I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.
I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.
Today author and blogging advocate and mentor Hugh Roberts, shares the devastation of the lack of recognition of his dyslexia at school, isolating him and finding himself without support from teachers and doctors. However Hugh is an inspiration to others who feel that they cannot write or be respected for their work with both his short stories and his blog.
I Wish Knew Then What I Know Now – by Hugh W. Roberts
Hugh and his mother
Even with hundreds of people around, many of them family or close friends, planet Earth can still feel lonely.
Growing up in the 1970s, I disliked much of my time at school. I was the victim of bullying from some of the other children. However, worse was that I was sometimes the target of humiliation from some schoolteachers.
‘Your son is dim. He has something wrong with him. Have you taken him to see a doctor?’
‘Why don’t you act your age, you silly boy? A five-year-old could write better.’
‘What’s wrong with you?’ Can’t you read what I’ve written on the blackboard? Get out of my class, you idiot.’
These were just a few examples of memories I have from my schooldays.
How I’d wish I’d known then what I know now.
When my parents eventually took me to a doctor, he could not understand what I told him.
‘The letters sometimes jump around. Sometimes, I don’t see them.’
At first, he thought I had something wrong with my eyesight, but when the results showed nothing was wrong with my eyes, he struggled to pinpoint what was happening. Eventually, he came up with an excuse that got me into trouble.
‘He’s tricking us. I expect he does not want to go to school, so he’s pretending that he can’t read or write correctly. I’m sure he’ll soon stop pretending with some discipline from you and the teachers.’
I (and many others) didn’t understand that I was dyslexic back then. Therefore, I couldn’t blame the doctor or my schoolteachers, could I?
Even with extra lessons and some help from my mother with reading and writing, my dyslexia remained invisible to everyone except me.
Hugh, his mother and younger brother Paul
I often wondered if my friends were experiencing the same trouble I had with reading and writing. When I told who I thought was my best friend at the time that I wanted to write a book and become a published author, he duly told many of my friends, my parents, and regrettably, my English teacher.
‘An author?’ laughed my English teacher. ‘You’re too stupid to be an author. Authors need to be able to read and write correctly, and that’s something you’ll never do. I’d give up on that dream and perhaps think of another dream that doesn’t require words,’ she laughed out loud in front of the class.
By the time I left school, I’d given up my dream of writing a book and becoming an author.
Just over 30 years later, I stumbled upon a form of writing known as blogging. I wrote this story a few years after writing and publishing my first blog post.
Once upon a time, a boy called Hugh hid a secret.
It was not only a secret but a monster that had haunted him since childhood. He had locked the monster away since the first day he realised it existed.
The monster had a name – Dyslexia. But in February 2014, Hugh turned the tables on Dyslexia.
He had never admitted to having dyslexia, and his school told him there was no such monster and that it was all make-believe. So, dyslexia became part of his life, and he decided to lock it away and throw away the key.
Some suspected Hugh was hiding something, but no one would say what they thought the secret was. However, many years later, his lifetime partner, John, confronted him one day and uttered the monster’s name.
“There’s no such monster,” said Hugh, embarrassed that John had uttered the monster’s name.
Hugh never wanted to hear that name again.
He walked away feeling like he wanted the world to swallow him up and rid him of what had happened.
He would still not admit to John that he had a monster locked away, even though this monster prevented him from doing what he wanted.
John would mention the monster’s name a few more times until, one day, Hugh got so fed up with it that it made him look for the key to the closet where he’d locked the monster away.
The key was hard to find, and his mind would not allow him to unlock the closet door.
Then, after mentioning to a relative that he had heard of a form of writing known as blogging, Hugh was given the details of a wonderful writing weapon that, if used with courage and commitment, would defeat the monster Dyslexia.
He hesitated for a few days while checking over the weapon called ‘WordPress’ and marvelled over its stories, articles, and photographs.
He wanted to be a part of those stories, articles, and photos, but the monster was having none of it.
Finally, having studied the WordPress weapon for many days and realising that other WordPress users had the same monster in their lives, he switched on WordPress by creating an account and pressing the ‘new post’ button.
Somebody told Hugh that this was the weapon’s most powerful part and that if he pressed the ‘publish’ button, his monster would be killed.
Today, Hugh’s monster is still part of his life, but it no longer embarrasses him to tell people that he has dyslexia, and he no longer lets it stop him from writing.
John, Toby, Dyslexia and Hugh now all live happily ever after.
And there ends this tale of how WordPress helped Hugh defeat the monster called dyslexia.
I know nobody can predict the future (or can they?), but if I had known that blogging would become a part of my future, I’d have felt much less lonely during schooldays.
©Hugh Roberts 2022
My thanks to Hugh for sharing his story as I am sure that whilst dyslexia has acheived recognition, and is supported within the education system, it still can lead to isolation. As Hugh has demonstrated you can you must not let it stop you from writing and enjoying being part of the writing community. I know he would love to hear from you.
About Hugh Roberts
My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.
I’m a passionate blogger and have been blogging since February 2014. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my posts on blogging tips. I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging since I first discovered it. All of the tips and advice I give are free of charge and will cost you nothing apart from, maybe, a little bit of your time.
I have always enjoyed writing, and the fact I suffer from a mild form of dyslexia has not stopped me from enjoying the passion I have for writing.
Now in my fifties, I thought it about time I let my writing become public. Becoming a blogger seemed to be the perfect way for me to do this. Blogging has put me in touch with hundreds of other writers, many of whom have been supportive and helped me with my writing.
I lead a happy life and always try to stay positive. I share my life with John, my wonderful civil partner, and our two Welsh Cardigan Corgis, Toby and Austin.
I write about life because I find it so fascinating. I have many stories to tell, some of which I have started to put into a book. I think my life has been incredible and I want to share it with anyone who wants to listen. I am also an excellent listener, and I love to be interactive with other people. I guess you could say I am a ‘people person’.
You will find some of my short stories and flash fiction on my blog, and I hope you enjoy reading them. Flash Fiction has become a big part of my writing, and I enjoy participating in various writing challenges.
Books by Hugh Roberts
One of the reviews for More Glimpses
Whether funny, sad or downright deadly, from drama to comedy, science fiction, murder/mystery, paranormal and horror, the author leads us through a gamut of emotions in every story and keeps us guessing to the end with a twist in every tale. Characters like Prudence Pebblebottom, the Easter Bunny and The Queen, to name a few, make us chuckle and shiver in equal measure.
Tiny people, elderly time travellers and a boarded up music hall transport us to worlds unknown. ‘Murder in Evershot’ takes us to a beautifully quaint English village in deepest Dorset. I know it well, and all I can say without spoilers is I will never read an Agatha Christie murder mystery in quite the same way again. My favourite story is ‘Dream Catcher’ because I obviously share the author’s disturbingly dark humour.
So pull up your chair, turn down the lights (except the one you read by) and get ready for a page-turner collection in the mind-popping tradition of Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone, two of my favourite TV shows. An excellent, thought-provoking and thrilling read from author Hugh Roberts, his second volume following the success of his first short story collection, ‘Glimpses’.
Thank you for dropping in and Hugh would be delighted to hear from you.. thanks Sally.