Posted: 10/21/2004 in books, daily life

I have just got back from book group, yet another evening when I haven’t contributed enough.

Why am I rendered mute in group situations? It can be friendly, family or formal. The results are the same, if there are greater than six people present I turn into the eternal observer. It is not that I have nothing to say, I always having a passionate internal monologue going. Stop calling Mary Shelley a teenager you fool, when she wrote Frankenstein the concept wasn’t invented – 19 really was old then. It’s nature versus nurture. Did he become a monster, or reanimated organic entity (Roe), because he only encountered vicious hostility and therefore evolved into a murdering fiend rather than being born one? Isn’t it interesting the way in which Roe becomes fascinated by the every day lives of the family adjacent to his hovel – rather like a soap opera. And god forbid that you would think that I don’t like the sound of my own voice and I am nothing but a chatterbox in familiar company.

Then why do I dry up and nerves get the better of me??? Of course I have a theory – I partly attribute it to my mild dyslexia, a fear of looking stupid and a particularly insensitive foreign language assistant that I happen to cross paths with when I was fourteen.

I shall expand. My impediment manifests itself in wonky spelling, an inability grasp phonetics and a fear of pronouncing an unknown word or a familiar word that I can’t verbilise. In my world a word is whole, it has no beginning, middle or end. In class I dreaded being called to read aloud, already an outsider to the ‘normal’ peer groups (wouldn’t have had it any other way), I like everyone else didn’t wish to appear the fool as well. In hindsight of course I should have realised that since my classmates didn’t listen to the teacher they wouldn’t pay any attentions to my slaughtering of Shakespeare. When anyone spells a word out to me it takes more than one attempt for me to copy it down. A shout out to my mum, it frustrated me as much as you and I think it is down to my internal wiring. A little family trivia, my mother being the star family speller and all rounder when it comes to general knowledge used to dread when ever a crossword would appear in either my or my father’s hands. Let us not even touch family games of Scrabble, if we got a word over five letters then a victory lap was called for. Poor mum, must have been operating in the lowest gear to give us a chance. I think her room 101 fear would be an army of dyslexics equiped with an arsenal of word games. Then there was the incident with the young and impatient language assistant . Who when spelt out new words, used the French pronunciation of the alphabet, stumped me and angered her. At my young age it felt like a brutal humiliation in front of my friends. Though it did not bruise my ego for long, after all I muster the courage to appear in countless school production and of course I gave the sole speech at my our wedding. Off the cuff no less, see my ego really is fine 🙂 So I guess it isn’t quite as clear cut as I’d have hoped.


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