Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Check out and support Dylan's work!
My name is Dylan Madeley, and I've struggled to come to terms with two different aspects of my life. The first one set me on a path of frustration and retrying, constant self-improvement, bouts of social isolation, and has ultimately played a huge role in defining who I am today. The second one is stuttering, which I've lived with since about age five. In both cases, I spent some time running away in one form or another; in both cases, I have felt more whole as a person by accepting them and being more open about them. I live in a suburb north of Toronto with two chinchillas, write and copy edit for Auxiliary Magazine, and in my spare time pursue a career as a novelist. I have written one manuscript of minimum 50,000 words each year since 2008.
Since this blog has a stuttering/cluttering focus, I'll share my views about how these two things relate to each other. I took up creative writing a few years after developing a stutter, and my dad inspired me to tell stories. While I can't reach into my thought processes at the time, I strongly suspect that here I was with very real and seemingly insurmountable communication difficulties, immediately setting me apart from every other kid I knew (for years, the only other two stutterers I had ever met were two guys who also attended Sick Kids for speech therapy). The written word has its own challenges, vast and not perfectly understood by me at a
young age, but at least they seemed surmountable with hard work. They were also refreshingly different, and I could put them away if I didn't feel like dealing with them. No such luck with vocal communications; I couldn't get away with not talking to anybody, talking is more frequently solicited by others than writing.
One thing that might have helped is to bridge that gap between social communication and writing. I was writing as an imaginative mental expression, and it's easy to make sense in your own world. It's safe and gratifying not to feel the pressure of rejection; if I'm writing for me, then I can't be too concerned about how someone else might understand it, but that doesn't necessarily help regarding social development in the wider world. If there was someone to coach me toward writing to be read at an earlier age, or wrapping my mind around communication that's meant to be understood by others, that would have been interesting. The most important thing to me is that I have somehow arrived, I am working every day toward embracing the stuttering community and accepting my part in it, and at the same time, I'm getting a grip on that other lifelong struggle too. The first manuscript I wrote in 2008 has become "The Gift-Knight's Quest", and I'm taking the great leap of self-publishing with a Kickstarter funding campaign to back it. Feel free to join me, and reach out to let me know if there is anything I can do to show solidarity with your struggles as well.
A preview of the campaign can be found here. The official Kickstarter is scheduled to launch on September 1. Here is the updated link.
by Tom Weidig