Monday, May 13, 2013

Dyslexic Novelist



As children, we dream of who we’ll be or what we’ll do when we grow up. Most of us were told by our parents, teachers, or friends that we could do anything! “Be whatever you want to be.” This kind of encouragement and blind faith in the potential of a child has helped some of the greatest individuals throughout history become who they are. However, what do you say to a child whose dreams seem impossible? What do you say to the little girl who believes she was born to be a writer but is diagnosed with dyslexia? What if this child grows up in a public school system that seems either to be unaware of how to handle dyslexia or just doesn’t seem to care? How do you encourage this child to pursue this goal? What if they can barely spell, reads things backwards, can’t remember the rules of grammar, and gets discouraged in school because no one seems to know what’s wrong with her? Fortunately now days there are dyslexia organizations that can help these types of kids. Unfortunately, for me, when I was a child there was no help. I was that little girl with the impossible dream.

I knew from a very young age that I was meant to be a writer, that it was in my soul. However, it became apparent in Kindergarten that I had some kind of learning disability. A disability that seemed to affect how I spoke, read, wrote, spelled, and my very ability to recall information. On the other hand I was very creative, imaginative, and had a very high IQ. This seemed to puzzle my teachers, who didn’t understand how I could excel in some things but be completely hopeless in others. It wasn’t until high school that I truly understood my condition and how it affected me.


Then, I had the good fortune to be a student of a great English Teacher named Mr. Garlan Fitzgerald. He encouraged me in a way no one else really had. He saw the poetry in my writing, appreciated my unique author’s voice and told me I should be a novelist. This helped me gain some confidence but sadly I was still too insecure, too afraid to even submit my poems to the high school literary magazine. Still, I kept writing and developing my stories in secret, only really showing them to the people closest to me. Now I’m almost thirty (sigh) and finally I’m in a place in my life where I feel confident enough in my talent as a writer to share it with the world. I have been blessed to marry an exceptional man who has encouraged me in the same way my teacher once did and then some. He’s helped me overcome a lot of my struggles and I wouldn't be here now with my first novel published if it weren't for him.

Now, I’d like to give back to others like me. I don’t remember hearing of a dyslexic author when I was growing up; maybe there are others out there, maybe not. Either way I’d like to show the youth today that it really is possible to do anything you put your mind to even if your mind doesn't work like everyone else’s. So, it is my intention to donate ten percent of the profits earned from my book “The Forsaken” to a dyslexia foundation. Good teachers are the key to conquer learning disabilities. As well these organizations which need funding to help provide services to the families who can’t afford expensive tutors, so that everyone can be helped. I’m still shopping around for the right dyslexia charity. Royalty payments are only paid quarterly so for now I’ll just have to look forward to the day that I can give a little back. I hope that after you read this you might consider if there is a child in your life who needs help like I did. If there is, I hope you try to support, encourage, and love them in any way you can. It is amazing how a little bit of faith from another can give hope to the hopeless and change the course of a person’s life.

Below I've added a few links to dyslexic organizations and sites for further information on dyslexia for those of you who aren't familiar with the condition.

Now go forth and buy my book (you know you want to!) and remember that each copy of “The Forsaken” sold could help a child overcome a learning disability and achieve their impossible dream. Thank you!

R.J. Craddock