Cartwaith #2

Behind the trollie the extravagant lady rode atop, bumped and jostled a two wheeled trailer. Cartwaith couldn’t help but watch the woman drive, bumping and bopping all the way down the hill and over the uneven road.

“Whose that?” said little Blith, her raven curls wetted straight.

“Don’t know,” said her father. “But sure is a funny horse she rides, ain’t it?”

“Not a horse,” said Blith. “It’s a trollie, silly.”

“Same function as a horse though, ain’t it–get you from here to there, right?”

Blith turned away from her father for a moment, “Sure. I guess.”

“How’s it then, not a horse?” asked Cartwaith.

The little girl shrugged and her father grabbed her up hugged he close and told her not to try and outsmart her Da, because she’d not do that until she were older. Then he asked, “Where’s Smaeth?”

Blith pointed across the bridge that spanned the gap of the brook and continued along the road that led up the hill–the same one the woman on her trollie was trundling down. Cartwaith could see his son, running along the road toward the trollie with a few of the other children.

“What’s he done?” asked Cartwaith.

From afar and across the brook, he watched his son with the other children cluster around the trollie, and then begin to trot along beside it. It reminded Cartwaith of the honor guard he’d seen when Principal Argyles passed through Vestil last winter. Wasn’t often you got a Principal coming through a small town like Vestil, but Cartwaith supposed when somebody wants to get somewhere easiest way to do is by ways and means well explored and trodden.

“You believe,” said Cartwaith to his daughter, “that out in San Francisco they say they got those trollies like that on every street. H’aint not more horses and carts no more. Just trollies pulling darn near everything.”

“Thought you’d say’d it’s a horse,” said Blith.

“Sa, did,” said Cartwaith, scoffing. “Go ’bouts and grab Smaeth for me and get him away from that trollie. Whatever that red light is from it’s behind can’t be good nobody.”

Blith giggled at the mention of the trollies behind, then sprang up and scampered along the east bank of the brook until she came to the bridge and crossed to meet the trollie and other children. Cartwaith watched he talk to Smaeth, who was two years older, and he could see that the boy spoke back to her. Then the woman in the dark and red dress with the ostentatious hat let one hand go of the stack jutted from the floor in front of her, and pulled a cane where there had been no cane, from beside her on the seat.

Cartwaith

Cartwaith was a simple man of little import in the town of Vestil. He spent his time with his two lovely children, Smaeth his son, and Blith his daughter. They wanted for little and thought about the world outside of Vestil not at all. Carwaith’s wife, Nilth, was the elected speaker of Vestil, popular and paid handsomely for her services, as she was known in the region as fair when fairness was required, shrewd when negotiating on behalf of Vestil, and compassionate when understanding the plight of others. That all changed when the stranger came to down.

She came to Vestil on one of those new-powered trollies. The ones that glowed with the red light from the rear end and emitted loud roars when attempting to climb hills, their wheels slipping and kicking up dirt like a horse or mule never could.

Cartwaith Was with Smaeth and Blith near the brook that flowed past the western side of Vestil and down from the hills that were covered in thick forest. Cartwaith wasn’t the only parent playing in the brook with his children that day. A cacophony of laughter, shouts, splashes and whoops filled the air. The day was the first truly hot one they’d had in months and all the children (and many of the parents, too) couldn’t resist to wade into the slow brook and splash each other. Cartwaith was dangling his feet from a rock and into the cool water, watching his children play with their little friends, most of them under the age of 10, when a whining and grunt broke the lazy sound of the flowing brook and the laughter and hoots of children and parents alike. Over the rise to the west and along the road that led from the town the trollie appeared, bucking and jolting, a rosy light gleaming from it’s rear, even in the bright of the sunny day. A top the trollie road a woman with a wide brimmed at, black as night, though ornamented with red stitching, her flowing dress looked a light fabric for hot days, yet was a similarly black and red design. Her hair was cedar and her skin a lush gold that marked her as a resident of the southwestern city, Pulido. It was said all Pulidians took in the color of the land their city was built on and nobody in Vestil was in a position to dispute such rumors.

Kindle Paperwhite and Open Dyslexic Font

I recently upgraded my Kindle from an old school, 2nd gen. Yeah, that’s right. I’d been reading books on this since about 2011.

Amazon Kindle - Wikipedia

I bought my 2nd gen Kindle while I was in South Korea in 2011, teaching English. I don’t know if things have changed in the last decade, but at the time, it was quite difficult to find books I wanted to read (in English–I don’t speak or read Korean), and so sent away for this kindle. It was great at the time. I loved being able to get pretty much any book I wanted while living abroad. However, once I returned to the States I realized my attention was somewhat limited while reading on this device. I’d commonly and easily find ways to NOT read. I’d get tired, my eyes would start to droop. I’d find myself folding laundry or doing dishes even though I had planned to sit down and read for at least an hour a day. I’m not completely sure why reading on this old-school Kindle was so great in South Korea, but so difficult in the US. I think it was because I enjoy paper books (though also find myself easily distracted) and they were now available to me.

Fast forward to 2021, as my 2nd gen Kindle had collected an amazing amount of dust. I really only used it when in dire need of a book ASAP. This included books for school in 2020 as the pandemic shut everything down.

Then, one of my good friends, who is studying to be a special education teacher asked me if I’d heard about Open Dyslexic Font. I had not. I’m dyslexic, and struggled with it a lot when I was younger, even throughout college. However, as an adult I’ve learned to compensate to the point where I have wondered if I’m even dyslexic anymore–or that is, whether the symptoms I used to have are even present.

My friend told me Open Dyslexic Font was designed to help dyslexic people not only reader faster, but also read longer. I am not a fast reader–but the real barrier is that I often become sleepy while trying to read. I couldn’t get the font on my 2nd gen Kindle, so bounced for the new(ish) Kindle Paperwhite in order to see what this font could do for me.

Dyslexia Font and Styles

It’s ugly. I know. Every letter looks a bit wonky. It actually reminds me of my own handwriting. The idea of this font is that each letter and number is distinct. There are a lot of reused shapes in the English alphabet. For instance, i, j, l. These letters all look something alike. f, p, q, b, d, also share similarities. Why is the f in there? Well, depending on the hook and the cross of the f, it can look similar to a p, at a glance. The way I read, which I understand is different than people who do no have dyslexia. I read every letter, rather than the shape of the word. Or at least, I often do. Sometimes, with simple words, like articles, I read them as full shapes. But words I don’t read often I read as a collection of distinct letters. Due to this, the Open Dyslexic Font is helpful as each letter looks different. Maybe just slightly different, but different. Look above how the lower case l as a bit of a rightward tail. How upper case i tapers near the top. With this font, I can’t mistake a upper case i with a lower case l. This in a small thing, but it increases the rate at which I read and decreases the amount of energy I have to expend to parse that I read.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (7th Generation) B00OQVZDJM 4GB, Wi-Fi, 6 inch  eBook Reader- Black for sale online | eBay

Now I read on this type of kindle. And I can change any book I read on this device to be displayed in large Open Dyslexic Font.

I have found myself reading more often since I got this Kindle. I have tore through American War by Omar el Akkad. Each time I sit down to read, I don’t want to stop. I don’t get as tired and I enjoy the way in which my eyes flow across the text. I’ve even installed a Chrome plug-in that lets me turn website text to Open Dyslexic Font. I don’t use it on every site, but when the article is long or simply arduous, I will use it.

I really encourage anyone who has dyslexia to try this font out. Also, people who don’t have dyslexia also may benefit from it as well.