Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I've Got a Secret by Molly Noble Bull

I’ve Got a Secret 

It’s true. I have a secret—or did until I wrote The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities with five other published novelists. The book title alone tells what I’ve tried to keep hidden for so long—that I’m dyslexic.

Now, I’ve said it.

Even ten years ago I would never have admitted this.

The book is by Margaret Daley, Ginny Aiken, Jane Myers Perrine, Ruth Scofield and me, Molly Noble Bull. All five of us have published with Love Inspired. In fact, we met via a Love Inspired Internet loop.

And we all suffered from learning disabilities and still have these problems today. Contrary to what some might think, problems like ours don’t go away once you reach adulthood. We’ve merely discovered how to go around them, and The Overcomers encourages others to do the same.

If you have a character with a learning problem in your current or upcoming story or novel and want to know how such a character might think, feel or react in a given situation, The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities is for you. In fact, we recently learned that The Overcomers is a finalist in the Women of Faith contest for Christian writers. But for this article, I would like to start with my pre-school years—long before anyone knew I had a learning problem, including my parents.

I had loving parents that thought I was some kind of genius.

I talked early. I drew pictures early. By the time I was in nursery school, I’d created poems that my mother wrote down. I quoted one-liners from famous movies as my mother directed, and I could carry a tune by the time I was three years old. I know because I sing a solo on a local stage around that time.

When friends and family came for a visit, I was the entertainment. I’m sure if I was born in Hollywood instead of Kingsville, Texas, my mother would have made sure that I was interviewed by every talent scout in the state of California by the time I was five years old.

Why am I telling all this?

It explains the obvious talents and abilities a dyslexic child often has before his or her problem is revealed. But it’s a downward slide from that moment on.

Imagine a beautiful caramel cake with way too much baking powder spooned into the batter. Add a dash of vanity and a generous amount of self-importance and pop it in the oven. Then sit back and watch as the cake grows bigger and bigger and bigger. At last it reaches its limit. Finally, it cracks open.

When I first realized that I wasn’t everybody’s birthday cake or even the crumbs on the dessert plates after the party guests went home, all the leaven inside me burned up, making me as flat as a cookie sheet. All that remained were humiliation and a poor self image—a nasty tasting meal for a young child to swallow. In no time, I forgot that I was ever more than the dumbest kid in my elementary school.

It’s easy to drift back into the pity-party scenario—even after all these years. I went on to graduate from high school and college. I married, and I am the mother of three grown sons, a grandmother, a former elementary school teacher and a published novelist.

It was a long road, and for a while, I didn’t think I’d ever learn to read and spell—much less write sentences and paragraphs that made sense. But now I write articles and books that other people read.

God inspired me to continue on no matter how many times I told myself that I would never learn. Without Him, I would never have found the courage to overcome the kind of heartaches, embarrassment and emotional stress that people with learning disabilities face every day. I hope The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities will encourage and inspire others with learning problems—cause them to throw out their secrets and self-doubts. When they do, they could become overcomers, too.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Larger Story

“Story doesn’t just tell us something and leave it there, it invites our participation. A good storyteller gathers us into the story. We feel the emotions, get caught up in the drama, identify with the characters…Honest stories respect our freedom, they don’t manipulate us… They bring us into the spacious world in which God creates and saves and blesses…they offer us a place in the story, invite us into the large story that takes place under the broad skies of God’s purposes.” ~ Eugene Patterson