Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Life with Letters

My Life with Letters is the true story of the first time I read my writing to a group of authors. It was first published in the anthology From the Heart:  Real Life Stories of Hope & Inspiration compiled by Gary Doi. Twenty-seven international authors donated their stories to raise money to support students who wish to continue their dream of higher education.





My Life with Letters

It was an ordinary day, until I read an email from a literary journal. That's when my head exploded. After re-assembling all the pieces, I told my husband, "My submission is going to be published."

"It is?"

I waved at the computer screen.

"It is." He sounded more amazed than impressed, but I choose to ignore that.

"They're asking the contributing authors to read their work at the issue launch. We have to go," I told him.

Weeks passed; the day arrived. Everything was great until I remembered...

A fragile eight-year-old girl cowers in her desk, willing flesh, bone and tissue to dissolve into the steel of the seat. Please don't call on me. Please don't call on me. I'm shivering.

"Leanne, read the next passage," the teacher says.

A spotlight shines directly into my eyes. Everyone stares at me with laser eyes that burn.

Brody, the fat kid that sits in the back of the classroom, glares at me. "No, not her. She can't read." His voice is distant and muffled, but I hear him.

He continues to taunt me, but his voice is drowned out by a huge ocean wave that hit rocks--laughter. My classmates think me reading is a laugh riot. I try to ignore them. I push my glasses up onto my nose, breath out slowly and try to find sense in the swirl of words that confront me. The letters leap, spin and twist--refusing to be captured. I wrestle with the first word, attempting to claim it. I remember what my special teacher Mrs. McIntosh, told me. That letter is a 's'. It makes the sound of a snake. I smile contentedly. I've begun. Next letter. I look at it. That's a 'p'. But when I look again the 't' has hopped over the 'p' and now it is first. 'P', 'T', they dance back and forth. Panic grips me. This is taking way too long. A clock ticks loudly. The sweet aroma of the teacher's perfume engulfs my nostrils. Outside a bird calls. My senses are assaulted. I can't shut anything out. I can't focus. I just want this to end. Please, please, I don't want to be here any more, I pray.

'S-sp-o-ot-t."

The class giggles; I want to dissolve into my desk.

"Sound it out, Leanne." Frustration, annoyance fills the teacher's voice.

I'm not a bad girl, I long to tell her. I want to be good. I want to do well. I want to make you happy. I'm trying. Really, honestly, I am but...but...

I look at the page. The words are gone, replaced by tiny black marks on a white page.

"Stop," I blurt out.

"We're going to be here all day," Broody sneers.

Laughter.

My inner voice screams, You're dumb. You can't learn. You can't do anything. Everyone laughs at you. You are STU-PID!

I am mustering up all my resources to continue my battle when the teacher cuts my progress short.

"Kim, please continue."

The book rests in Kim's palms like a hymnal. She reads the words; they flow together like a song. The teacher smiles.

I am a big awkward moose. Kim is a meadowlark. She sings sweetly and others listen. They don't laugh at her. She soars with words. I stumble and fall. She belongs, I don't. She's normal. I am a freak.

"What's the matter?" My husband's words release me from memories' tight grip.

"I can't read. I'll trip over my tongue. I'll say the wrong word. Then they'll know. They'll all know I'm dyslexic."

...to be continued.



Next post:  May 22 (published at, on or around 5 pm PST) The conclusion of My Life with Letters
Do I read my story? Do I ask someone else to read it for me? Who? If my story is read, what then?
For the answer to these and other questions, please visit this blog next week.

More...

An inspiring Youtube video to encourage you to live your dream link


About Picture Books in Canada...

Shortlist for the 40th anniversary
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz
Children's Books Awards
announced


Sharing my author journey...
As you may remember, I'm rewriting a novel. And this week things weren't going well. My writing seemed 


tired and forced. I walked away from my computer and got busy with something else. That's when inspiration struck. It was a lightening strike--just a small flame from a match, but still it was an idea. I jotted a note and that note took me to a sentence, that sentence took a paragraph, that paragraph took me to a scene--and that scene sung on the computer screen. Time, patience and faith--that's all I need.



4 comments:

Darlene said...

I think it is so cool that we both have stories in From The Heart.

Leanne Dyck said...

It is very cool. And I'm very thankful to you for setting the wheels in motion so that I could participate in this project, Darlene. It was fun to see my story in print and gratifying to know that the money raised is going to such a worthwhile cause.

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne - As you know I just returned from a 3-week vacation. There's no way I was going to read "Part 2 of 2" without reading Part 1 first.

I could scream bloody murder at the way you were treated!

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Laurie, I feel the strength in your words.
The trouble is that by nature we driven to separate from the "other". They are not as good, as smart, as whatever as us. Because of my intellectual challenges I was singled out as other. But far worse then what the teacher did, far worse then what my classmates did, was what I did to myself. Thank goodness I had a family who loved me and I did know what love was. It's taken too many years to gain a positive understanding as to who I am. But I am working on it, daily.