Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nuts in Bolts of being Dyslexic

Recently I had a classic dyslexic experience.
For the past five months my phone service has been telling that it has messages.

As a dyslexic person I have tendency to switch the audio recognition of sounds, colors or other stimulus. Red means green, black is white, t is h or yes means no. While the more obvious red and green analogy is rare for me these days. I have been known on a once every five years occasion to go through a red light. (That could be an interesting PHD for some one; Dyslexia and traffic accidents – anyone?)

Usually for me dyslexia means that I have to dumb down what I say to write – or - I have to use words of simpler variety in order to communicate effectively.

When I read - My optimum communication style is the first person spoken narrative.
When I speak it - Communication is easy for me by word of mouth using stories.
When I write it - Storytelling works the best.

That little exercise made my head hurt - Back to the phone service.

The phone company sent me a signal (when I pick up my phone the dial tone - stutters or blinks.)
I, as dyslexic person, reversed the meaning of the stimulus. For the past 5 months I have been thinking that no one - has left me a message. Think about that - not a week not a month for the last five months I was convinced that none of my calls were returned.

I mean really; how is that possible? You could think - well Eric is an idiot. I had tests - and I'm not really. So there is another explanation. Well - many dyslexic people have memory issues. They fail to connect past language related events with present ones with current ones. Dyslexic children struggle with issues of time and time management. The long and the short of it is – I didn’t notice that more then a week had gone by with out getting a message.

Not to forget that dyslexic people have lower self esteem then other populations. So it is onlly natural for a dyslexic person to think that on one called them. ☹ Did I mention the 60 messages waiting for me in my voice mail?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Gift of Story

While not writing for this Dyslexic Blog I have a career as a storyteller I am currently attending the Talk Story Conference in Waikiki Hawaii and yesterday I went out and volunteered for my friend Jeff Gere who set up the conference and works for the Honolulu parks and recreation department. A bunch of us storyteller went off and told stories at various camps and parks programs just for fun. I forget how much I enjoy just telling stories to children – that as an artist I get so wrapped up in the passionate desire that storytelling and the arts in general get accepted – no – get embraced that I forget the simple joy that is one person telling to an audience of children who are so thrilled to listen. When the audience is so jazzed to see you - you get jazzed to be with them and suddenly it's like your flying. Not work - just the joy of storytelling.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Value of Childhood

Recently a fellow storyteller Bill Harley wrote a blog post on the reality of childhood and how over protective human society has become.  Read his post on “Is childhood more dangerous now?” 

I would suggest that as the average age of our society has risen and as our society has become less spiritual, less community oriented and more individual, cynical and isolated.  We have become more afraid of death.  Death is no longer seen as natural – but instead is the elephant in the room.  Any accident any encounter with the unknown becomes an opportunity for death to stalk us or our family.  All great lies have a gleam of truth and death really is stalking all of us.  The good news that life just wouldn’t be the same with out it.  Death gives sweetness to life it forces us to face our fears it forces us to live.  We know that at some time in the future we will die and we better get our act together and do the best we can in this life because someday with or with out warning the clock will stop.

But we have denied death to our children.  Not in the sense that we have prevented it – but in the sense that we have separated it from out children’s lives.  We have bubble wrapped death in pink ribbons and video games where death means you get another life just like the one you had – isn’t that nice?

But the cool thing about the post that Bill wrote is that he is talking about a problem that has been going on for a long time – the invasion and the capitalization of children’s lives to they point were they have no time to 1) be themselves 2) be around children only spaces and 3) make there own mistakes.

But there is a whole different level to this conversation. Today much of the natural world in America as it was experienced in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s has been paved over to develop suburban housing. We have built a world were many children just don’t have the space to explore – they don’t have the excess to the opportunity.

We have built a world with out wood lots, streams or fields. This lack of access prevents the question did you play in the woods today? from even arising.

I (my family) live in the vale, a 13 family land trusted community on 37 acres of woods and fields.  We have given up real-estate speculation and gained the knowledge that our children spent time growing up building dams unsupervised in the local stream or rope swinging off a 20 foot drop or sneaking up on skunks.   Or a hundred other activates that they survived unscathed form and I never heard about.   These experiences gave them fortitude and a strength of character that can’t be duplicated by camp or school.