A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lessons From An Ordinary Life

        I've been enjoying Susan Cooper's blog for quite some time now.  Since she usually deals with matters of life stories, I thought she'd be a good guest on Wrote By Rote.   In the post that follows, Susan talks about some of the challenges she has faced in her life and the lessons she has learned from them.  She also has a book that you might enjoy reading or buying as a Christmas gift for someone on your list.  I'm happy to present Susan P. Cooper. 

“Lessons From An Ordinary Life”: A Dyslexic’s Miracle

In many ways my new book “Lessons From An Ordinary Life" is a miracle to me.  Why do I think that?

I’ve been asked on more occasions than I can count, why in the world would I choose to write anything, much less produce a book, knowing I’m dyslexic?  That is an excellent question.

So what is this thing called Dyslexia (DRD)?  Please bear with me as I explain.

"It is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but does not affect general intelligence.  It shows up in reading, writing and speech. It is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols.

Dyslexia or DRD occurs when there is a problem in areas of the brain that help interpret language. It is not caused by vision problems. The disorder is a specific information-processing problem that does not interfere with one's ability to think or to understand complex ideas. Most people with DRD have normal intelligence, and many have above-average intelligence and it runs in families.”

As a young child, I was active and imaginative with large coke bottle bottom glasses that struggled at school. I was unaware of my disability at the time. When struggling with an unknown problem as a young child, it results in developing coping mechanisms.

I was terribly shy around my peers and teachers, not willing to speak, often because my speech would get all twisted up and make me appear "stupid or silly".  Regardless, I was determined not to let my issues prevent me from achieving any desired success.

To cope with my dyslexia, I became an acute observer of all that was going on around me.  Though my observations, I was able to grow into an auditory storyteller.  It was a skill I honed and used for the sole purpose of helping someone see a circumstance in a different light or to teach a lesson.

The thought, or glimmer of an idea for my first book, started many years ago. I often would share a story as an allegory to help someone with a current challenge. Many of my friends and colleagues suggested that I put my stories/allegories in written form or maybe even publish them in a collection. My first thought was doing so was impossible given my disability.

As time passed, the suggestion to publish my stories with my illustrations grew more persistent.  I knew if I genuinely wanted my voice to be heard I needed to find a way to communicate what I had to share.  Be it through what I would write, the drawings I created or my photography. Despite the fact that, it was and is a challenge for me to write well, I knew if I put my mind to it and with the help of all the available tools I have amassed, it could be done.

So here, with the help of an editor, I now have my first solo-published book.  It is my miracle.  My new book is a compilation of some of the short stories/allegories I would share with others. The greatest surprise for me is other books are in the works.

I never dreamed of being a writer or publishing anything. What I did dream about was helping others by teaching everyday lessons in a unique way.

What I’ve learned from this is one never knows where something will take us. Never limit what we can achieve because of our own prejudices about what we can or cannot do.  For me, it was to share a story in the hope that it would help another in some small way.

So, in a way I never expected, I am achieving my dream through my book "Lessons Form An Ordinary Life" now available on Amazon. I would love it if you would take a look.

In closing, if you have a dream, then go for it.  You just never know where it will take you.

Susan is a former Marketing & Sales Executive, now the Publisher and Executive Director for Finding Our Way Now LLC.  
Susan is by nature a storyteller & teacher who makes her home in Northern California with her husband, her greatest cheerleader, and her cat Samuel who watches over everything she does.
Susan’s work now allows her the opportunity to share the many stories she used to teach and the lessons she's learned in life and in the workplace. It has rekindled her passion for drawing, which she now uses to illustrate her stories and podcasts.

What makes this all the more interesting is she dyslexic. So the act of writing for Susan is a serious challenge. It often takes her four times longer to create a story then it does for others without this disability. She will tell you she has never been one to shy away from a challenge and works hard to overcome her dyslectic eye to deliver a quality & entertaining product. As a testament to her efforts, she is now a published author with more books on the way.

For more, check out her new book, “Lessons From An Ordinary Life" and her blog, Finding Our Way Now

The Book:

Finding our way through life involves an equal share of joy and woe. The stories we often tell each other throughout the journey help us make sense of it all. The childhood memories collected here act as self-discovery guideposts for author and reader alike. The deceptively simple lessons shed light on the power stories have to shape and connect us. This collection and the accompanying artwork are a must for those who seek comfort in wondering about life’s seemingly random treasure box of experiences.

