Sadly, it’s time to post this again. I’m beginning to think I should wear some kind of badge. It’s understandable I suppose, the folks to whom I give writing classes and lectures etc are forewarned about what they may see on the white board and in my notes, they rarely let my problems get in the way of my meaning. But on the internet folks are far more inclined to allow spelling, punctuation etc stand firmly in the way of communication
*Post below first published Nov 2010.*
Well, since I had the gall to start this conversation about piracy, I’ve had a small amount of pot shots taken at me. That’s ok, I expected a bit of a backlash and most folks have been more than kind and supportive. However, there is one particularly ugly little snipe that has (once again) lifted it’s head and, much as it wearies me to have to address it again, here goes…
I can not spell. Ok? I’ve been very very open about this, I’ve mentioned it many times online, I’ve mentioned it in radio, TV and skype interviews. I’ve talked about it with my fans. I always make a point of discussing it when I visit schools. It is not a secret.
I’m forty three years of age and I know I will never be able to spell properly. I suspect that if I were a school child now, they would tell me I was mildly dyslexic; this is just a guess on my behalf, because in my day teachers reacted by making me stand up and recite the spellings I couldn’t understand or cope with until I was inarticulate with stress, until the very thought of spelling something made me want to puke. Not very constructive, eh? Then, as I got older, they would simply deduct entire grades from my history, geography and English results based on nothing but poor spelling.
Nowadays spellcheck is my beloved friend. Unfortunately, if spellcheck doesn’t catch something, or if it makes a wrong choice, I’m screwed. Why? Because I can’t see the mistake. This leads to the occasional mistake on my blog/in my newsletters/in my replies to fan mail.
These mistakes do not make me a bad writer. They are no reflection on my vocabulary nor my understanding of language or my ability to construct a narrative. Neither do they mean that I am sloppy, disrespectful to my readers or in some way stupid. Anyone who assumes those things about me or my work based on a few misspellings is an idiot.
EDITED TO ADD: Check out Michelle Maloney King’s excellent article on getting through her own (extensive) education as an undiagnosed dyslexic.