Every time I walk into my local library to pick up some recycling bags, I feel like I’m entering a world that doesn’t want me there. Or is it that I don’t want to be there?
For me, libraries can be terrifying places. Just like picking up a book and opening it can be a terrifying prospect. As an author and writer, you’d think that both would be something I’d get a lot of pleasure from.
Why I’m terrified of libraries and books?
Dyslexia – that’s the answer. As somebody who is dyslexic, reading and writing are two things I have always found difficult. When I enter the library and am faced with all those books that can introduce me to new characters and transport me to different worlds, I feel like a big door is being slammed shut right in front of me. Why? Because I know that I would find it difficult reading many of the books on the shelves.
How does being dyslexic affect me?
Being dyslexic affects me in many different ways. For example, I often find myself struggling to know what a word or its meaning is. Even when I try saying the sounds the letters make as they appear in a word, it doesn’t always come to me. Struggling on a word in the middle of a sentence can literally stop me on my reading track and, sometimes, make me feel a failure. It’s as if the word is some sort of barrier preventing me from carrying on reading.
Occasionally, when I pick up a book, I find myself coming across too many words that I don’t understand. They can be the simplest of words, yet my brain can not work out what the word actually is.
If I have to go back to the beginning of a page or chapter because I don’t understand the plot or what’s going on, I will almost certainly give up on the book. I may have another go, but more often than not I will never pick up that book again.
It’s not only about reading
When it comes to writing, one of the strangest things dyslexia does to me is not putting certain letters in the correct order. I seem to struggle if a word has both an ‘A’ and ‘C’ in it. For example, I can write the word ‘because’ in a blog post lots of times, yet Grammarly will underline every ‘because’ I’ve written because I’ve incorrectly spelt it. It’s always the ‘A’ and ‘C’ in the wrong order. I have trouble with other words where ‘A’ and ‘C’ follow each other too.
Not all is lost
I’m pleased to say that I don’t have problems reading all the books on my ‘TBR’ pile. I seem to go through peaks and dips with them. Recently, after reading a book review by author and blogger Teri Polen, I read ‘Call Drops‘ by John F. Leonard.
Not only did I get pulled into the story quickly, but I also whizzed through it in two sittings. Maybe it was the way the book had been written, but I didn’t struggle with any of it. It was the first book I’d read from start to finish in a while. Of course, I also left reviews on Goodreads and Amazon for it.
Am I reading another book?
You bet. I’m currently reading, and enjoying, The Jack Lockwood Diaries by Geoffrey David West.
A library was the setting for a piece of flash fiction from my first collection of short stories, Glimpses. Set in the future, it’s a story about a teacher who takes her pupils to a library where she reveals the truth behind the disappearance of trees.
Story #28: The Library – by Hugh W. Roberts
“And this is the library.” The students stood open-mouthed. “So, these are books?” “Yes, these are books, Trudy.” “How many are there, Mrs Millar?” inquired Tommy. “Nobody has ever counted, but we think several million,” replied the teacher as she nodded slowly. “And paper is what every one of these books has in common.” “So, this is the main reason why all the trees disappeared from Planet Earth?” asked Trudy. Mrs Millar continued to nod her head while admiring the books. “Yes, and each and every one of the authors that was alive when the last of the trees disappeared, was put to death for the crime they committed,” smiled the teacher.
I allowed dyslexia to suppress my love of writing for far too long. In February 2014, when I published my first blog post, I felt like I had conquered it. Maybe I can do the same with reading books and visiting my local library?
I’ve often heard it said that people with dyslexia have unique imaginations. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s been a happy ending for me.
Now it’s over to you
Are you dyslexic? How do you manage with your reading and writing? What book are you reading at the moment? Tell me about them by leaving me a comment.
This post is my entry to the Sunday Stills challenge, hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt. This week’s theme is ‘For the Love of Reading and Books.’ Click here for full details.