The Dyspraxic Writer By Rosemary Richings
The Dyspraxic writer: a personal account
I’m going to go ahead and say that my point of view on writing and why I value and have such a deep adoration for writing (more specifically different types of fiction) and language comes from my life experiences living with Dyspraxia (otherwise known as developmental coordination disorder). People with Dyspraxia have a poor sense of space and direction, take a lot longer than most people to learn motor activities such as sewing and dancing, and have trouble with left- brain related activities such as mathematics, learning new languages, and reading maps.
The question you’re probably all wondering as you read this is the following: why is this even relevant? In time I’ve learned to perceive my disorder as a gift and it’s a major contribution to what attracted me to creative writing as a discipline. Mastering literacy in my own native tongue was a difficult process because of this disorder. Dyspraxia makes it impossible for me to perceive language phonetically therefore I had to learn it in a unique way. Once I could finally read and write I valued it deeply and mastering one of my greatest barriers meant that once I knew it and was comfortable with it I fell in love with it. I’ve been making up stories since before I could read and write and the power of storytelling for me has always been that I could fully express things. The great thing about telling stories is that for a moment in time my Dyspraxia is invisible and I can say things about whatever I want without my disorder imposing any obstacles.
As a reader I’ve noticed that I’ve always been drawn to oddity and what it means to be a member of some sort of minority in a broad sense of the word. My love for plays by Samuel Beckett and Judith Thompson, film noir genre movies that challenged one’s notion of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, novels about working class life by George Orwell and John Steinbeck, and poetry by Sylvia Plath, T.S Eliot, and Billy Childish made me realize that this is what I’m interested in as a writer as well. I blame my identity as someone with Dyspraxia for wanting to read/hear stories and tell stories that reflect what it’s like to be an oddity. Confronting ‘oddity’ allows me to better understand and face Dyspraxia, both the gifts it brings and the obstacles it creates on a daily basis.
I believe that everyone’s got a story to tell that needs to be heard. We tell stories, both orally and through text based mediums such as books, to find light in the darkness and make the aspects of the light that have some element of darkness come to the surface and be seen. Even storytelling for escapism has a similar purpose. My favorite escapism example is zombie movies. Two perspectives exist in zombie movies and fiction: 1) the Romero lens that uses the zombie narrative to critique the reality of consumerism and western societal structure and 2) the Robert Kirkman Walking Dead perspective, which is one big analogy for the presence of, and obstacles that exist due to one of, humanity’s greatest fears: death. These obstacles include the fight for survival and meaning, and how disaster changes people negatively and positively.
My philosophy when it comes to writing and telling stories is the following: if you’ve got something to say about something that affects who you are as a person say it and put it into words. Chances are light will be found in the darkness and aspects that are already light will uncover some sort of darkness that was previously hidden and needs to be addressed. The truly successful stories will uncover a bit of both. Unfortunately not everyone has the tools to talk about those things. In my life thus far writing has been my greatest sources of empowerment and I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful gift. As a writer, what I continuously strive for is to make those stories that don’t often get told the chance to come to the surface.
Guest Blogger Bio
Rosemary Richings is an emerging Toronto based writer and university student working on her double major arts degree in English and Drama Studies at York University’s Glendon College. Her work has appeared in some arts festival settings such as the Paprika Festival, The New Waves Arts festival, and some poetry slams in the GTA. She recently completed an internship at The Toronto Fringe Festival where she conducted research for their 25th anniversary project. For more writing and creative project related updates check out her blog: R.M.R’s Writing Space (www.rosiewritingspace.blogspot.ca).
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/RMRs-Writing-Space-Rosemary-Richings-blog/168561033167202?ref=br_tf