I suppose this post is me getting in an apology quickly. If I’m going to manage to write anything on this blog, and get on with the whole writing novels thing, I’m often going to be writing at speed. And that means that there may be moments of word salad here and misspellings that would embarrass a seven-year old. Or a thirty-seven year old. Thing is, I’m dyslexic. There said it. Now how can you be a professional writer and dyslexic, you may ask. I often do. Well, I’m not cripplingly bad and the invention of the word processor means that, most of time, no one would notice the problems I do have. I never had any problem reading, and I’ve always been pretty smart (girly swot type), so for most of the time at school my rather eccentric spelling just amused my teachers. Both my brothers are dyslexic, so my parents just said, well you are too and that was that.
I remember writing an essay for my English A-level on Hamlet. Damn good essay it was too, only thing was I had misspelt Hamlet throughout. My teacher apparently took it to his head of department, rather confused, and asked if he had ever seen anything like it before. He looked at it for a second, sighed, and said ‘It must be a Robertson…’ He’d taught both my brothers, you see.
At university I didn’t do as well at the end of the first year as people had been hoping I would, so my tutor arranged for me to go off and get officially certified. After that I got extra time in my final exams. I used it to take smoke breaks.
Now, well I hate it if anyone sees me take notes, I get very embarrassed, I often type a sound-a-like word by mistake (cloud for crowd, for example), I find it very hard to tell my left from my right, my memory for names is poor as is my short-term memory, when I’m excited or stressed I often say the wrong words, when I ask someone how to spell something they need to do it very, very slowly… Minor irritations really. But if you see the results of any of these problems pop up on the blog, sorry. Can’t help it.
For anyone else who is dyslexic out there, just remember being rubbish at spelling or reading does not make you dumb. My brother ended up with a first in history and now teaches English in Belgrade. I can speak four languages and I need to sing a little rhyme to myself to remember how to spell ‘beautiful’. Such is life. And yes, I did spell-check this before I posted it, and a good thing I did too.