Towards a Typology of Dyslexic Writers
Rodin, Picasso, and Warhol may well have something in common, although I can’t quite pinpoint what. Certainly you couldn’t accuse them of thinking “inside the box.”
But what if anything do dyslexic writers have in common? There are those like Agatha Christie and Roald Dahl who have a knack for plot structures. Maybe with a bit of conceptual squeezing, Hans Christian Anderson and Lewis Carroll could be forced into this category too? Since a story is a type of a pattern, any fiction writer will be pattern-obsessed – but is this even more true of dyslexic writers?
Into another category of dyslexic writers fall the stylistic perfectionists like Gustave Flaubert and Gary Lutz, famously obsessed with micro-patterns, the structure of the sentence… Samuel R. Delany is one example of a dyslexic writer who fits into both categories mentioned – this makes me think of my earlier statement that Delany is a rare case of a critic who’s good both at close reading and at distant reading.
In his criticism, Delany uses the word “pattern” a lot. In About Writing, discussing Modulations by Richard Kostelanetz, Delany writes “there is a level of storytelling that seems to me entirely structural, topological even, and that has nothing to do with reference,” and it seems to me that might be a dyslexic kind of an insight to have…
Also dyslexic were or are W.B. Yeats, Octavia Butler, John Irving, and Richard Ford, but as yet I’m unclear what to do with these examples in terms of my dyslexic writer classification system.