Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Life with Letters (short story) by Leanne Dyck (2 of 2)

(image supplied by Gary Dio)

My Life with Letters is the true story of the first time I read my writing to a group of authors.

A link to part one.

To recap the story thus far, I just received an acceptance letter from a literary journal--not only will they be publishing my story but they want me to read it to a group of authors. The trouble is I have dyslexia. Memories of reading in class still haunt me. (My classmates thought me reading was a laugh riot.) I just told my husband that I can't read...

"What's your reading about?" my husband asked.

"Being dyslexic."

"And you're worried that they'll learn you're dyslexic?"

"Yes." Brief pause. "That doesn't make sense, does it?"

"Hmm, not." He held me in his strong arms. "The audience will have read your story and they'll all be pulling for you."

I held onto his words. They carried me into the audience of contributing authors and eager readers. Short story after short story, all was well until the master of ceremonies said, "And, now, I'm pleased to welcome Leanne Dyck to the stage."

Her introduction was met by supportive applause. My husband squeezed my hand. I pushed my way out of the audience, onto the stage and my face cracked into a nervous smile. There are too many people here. There are too many authors. And I know what they'll think:  If she can't read, how can she be a writer? And they're right, I found my husband in the audience. He believes in me. For him... For me... I have to do this; I can do this. I fumbled with the zipper, opened my purse, pulled out my cue cards and began to read.

Dyslexia is an inherited condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language. People with dyslexia are of average or above average intelligence.

Having dyslexia is kind of like this...

We have always had a special relationship. When we meet you wooed me with your clever tricks. You were never the same way twice. Sometimes your 'b' looked like a 'd'. Sometimes your 'p' looked like a 'q'. I was surprised to hear that you didn't entertain everyone in this manner.

Later our relationship grew and I learnt that you could be collected into a group. I was informed that this group was read as a word.

Ah, how your words danced before my eyes. Sometimes 'w-a-s' danced. How it waltzed; how it jigged; how it jived. Watch it now as it twists into 's-a-w'. Amazing! Thrilling! Yet you only danced for me.

Your behaviour does make our relationship challenging.

Words dance before my eyes--unclaimed. Sometimes I am forced to guess at your intent. You are always a puzzle, a surprise. You intrigue me; you entertain; you embarrass me.

Do you remember the time I was reading to a group of children? I thought we were having a merry old time until one of the children stopped me. It seems you had fooled me yet again but you hadn't fooled the child. Never mind, it was long ago, and I have forgiven you.

It doesn't matter to me that your relationship with others is easier and more harmonious.

My passion for you grows stronger every day.

They listened as I read and clapped when I finished. I stepped off the stage into a shower of praise. "You should be an actress," they told me. "You did a very good job."

Two women approached me. "I'm Samantha Robin," One of the women said. "And this is..." I recognized the name. I knew she was a prolific author. Resisting the impulse to hug her, I said, "I love reading your books."

"Thank you." She smiled. "I wanted to meet you and encouraged you to keep writing, especially about your experiences with dyslexia. Someone I'm very close to has dyslexia. I showed him your story and he was... Well..." Her voice choked."He took courage. I know others will, as well."

Her words found my heart. Right then, right there, I made a silent vow. I will write more about being dyslexic. I have to.

"Ready to go?" My husband asked.

I nodded.

When we were alone in our truck, I asked him, "Did you hear all the positive comments?"

"Some, and I heard them clapping."

"I really like reading my writing and I want to do it again, really soon."

"You're amazing," he told me. And we kissed.

(photo by Terrill Welsh)

Picture Books Canada

in B.C. ...

Bolen Books Children's Book Prize
'The $5,000 prize will be presented 
on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, at a gala event in Victoria'
Submission must be received by May 25, 2016

in Ontario...

 The Blue Spruce Award
'Children vote to determine the winning book after they have read all of the titles.' -from the London Public Library website
Click this link to find this year's winning titles.

Forest Festival of Trees
'Canada's largest literary event for young readers'
-from the Forest Festival of Trees website link 
Friday, May 27
Sault Ste. Marie
Essar Centre
(269 Queen Street East)

This festival is held in Toronto and London, Ontario in early May. Of special interest to me is the author workshops. 

Next post:  Sunday, May 22 (around 5 pm PST) 
The bad news:  Ah, boy, do I know stress. 
The good news:  Over the years, I've amassed strategies to effectively manage stress. And I'll start this information with you in my next post.

"I keep walking the path. Thanks to a little help from my friends."
Photo of Abby by Leanne Dyck

Sharing My Author Journey...

The temperature has cooled; the skies are outcaste; Spring has re-staked its claim over this small island. And, thanks to a friend, I've once again released that...

-a story is the exploration of a problem
-plot is driven by conflict
-if your characters are invested in the story's outcome readers will be compelled to keep reading.

So... chase your protagonist up a tree to the very end of the branch, let her spy help cresting the hill and then throw rocks at her.