I've decided to put up some of the interview with my mom in pieces. This is because I want to talk about some of it! AND it's a long interview.
I remember when I asked you to read my first attempt at a novel. You said something like: “Bridget is the writer in the family. You should stick to art,” or some such. You later explained why you said that. You really thought my writing would be terrible and was trying to save me from embarrassment. But this is why I ALWAYS ask you for advice on my writing before anyone else--because you are honest and I value your opinion. I think we have the same taste in writing and art. Sometimes honestly is hard to swallow, but it always works out for the best. What did you think of my early writing attempts? You can be honest. I won’t cry.
"I think you struggled with writing in school for the same reason that sometimes made it hard for me to figure out what you were trying to tell me in everyday conversation. You tended to start telling me something as if I was inside your brain. I remember having to ask lots of questions to figure out where your ideas were coming from. This is a really simplistic example; "Mom, she was there when it happened." And I would be totally puzzled and have to say, who what where and when. Consequently your writing was confusing. I think you also had trouble organizing. Remember your little index card to help with a math test. You were allowed to bring one index card with some helpful facts to a math test. You filled both sides with microscopic letters and numbers with no spaces between them. It was like looking sanskrit . Your notebooks came home with huge holes where you must have erased right through the paper. I used to marvel at them. Basically your attempts to help yourself learn, produced chaos. So I was astounded when you began to write coherently. when you were in your twenties. I think that part of your brain just matured late."
I remember in school wanting to write stories and thinking I had a lot of great ideas. I'm talking about way back in elementary school. We would get assignments like: Write a story about Santa Clause. I never remember more instruction than that. Isn't that strange? I think that is part of the reason why I didn't have the skills necessary until later in life to craft something with a story arch--beginning, middle, and end. I mean, if I didn't like to read and DIDN'T then what examples would I have had to compare to? It wasn't until after college that I decided I wanted to write a novel. The light bulb went off in my head that perhaps I needed to read some novels first! I really didn't read at all unless I HAD to! Strange, right? Even stranger is that I sat down and wrote 250 pages in less than a month. I'm not saying it was anything great but I was able to focus enough to do it. I also got past the first hurdle in the submission process. But when I asked my mom about writing in school she said I was stubborn and didn't want to take directions. Of course I don't recall what I did as a 7 year old but maybe she's right. Maybe that was part of the problem. Maybe I really have matured in my 20s! Is that possible for a brain to continue to grow?
So all of this does have a point. Kids who have attention problems who seem hopeless perhaps are not. This is a message I want to spread.