Imagine that you are born with a disability. And yes, Dyslexia is a disability, not a major one, but all the same, it is still a disability. In a time period where this disability is totally ignored by the schools that you attend from the age of 4 to 11 (classed as your more informative years), as another New fangled medical clap-trap and ignored. And also put down by your parents, as being plain lazy. Where you are considered as being, thick, stupid and backward, by teachers and other pupils…including your so called friends.
Then you move up to the Senior school (the UK school system was: Infants age 4 to 7, Juniors age 7 to 11, and Seniors aged 11 to 16 ), where you are given a simple test (simple for those that can read and write, not for those of us that struggled with both). The results from this test, sends you to a Remedial class, where the teachers for this half hour lesson, twice a week, are there to try and help you with both your reading and writing. Still no one picks up on this condition.
But these teachers are good and patient, and try to find ways to help you, and encourage you. You also have to take a book out each week, from the remedial class library. That’s easy, as I have been doing it for years on my trips to the library with my mum. Just pick a book by its cover, if it looks exciting or colourful,, and has pictures inside, take it…lets face it, it’s not like I’m going to read it anyway!
But that is where I was completely wrong!
The last book that I picked, just before the Christmas school holidays were to start, looked like this (it wasn’t this one, but I can’t find a picture of the one I want on the web)
What’s the old saying…don’t judge a book by its cover. Well I did. And it was the best thing that I have ever done!
The cover spoke to me, metaphorically speaking. (damn, I can’t believe that I just spelt metaphorically without looking it up! *Does happy dance. Not brain-dead, yet!* lol).
And for the first time, I actually struggled to read the words inside, and got as far as the end of the first chapter. Only understanding minimal words, and using my imagination for the rest. Still it was a feat for me to do that much!
So at the next lesson, I wanted to renew the book over the Christmas period. But was told that I couldn’t.
I spent most of the Christmas break, thinking of that book, and for the first time, wanting school to start so I could get it out again!
I went to my first remedial lesson of the New Year, only to be told that I had passed a test (one I didn’t even know that I had taken), and that I was to return to my normal lessons. I did ask if I could take the book out, again. But was told that they were for Remedial pupils only, which I was no long one of them.
I was gutted that I couldn’t have the book out. So I badgered and begged my mum to allow me to get the book when we went shopping in town on Saturday.
Now comes the problem. When we got to W. H. Smiths news agents/booksellers in the High Street, the covers were not the same as the ones in the Remedial class. And I couldn’t think of, nor remember the title.
Armada Books (the children’s paperback division of William Collins & Sons Ltd), had changed the covers on the Nancy Drew books the year before in 1975 (the copies in the Remedial class where from the original set of 10 published in 1973).
I was determined to have one, and hoped for the best that I had picked the right one! But which one? There were 12 to choose from. This is the one I did choose (and the cover is the correct one, too!).
Isn’t it lovely? Does it speak to you, like it did to me 40 years ago? But it wasn’t the one I had picked out in the Remedial class. That was Book #10 in UK numbered editions…The Invisible Intruder.
I struggled with the words. But with the help of my mum and Nan, I started to learn to read. Also learning to focus my eyes as best I could, so the words wouldn’t swim around the page as much.
I haven’t looked back since, except to reminisce. My first love, will always be mysteries, adventure and amateur sleuths. Oh, I read lots of genres now days, but I keep returning to my mystery books every time.
What’s Dyslexia like? Each person is different. There is no “One Size Fit All” remedy. Mine has never been diagnosed, so no solution or help has ever been given, even to this day. Like everything else in my life, I have had to manage and cope on my own…just like I do for all my other medical problems. It’s really wonderful being Mister Cellophane (Chicago – the musical), NOT!
I’m a slow reader and writer (these blogs can take 3 hours plus to write), mainly because I have to concentrate on the written words, so they don’t swim around the page. If I don’t, I end up with a migraine. I have no co-ordination with my eyes, hands or feet (so don’t ask me to dance, if you want to keep your toes intact!). I have trouble remembering which is my left or right. I’m not simple or stupid, just slow…at everything (I’m the tortoise, not the hare!).
I love being read to. Mainly because I don’t have to concentrate on the written word, but on the voice telling the story. If they are the right narrator for the story, its pure magic. If the narrator is wrong for the book, I don’t care…it’s the story that is being told, that I’m more interested in. And the words spoken will conjure up the pictures and scenes in my mind’s eye. Who needs TV, when there are books! And with my health going down hill, it has now got to the point where I can’t hold anything for too long, and that includes books, no matter whether they are paperback or hardback. And I can’t manage some of the print in paperbacks. Kindle is ok in the fact that I can change the font size or turn on “Text to Voice”. But for those of us living outside the USA, our choice of Kindle books is 50% less than what is available in the USA.
So hopefully, you can now all realise why I get up on my Soap Box and keep banging on my drum, and will keep on banging on, and on, and on, about “Territorial Rights”, where publishers such as Berkley have restricted, audiobooks and Kindle books to the USA only, because of these “Territorial Rights”. We have very limited availability of these in both areas. At the present moment, there are just over a 1000 cozy mysteries on Audible.com. On the other International Audible sites, you are looking at about 300, if that!
For many US readers, my going on might seem petty. That is mainly because you can walk into a bookstore, a library, or go on Amazon and Audible and buy or borrow these books and audio, as easy as pie. Come and walk in our shoes, and see what it’s like to walk on the other side of the fence. Where your book shops don’t stock these books, where your library are not allowed to stock anything that isn’t on their suppliers list, in either book, audio or ebook. Where Amazon.uk and Audible.co.uk can only supply you with books, audio and Kindle, that are not controlled by “Territorial Rights”.
This doesn’t just affect us International readers/listeners.
It also affects all the cozy authors and writers of other genres, and the readers too.
“Territorial Rights” means that the publisher has a strangle hold on the author, restricting their work, to just the USA on audio, ebook and before the internet book selling started, also on physical books. This reduces what is available to International readers/listeners. The authors themselves, are trying to gain a wider International audience, but are being choked back by the publisher that uses these “Rights”. The more readers/followers the author gains, that buy their books, audio and ebooks, means more sales. More sales, means they stand more chance at having their contract renewed. Which means more books in the series that you have grown to love.
So “Territorial Rights” are the pits, for all readers and writers alike, whether you are an Internationally reader/listener, or a reader/listener in the USA.