Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Blog Chain Post: Books Are...

Hi everyone! It's time for another round on the Blog Chain! This chain is brought to you by Kate who asks us to fill in the blank:

Books are ______________________________.

Please click your way through the chain to check out everyone's fabulous answers. Mine, on the other hand, might not be what you expect. I have two answers. If you would go back in time and ask seven-year-old Cole what books are, she would have answered, "Scary as s#@t." Okay, so she wouldn't have said that because seven-year-old Cole didn't cuss, but the thought is the same. You see, I'm dyslexic. Only, then I didn't know it. No one did. My teachers assumed I was just slow on the reading front, thereby picking on me constantly for reading out loud, which made reading time absolute hell for me. What was it like? you ask. I'll give you an example. Imagine us in a class together. We were given a reading assignment. This is what you see:

This is what I see:

Only, now, the teacher has called on me to read out loud. Add my nerves into the mix and the text does this:

Pretty horrifying, right? Needless to say, books were my enemy. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy them, it was just that I felt like an idiot every time I tried to read one. It didn't help that no one realized what was going on with me so they just assumed I was "slow". And, in turn, I felt "slow" which made me believe I was "slow".

It wasn't until much much later that I was able to understand my disability and work through it. That was when I was able to truly read books, understand them, and enjoy them. It was like a whole new world opened up before me. It was about the same time that I was bitten by the writing bug. But I believed, that because I was dyslexic, the dream of becoming a writer was a foolish one.

But then, one fall day in 2006, I found myself at ARCHON - a St. Louis science fiction/fantasy convention - and sitting in a panel given by NY Times best seller Laurell K. Hamilton. Someone in the crowd mentioned something about the spelling errors on her blog, to which Ms. Hamilton shrugged and professed, "I'm dyslexic." And something about the tone of her voice implied, "And I dare you to make something of it."

Needless to say, I was floored. You can be dyslexic AND a writer?!?! So I went home and did some googling. It turns out that Laurel wasn't the only one - that there's a whole mess of dyslexic authors. Here's a list of published authors, just to name a few:

1. Hans Christian Anderson
2. Scott Adams (Dilbert Cartoon)
3. John Corrigan
4. Agatha Christie
5. Fannie Flagg
6. Terry Goodkind
7. Cole Gibsen (Flux, 2012)

Now, there's something I truly enjoy reading ;)

So, now it's your turn. What are books to YOU?

Please check out the always amazing Abby's blog for her answer and tomorrow, see how the supremely stellar Shannon answers.


  1. your nervous dyslexic 7-yo self looking at that blurry text must have been more than a little nauseated. poor thing!

  2. Cole, you are inspirational! I have to say, this post made me tear up. Reading is such a precious thing to me. Imagining what's it like to struggle breaks my heart.

    You are AMAZING!

  3. I'm glad books no longer scare you! And I never knew some of those authors were dyslexic.

  4. This is why you are so cool. You've overcome something as difficult as dyslexia and still manage to read and write such cool stuff. And wow, didn't know Terry Goodkind was also dyslexic. You learning something new every day. Anyway, great post Cole!

  5. Wow. This is SO cool! Good for you Cole. You rule hard.

  6. Thanks, everyone :)

    Eric - it's so funny that you mention Terry Goodkind. He has one of the best quotes about being dyslexic EVER:

    "This is the way I describe dyslexia: dyslexia is about as troublesome as the fact that I was supposed to have three arms, but I don't, and so I have to make do with two."

  7. Awesome!!! Great job overcoming the challenge of dyslexia.

  8. OMG great great GREAT personal answer. And I love that you are on the list of authors!