With Dyslexia, Words Failed Me and Then Saved Me – NYTimes.com
I couldn’t tie my shoes, tell time or left from right, or recreate musical notes or words. I not only couldn’t read but often couldn’t hear or understand what was being said to me — by the time I’d processed the beginning of a sentence, the teacher was well on her way through a second or third. When I did have something to say I couldn’t find the words with which to say it, or if I could, forgot how to pronounce them.
My situation then seemed hopeless; I had no idea what a learning disability was, or that it had nothing to do with intelligence…
I didn’t know then that I was beginning a lifelong love affair with the first-person voice and that I would spend most of my life inventing characters to say all the things I wanted to say. I didn’t know that I was to become a poet, that in many ways the very thing that caused me so much confusion and frustration, my belabored relationship with words, had created in me a deep appreciation of language and its music, that the same mind that prevented me from reading had invented a new way of reading, a method that I now use to teach others how to overcome their own difficulties in order to write fiction and poetry…
We knew so much less when I was a child. Then, all I wanted and needed, when I learned so painstakingly to read and then to write, was to find a way to be less alone. Which is, of course, what spoken and written language is really all about.
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