A KILDIMO woman has high hopes that her new collection of poems and other writings will inspire other people with dyslexia to reach for the stars. “If I can do it, anybody can do it,” says Jean Long with spirit.
The Dyslexic Poet, which will be launched later this month, is Jean’s second collection of poems and it comes, she says, without being proof read or corrected. “It is warts and all. Both books were written with awareness of dyslexia, to get people with dyslexia to understand what is possible and to get people who are not dyslexic to understand where dyslexics are coming from,” she explains.
Jean, who was reared in Thomondgate in the city, was in her 20s before she was diagnosed as dyslexic. But her journey to that point was often painful. “I had a lot of difficulty in making sense of what I was reading and in trying to understand why I couldn’t understand what everybody else did. My writing would also have been affected,” she explains. “Even today, I have to go over things constantly. I might be in the middle of writing a sentence and I might have left out a part of it but in my head it is there. To me, it is there but it isn’t in reality.”
“Sixth class was my last schooling,” Jean goes on. “But I was blessed.” Her family had a business, O’Brien’s shop on the High Road at Thomondgate, where “we sold everything” and Jean’s working life began there.
But despite the difficulty of dyslexia, Jean has always loved to write and she finds poetry particularly suited to her, because it is so condensed.
Her new collection is mainly poetry but she has also included lyrics, prose and what she calls “tip of the mouth” stuff. The pieces, she says, cover love, sadness, humour, life experience, family, darkness, nature and even some verse for children.
The Dyslexic Poet comes as an e-book as well as in conventional book format and is on sale for €5.95(on-line) or €8.50.
It will be launched at Dolans pub on the Dock Road, Limerick on Sunday, November 16. “We have a room off the bar and there will be afternoon tea and cakes from 3.30pm to 5.30pm,” Jean says. “It will be open house and everyone is welcome.” Rose O’Donnell from the Irish Dyslexia Association will speak on children’s progress at approximately 4.00pm.