Find the book on Amazon

What obstacles have you had to overcome in your life?   Have written a memoir about this or have you considered doing so?    Do you have any questions for Susan about dyslexia or her book?  

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  1. This was lovely Arlee and thank you Susan and many congratulations on the publication of your book!

    Sometimes it seems that those who have a disability of one kind or another are the very ones who learn or find the courage to find a way to not let the world and circumstance get them down. So many of us are firmly ensconced in our comfort zones and there we will stay.

    On my side? Well, I was a terrible stutterer for years and years until I 'realised' in my late teens that this could not go on forever. Somehow, it eased - never finally cured, but at least I could communicate.

  2. Congratulations Susan! I remain convinced that I have dyslexic tendencies when it comes to math or any craft project that involves knotting (macrame, friendship bracelets, etc), knitting or following written instructions for paper cutting.

  3. I love this post. I'm dyslexic myself. And I love challenges.

    Hugs and chocolate!

  4. Susan's life sounds miraculous and very far from ordinary.

  5. My dad believes he was (is) dyslexic as a child. He struggled in school. And to top it off, he was forced to be right handed when he was left handed.

    Your books sounds awesome.

  6. Dear Susan and Lee, what an inspiring story. I have two friends who have been diagnosed with dyslexia and so I appreciate all you've shared here.

    And congratulations, Susan, on the publication of your book. I bet it's going to inspire many, many people. Peace.

  7. Susan, once again I'd like to offer my congratulations to you. You are a shining example others can certainly look to for inspiration!

  8. Hi Everyone, Thanks you so much for your kind words and thoughts. They mean a great deal to me.

    Arlee, Thanks you so much for allowing me to do this. :-)

  9. Congratulations Susan. My cousin had dyslexia. He was made miserable by most people. My family just loved him because he was himself and never cared about it. He went on to become an engineer for the body. I loved that guy.

  10. This is awesome, and you're making your dreams come true!

  11. Nothing like a good story.

    Arlee - I can totally see your love of blogging through how you've set this place up. I know, that Anonymous, always leaving a mess.

    Susan - I can only imagine how you write blog posts dyslexic, but when I think about it, I hear lots of people with no dyslexia complain how they can't write good posts, intros, etc because they're out of ideas or something equally boring. So I'm thinking this challenge of yours, maybe it's a (blogging) gift?

    Definitely glad to stumble over here from BHB and find more lovers of blogging. Thanks.


  12. What an inspiring story Susan. I congratulate you and in support, I'm of to purchase your miracle. I could NOT be happier for you

  13. yes i also love this post I am dyslexia, it's been hard on me as i have always been consider as stupid.

  14. Susan's storytelling abilities are definitely innate, and she's grown as a writer as well. The language of her earlier blog posts tends to show more areas in need to work, but the more she's posted, the smoother her writing has become.

  15. Susan you are brave to get not let a writing disability stop you.

    I bet your book is good. I would have never known you were DRD.

    You write so well. I wish you much success with this.

  16. What a great article, and what a great inspiration Susan is! I've been reading her blog for a while and she is so talented. I'm sure her book is magnificent too.

  17. Susan, I can't understand why having dyslexia = do not write a book. Everyone has a story to tell! You certainly have several. I think you are so smart to work (disability or not) with an editor. I read a self-published book recently where the author did not, and I wish he had.

    I am sure you know I love your illustrations.

  18. Congrats on the book, Susan!

  19. Congrats Susan. Every deserves a chance to tell their story.

  20. Congratulations Susan! I have a feeling that your book will inspire others. Way to go!

  21. Hello; Thanks for sharing Susan's post with us. I am impressed with her accomplishment of finishing this book in spite of her dyslexia. as a blind computer user I am hoping the book will eventually be released in audio form or in a .txt ebook. I love a good story. My dad was a great story teller and i wish we had some of his written down. and my computer has issues with pdf files which is why i mentioned the document format. I'm sure the book will do very well. we all need good stories to inspire us to better things or to distract us from the negative ones. best of luck with it, max

  22. Very inspirational! Thanks for writing this piece, Susan.

  23. Susan, I get the equating dyslexia with something other than writing a book. I also get how you were up for the challenge. The only reason I get it is because as someone with the label introvert, I get challenges. For me a speaking career was really, dumb luck: I only learned late in life what an introvert can not do. LOL. You are a fast learner though; you took your disadvantage and either found those early childhood coping strategies or else you listened to your intuition and forged ahead. Thanks for sharing more of the story. And congratulations on the book again!

