the subject because….you guessed it, I’m dyslexic—not so much as a senior adult but very much growing up. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the scariest things in my pre-teen world. I hated school and the embarrassment of trying to read out loud in class. My attention span was minus zero and I couldn’t even play the kazoo.
In the second grade I decided, the heck with school and walked home, one mile along the edge of the Big Basin Highway. Mom just about had heart failure when she saw me. I thought it was cool to be home and see what she did around the house while my brother and sister were at school. I remember Mom trying to teach me how to tie my shoes. I just didn’t get it, so when I was alone I figured out a way to get the job done. To this day I have never seen anyone tie a bow the way I do it.
The one thing that saved me and kept me in school was art. I was able to draw and paint pretty well at an early age. I won the Smokey the Bear poster contest in third and sixth grades. When the three R’s became too much for me, I would retreat to my coloring books, clay sculpture and day-dreaming.
Being dyslexic is tough on young people. One must think “outside the box” in order to keep up with one’s peers. Dyslexic people work twice as hard to accomplish half as much. But as we age we are blessed with a creativity brought on out of need. Some of us find happiness and success in the “art” world, some in creative writing and others invent things. Dyslexia can be a great gift once a person makes it through school—then the learning begins. All the information thrown at us in elementary school and high school suddenly makes sense.
Dyslexic people often function very well in today’s computer world. They are the inventers. Their spelling might be sub-standard, but there is no limit to what their creative, inventive minds will come up with next. About spelling, it was a good thing that my friend reviewed this article. She discovered four ways to spell dyslexia. I got it right only once. I don’t know who is more dysfunctional, me or spell check.
In this modern world, blessed with spell check, people like me are free to create, invent and thrive. I discovered there is a lot of dyslexia in my family, many “late bloomers” such as me, thankful for the odd gift of being different. The gift that keeps on giving—sorry for the cliché.