Thursday 1 October 2015

Dyslexics rule KO

A small epiphany today concerning my mild dyslexia. It occurred to me that it has quite possibly played a much bigger role in my life than I ever suspected.

When I was little my father affectionately called me Mrak, because that was how I spelled my name 50% of the time.

I had imagined that was pretty much the end of it. But now...

I am (with all due modesty) fairly clever. But for the first ten years or so of my life I didn't realize it. Early life at school is about reading, writing, arithmetic. If your spelling is terrible, you write your 3s like e's, and misplacing the numbers screws up your sums ... you don't form a particularly high opinion of yourself at primary school.

I may have gone on to do a PhD in mathematics and shown some talent as a word smith, but I suspect I would have been a different person if I had seen myself as particularly skilled in those areas at an early age. Even *more* arrogant probably!

Dyslexia is probably a factor in how slowly I read. And I think that perhaps reading slowly has given me a great appreciation for the language and for writing on the small scale rather than just at the story level.

Dyslexia is also a source of inspiration as often as irritation (at the level I have it). Very often part of one sentence swaps into the one above or below, or part of one word does the same. Normally it just leads to momentary confusion, but sometimes by changing the meaning it leads to a new idea.

The trivial and silly example that just prompted this train of thought was a photo of my own books on a bookstore shelf in Australia.

King of

is what I saw on the spine, but the shuffling of the letters gave me for an instant: King of Thongs.

King of Thongs! If I ever want to write a porn parody of the Broken Empire I'll start with Prince of Thongs. And that's how it goes. Not too useful in this instance ... but sometimes its a falling domino that sets off a long chain.


  1. I suffer from mild dyslexia too (checked above for the spelling) and like the word lisp, I've always thought the choice of name is a cruel joke on the sufferer.

    When I was younger not being able to spell did mean I limited my vocabulary to simple words and fell back on bad handwriting in the hope the teachers would fill the gaps with the right letters (unlike me). But now with word processing and spell check I only have laziness to blame!

  2. Or you could be like me, where you read quickly & (sometimes) sloppily. Thanks to a recent political headline about republicans, I'm now eagerly awaiting someone to write a new children's book titled "The Incontinent Cactus."

  3. There IS this game for your playing enjoyment. (I love the Deathspank series)

  4. I'm not dyslexic like you describe, but have an SLD (specific learning difficulty) that comes under the general heading, as do both my daughters. A severe memory problem. I thought I was very very lazy when I was in school, and that everyone else worked very hard. It never occurred to me that I wasn't doing the work because I couldn't :-D Jack Dee is very funny on the subject - "I was tested for dyslexia, but it turned out I was just stupid".