How We Think

Just to put dyslexia in perspective: when I was going up, in the 90’s, first everyone just thought I was slow, and needed a little extra time, then it became clear that there was actually a disability there, and it wasn’t something I could get away with, you know, it wasn’t like we had spell check and grammar check, and smartphones that I could speak into so I could send messages to my friends. I mean, I didn’t even have a cell phone (flip phone) until I went to college.

So compare that experience to what might have been the process for poor Mr. Einstien. They probably didn’t even recognize disabilities of this nature, they just chalked it up to being dumb–and that’s crazy because look what he did–I mean, Einstien was a pretty smart guy.

Just to illustrate my point about dyslexia being aided by technology, when I was in middle school I still couldn’t read. My parents would make me read kids books, like “See Spot Run,” for a half hour everyday, but I was still reading at a first or second grade level even though I was in sixth grade. I remember sitting, trying to write a book report (my mom and dad had read me the book), and I couldn’t figure out how to spell a word. I mentioned that if they’d let me just write the report on the computer and then use spell check this wouldn’t be a problem.

“You won’t be able to take your computer with you to class if you go to college,” my mom said. “You need to know how to spell and do math, because you can’t always have a calculator.”

I don’t know if any statement has ever been less true, now that we look back on it. Technology has helped us in so many ways, and as a dyslexic person I still have moments when I type something and not even spell check can figure out what I was trying to spell, so I have to type it into Google, and most of the time that works, but not always.

So, this is the thing people don’t really understand about having dyslexia: It’s not something that just means your bad at reading–there are lots of people who are shit at reading and it’s not because they have dyslexia, it’s because they don’t like reading, or because they’re reading the wrong book or material. With dyslexia, I’ve actually heard you think differently than people without it. I mean, of course people think differently on an individual basis. You know how two people can be part of a conversation and one person thinks it’s an argument while the other doesn’t feel that way at all and just thinks it’s discussion. Having dyslexia isn’t like that. For me, it’s like, I think in a combination of images and abstract feelings. I hardly ever think in language. I don’t have a running commentary in my head, and when I ask people, most of them say they think in language, like talking to themselves in their minds–and I don’t do that hardly at all.

3/10/15 Love Poetry–What a Drag

What peaks need we climb to find such heights as this?

I can feel your heart even through your back.

It pounds my chest like oceans do the shore.

 

I trap my hands within your flying hair.

I pull it tight like a kite within the air.

What depths must we plunge to feel such a press as this?

 

What streets must we walk to feel as lost as this?

I fall from every tree in my haste to come to you.

I wrap my arms around, press my face to your head to smell your sweet shampoo.

 

I squeeze to see if I’ll absorb.

You breathe out, in cold, your breath as orbs.

How far must we run to know each other true?

 

What path have our feet begun to tread when we are both so new as this?

I fall asleep with my hand over your heart.

Who we are together feels more real than when we are apart.

 

3/9/15 We’re Not Who We Were

You are not the person I know from my childhood. In the last 9 years the cells in your body have been replaced and you are, physically, a different person. But there is more to it than that. When we were young I was not near, I was off, I was confused and having fun and didn’t know what the important things were. I don’t know how we came to find the important things important. The reasons why our muscles burn and hearts beat and why we’ve been graced and cursed with such a capacity for love and feeling and hurt and all the things we may possibly make each other feel. Though I believe in no creator and know you don’t either, it would be an extremely cruel one to give us all these things for so short of time within our lives, only to be taken it away.

Some people are interested in the same things now as they were then. 8 years in this small town and some friends are still are still going to the bars and drinking every weekend and working at the same brewery and wishing they had something they don’t have now–but it won’t be found when they go to those places and do those things. Unlike you, they haven’t moved, they haven’t gone on to ask the question of what if? What if I just do this thing to it’s fullest extent?

As someone who thinks, or acts, I hope, as an artist. Who is dedicated to my writing–though am still learning how these things work–these things we call essays, short stories, and novels–I constantly question who will ever read my work. This isn’t unique. Jennifer Egan even posits the idea that there are now more writers in the world than readers. This isn’t to mean that there are more people writing books than readers, but that everyone, with twitter, facebook, blogs–all those mediums, are now writers and have something to say.

So when you tell me I will accomplish great things, I cannot know for certain. I do not believe credit is do until it is accomplished. My slim lists of publications isn’t something to brag about, yet it is a source of pride and I enjoy the fact that someone out there has decided my work has some merit. I know you do.

But back then I had none of this to say. I knew I wanted to write, but not what I wanted to write, and I did even less writing. Now I know where my body of work lies and I’m getting close. But you–you have connections and interests people really care about. Things like expression through fashion, while I only have my own thoughts–and who wants to listen to those? Thus far very few.

I need to focus on my pieces of potential but I also need to focus on the things I prize and cherish. I can’t neglect that fact that you are here and fascinating and want to be with me and that our lives were brought together in some strange way I’m still trying to understand.