Parents’ Evening Curveball

Blimey. What a (completely un-) funny few weeks. Whilst this blog was originally intended to document my writing journey, I’ve decided to throw in a few posts about non-authory stuff too, and this is one of those posts.

Despite there being a gaping hole that I’ve yet to fill with all the brilliant stuff that’s happened along my writing journey so far – which I WILL get around to at some point – I shouldn’t actually be blogging right at this very minute. No, I should be in the thick of my second book which, up until this week, has been a real pain in the ass at times. It’s been a bit like riding a wild, deranged horse that knows more about the direction it wants to bolt in than I do. Thankfully, after much clenching of the thighs and my lovely editor expertly reminding me how to grip the reins confidently, I’m finally getting there and steering the story where I want it. Phew. And so with that in mind, I really shouldn’t be distracting myself here.

The thing is, I’m feeling a bit winded. I’ve told myself to get a grip, but I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m being pathetic, I know I am, and I can’t help it.

You see, I bloody hate being caught off guard and last night was a cracker.

It was the boys’ parents’ evening and, whilst I knew my 7yo had been struggling a little here and there, I was absolutely unprepared for the sock in the stomach that was the mention of dyslexia.

Hold the phone.

How have I not seen this coming? What the hell have I been doing while the little fella has been trudging through his work, trying to keep up with his pals? Ah yes, delighting in my achievements in the literary world. Nice one.

I know, I know – It’s not the end of the world. Not even close. But it’s still a bloody naff blow for the kid. I mean, if he does ‘test positive’ for dyslexia, what hurdles will he have to overcome? How will this impact his life? Not just day-to-day but overall? Sure, he loses his place easily when reading – and yes, he takes an age to write a paragraph, but a learning disability? My boy, who’s so smart and hilarious and utterly capable.

Flying off the handle? Moi? Maybe. But it’s difficult to stay cool about it. It’s difficult not to worry for him or indeed for his place within any of his future educational settings. He doesn’t have low self-esteem at home… please let that be the case at school too. I can’t believe I didn’t see this one coming. To my shame, I didn’t. And that’s a real sucker too.

It seems ironic now that I incorporated some of the issues associated with dyslexia in Since You’ve Been Gone, after being moved by the stories a friend of mine had told me of her son’s own experiences. I’ve spent most of today revisiting the same resources I used as research for that first book, only now I’m looking at it all from a new, more daunting, perspective.

Of course, my awesome laddy might not be dyslexic. He might just be a little too chilled out for his own good, right? It’s possible, more than possible in fact. But there’s a voice that’s started nagging in the far corner of my head. It’s telling me that it can’t help but think that the teachers might be onto something. I guess time will tell.

Dyslexia is not the end of the world. I know this. Twenty years ago, I used to rib my best bud in our high school English class for her dodgy handwriting. Four A-levels and two university degrees later, she’s only just recently discovered that she’s dyslexic. She also has a husband in his thirties who’s recovering from serious life-or-death surgery, so I remind myself that as far as hurdles go, ours really aren’t so high.

So before I get back to book 2, I think I’ll have me a deep breath and another trawl of the net for significant individuals with dyslexia who, like my boy, cut pretty impressive figures in their own right. Like them, my boy is kooky and brilliant and unique, so if it transpires that he does have dyslexia he’ll at least be in good company. At face value, he fits in rather well. In case you were wondering, my glorious little fella is the one with the eyeballs :¬) x

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