There will be many little confessions down the way, but this is the first one I want to get out there. I'm a bit cross-wired in the head. I suffer from dyspraxia and the related dysgraphia. No, dyspraxia is not related to dyslexia. The word looks the same, and can have some similar results (including its own form of dysgraphia) but what is known about how it works is quite different. The best, though not technically accurate, description of the difference is that dyslexia is problems with getting info in, while dyspraxia is problems with getting it out. Dyspraxia roughly means uncoordinated. Dysgraphia means I have poor handwriting. As I am typing my writing, it would seem that this should not be a problem. However, the causes of the poor coordination and bad handwriting are still a problem.
My writing is still heavily affected by these, because the way dyspraxia and dysgraphia manifest in my cross-wired brain affects the way I process many aspects of language, and heavily affects my organizational abilities. My dyspraxia doesn't make it impossible for me to do anything. It just makes quite a few things way harder than they should be or take way longer than they should take. It makes me take longer to write or type, it makes me have to pause longer to think on correct spellings or grammar, and it makes it take more effort and energy than normal for these tasks. This all taking longer and more effort leads to it being more frustrating and easy for me to be distracted. Also, more time to finish can mean more time to be tempted to change plot or setting details. This often spirals into total rewrites. It takes longer to jot down ideas and notes.
I have still chosen to try my hand at professional writing because, disabled or not, I love telling stories. I love teaching. I love opening minds to new wonders, ideas, and possibilities. I am heavily inspired in this by a professor who took me under his wing some years ago. He suffered from mathematical dyslexia, but he loved mathematics so much anyways that he had risen to being the head of a university math department. He is an incredibly gifted man in many areas; however, his passions drove him not just to excel at what was easiest for him, but to specialize in what he loved that was hardest for him. In school, English was my favorite and most despised subject. I loved the stories, the images, the characters, the themes, and the worlds. I hated the spelling, the grammar, the punctuation, and the handwriting. I loved to write long, complex essays and stories on a multitude of subjects. I hated how I would never have enough time to finish, and the bloody gashes ripped in it by the teacher's red pen. I don't know if there is a much more eloquent way to tell a child to not bother trying to learn than symbolically massacring their work with crimson ink. Then again, if some other color were the standard for correction, I might feel the same about it.
There isn't really that much known about these disabilities. They aren't exactly the kind of thing that gets nationwide fundraisers for research. I work with kids and teens with many of the more extreme disabilities and disorders, and I have to agree that they need the help first. Mine is a disadvantage and an aggravation. As far as I can tell, the current thought on the dyspraxia related disorders is that they have something to do with the way short term memory functions, and that it is disruptive to my muscle memory learning things. It also is disruptive of other organizational connections in the mind. I am not an expert on these disorders in general. Really, with how varied it seems they can be, it seems not many people are. I just know what experts have told me and what I have observed from my own experiences.
I will probably go into more depth about this later if it seems there is an interest. Right now though, I'm starting putting my writing out there. I feel it is important, especially since I am writing under a pen name, to have a place where anyone who enjoys my writing can learn about where it comes from.
For years I have nurtured stories, worlds, and characters in my mind. I can't just keep them contained any longer. I've started a few times, but kept becoming discouraged or distracted by the way my life kept falling apart. With this post, I'm not trying to claim I shouldn't be accountable for flaws in my work. Point them out, please, if you see them. I'm merely asking for patience. I really am writing as quickly and correctly as I can.
(Repost from 12/03/2011)