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  • Writer's pictureAnn Newman

Larn'n Writ'n Dagnamit!

This gal young’n was slow to larn to read. Writ’n won’t any easier.

“Ann is unteachable.” Said my first, first grade teacher. We moved. I got another first grade teacher who simply said I daydreamed too much.

I was saved by my love for books. My childhood picture books, many of which I have today, were beautiful to me. For hours I’d stare transfixed by the pictures, noting every detail. I’d remember the story read to me, then I’d add to it letting my daydreams lead the way.

Sometimes, I drew in my books pretending to be an illustrator.

This is how I develop my stories for museum artworks to this day! I take a good, long look at the art, noting every detail; colors, textures, shapes, what is shown, what is not, how I feel when looking at it, does anything remind me of something else? I mentally note all my initial responses and connections. Then, I read what the artist named it, what information is given about the art, the historical history around it… pertinent information like that. I link all these threads together and see what is woven. Generally, rather quickly, I arrive to a story, or at the very least, a direction to go in search of one. Sometimes, I even write a free verse poem that gets me going in the right direction.

Coming up with stories is the easy part. Writing them is another thing all together. My “larn’n” disability rears it’s ugly head. I figured out early in life that learning by “seeing” was the way to go for me. I gained the grammar rules necessary for writing by reading the writing of published authors, by consciously seeing how they wrote their sentences, NOT by the grammar lessons taught in school. That stuff baffled me and would not stick in my brain! I passed tests (often with A’s!) by deciding what looked correct, sounded correct to my inner ear. It is an imperfect method that works for me. I prefer to write like I talk as much as possible, because that’s the kind of writing I enjoy reading. Well…except for poetry, nobody talks like that in real life.

I am a wee, tad envious of people who get grammar. What a foreign language to me! The other day, someone said, “Give me an adverb.” Er…I was like, “What’s that again?” Embarrassing, but when I heard an example it came flooding back, like remembering the Spanish words for colors; rojo, verde, blanco...

Look at this 1886 grammar book I had to buy last week. It’s beautiful. The handwriting examples are an art unto themselves. I especially like what the first owner wrote inside.

“Don’t steal this book for fear of shame for here you see the owners name.” Henrettie Bilyue

Grammar baffles me, yet I write. I write because I LOVE words. There is power in words that move mountains! I let that love be more important than being technically correct at putting them down. Hopefully that is enough. For now.

FYI #1: I prefer the words Different Learner over learning disabled.

FYI #2: Experiencing and sharing stories, making art...ALL learners through multidiscipline approaches can enjoy these creative pursuits. Now, isn’t that beautiful!

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