  24. Congratulations on a wonderful review written for Susan on the publication of her new book.

    It's a testimony to what can be accomplished with support, heart and hard work.

  25. Huge Congrats Susan! You know I am one of your biggest fans / supporters.

  26. Well done on your first solo book Susan! And thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Children can be so cruel to people who they perceive as different, so it must have been hard. Which of course only makes your current success so inspiring. Great to see your work again:-)

  27. I think Susan is a bloody marvellous and this was a bloody great post.

  28. Susan - you are a true inspiration! You're story is one that should not be lost and it is a heck of an accomplishment to now be published! I have enjoyed your posts for a while now and look forward to seeing more from you in the future! I love seeing great things happen for truly remarkable people!

    Thank you for sharing!!

  29. Thanks to my friend Susan Cooper for sharing this article with me. What an inspiring story about your life Susan. Congratulations on your new book too!! Lou Ann

  30. All writers appreciate language but I'm sure you must appreciate your ability to use it even more. A hard earned skill which for most practitioners in your field is a latent talent.

  31. Thanks for sharing your story here, Susan, for your welcoming blog, and your brand new book. Congrats on all, and thanks to Arlee for sharing your guest post with us. Nice to see so many BHB group members here in the comment thread.

  32. First, congratulations on your amazing accomplishment! As I was reading I got all teary eyed because my husband and middle son are severely dyslexic and my daughter has a learning disability as well. Learning, reading, writing and speaking in public are all very difficult for them. I fully understand what an accomplishment this is for you. I am often amazed at my children's creativity of ideas and projects they come up with. My middle one builds amazing things out his Legos from the ideas he has in his head. My daughter always comes up with crafty creative ideas and more often ideas that are of benefit to mankind and the planet. My oldest son, who has no disabilities, often gets impatient with his siblings. This bothers me to no end and it often becomes a point of contention between us, but I know he gets it and I pity the fool who would do his siblings harm. I have full faith that my children will develop into kind, sweet, gentle, compassionate, and creative individuals. Your point of adaptation around your disability is true for all who have disabilities I see it daily with my husband and children. Thanks so much for sharing and being an inspiration to those around you.

  33. Susan, you are awesome person, I take my hat off to you!

  34. Hi Arlee,

    I'm a first time visitor to your blog but a regular reader of Susan's and I wanted to stop by to read her guest post.

    What a wonderful post Susan and congratulations on the book. I never doubted for a second that you'd get that finished and I so admire the struggles you've had to overcome in life.

    I know at times that's what makes us stronger but I'm so glad that you're now sharing your story with others.

    Thank you Susan for this and loved your post. Hope you both enjoy the rest of your week.


  35. HI Arlee, I have met Susan on many occasions through the internet social media but I never thought that she had dyslexia.
    What a challenge but then what
    resolve to do something about it even though it took time. This is a wonderful story and just
    proves that if you have the will to do something you will achieve it.
    Life is a constant battle to fight negativity against positivity! At the end of the day it is up to you - the individual. Don't let anyone detract from what you want to do and clearly Susan has fought her way to success!
    Briefly I have had so many challenges in my life but as I get older I feel so much more in control of my life. Another first book? - I don't know - all I know is that Susan has certainly inspired me to think very seriously about it all.
    Congratulations to Susan on her book and for being so honest.
    Her friend John Barton

  36. Arlee,
    It's wonderful that you invited Susan to share her story on your blog. I've known Susan for quite a while now and I'm always surprised when she mentions her Dyslexia because you would certainly not know it if she hadn't shared that info with us.

    Again, congratulations on your book. As I've told you before (on your blog), your story is motivating and your illustrations are lovely. It's great to see you here on Arlee's blog.

  37. This is so inspiring! It is a testament of who you are. Instead of being a victim you found ways to achieve your dream. Not everyone is familiar with dyslexia thank you for sharing.

  38. I read the intro for the book. Sounds great. Congratulations on your accomplishment. My brother also had dyslexia. He went undiagnosed until later in life and despite the learning disability he became an officer in the Air Force and graduated college.

    Mary-andering Creatively

    Mary-andering Among the Pages

  39. Your story is so inspiring Susan! I'm off now to read the other recommended posts on dyslexia. I have two close family members who struggle with it, and I'm always amazed at how they overcome! Thanks for sharing.


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