Reflections from a Dyslexic Writer

I remember one day trying to read my ‘A’ book to Mom, and being unable to put ‘gl’ together, to read the word ‘glad’. It took so much patience. My mother sat there, listening to me struggle over and over.

The first day I got the consonant blend out once, that was it. Only once after a half hour of trying. I have always had to battle language in written form.

I still mix up my B’s and D’s. Often write M’s and N’s wrong, have always hated grammar lessons. I even hid my workbook behind the couch and got away with it for a week, to my mother’s frustration.

So why did I choose to be a writer?

The quick answer is, I didn’t, it chose me.

Stories have been a constant in my life, and the desire to tell them and create has always been within me. I distinctly remember regaling everyone at a friend’s birthday parting, with the story of my dad using a rifle to ‘shoot down’ trees instead of cutting them with a chainsaw. That he was a logger was true, but ya, felling trees doesn’t work that way. I had the entire room in stitches.

It was an absurd story, but for that moment my dad was the hero, as trees fell around him with a single shot. A projection of how my heart saw him. It was great fun.

The need to be understood, and to understand are huge parts of my personality and I have no better way to attempt both, then to use language. But how do I deal with wondering eyes that just can’t see the words they write straight the first time?

I taking my time.

I am horribly slow with writing. I take weeks to craft these short blog posts, even longer for any of my short stories. If I am rushed, it shows. Time sensitive writing competitions are exhausting. Deadlines are important but often missed. My comments in chat boxes and social media are laughable. Even so, the landscape of language speaks to me.

I have learned there is no unfixable mistake in writing. Asking for help is not weakness, but strength. Every sentence, when you sit back and think about it, can tell a unique story.

I acknowledge I don’t have it near as difficult as other people I know. Years of repetition have improved my skills with spelling, and trained my eyes to work as a team far better than they used to. But still there are so many mistakes I miss.

Will I ever be a great poet? Maybe not… Will people ever take me seriously in the literary world? I don’t know. Will I ever write a best-selling novel? I will try. But as I try, I will do my best not to forget that day I fought to put ‘gl’ together. Remembering where we started keeps us grounded.

Where did you start your creative journey?

What walls did you have to clump?

I didn’t realise I was learning the lessons of perseverance while struggling to read at age six, seven, and eight. I thought I was just learning letters on a page. Resilience started building the first time they teased me for not being able to read my bible out loud in Sunday school. The foundations of those lessons were messy, hard work. But a temple can not stand tall, if we do not lay the groundwork.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Note: I have not been formally diagnosed with Dyslexia. Being from a homeschool family, we did not have that opportunity while I was in school. There are other members of my immediate family what have undergone vision therapy and deal with learning differences on a far larger scale than I do. ~ Mary Grace van der Kroef


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Stealing Visits/Global Poemic

I have been following Global Poemic for some time now, as they highlight words and artwork about the worlds experiences through Covid-19. I have enjoyed the many perspectives and experiences. Each of us has dealt with the stresses in our own way. Each of us has had to find our own way to wade threw the much of the last two years. It’s not over, but I am honored to have my piece ‘Stealing Visits’ stand alongside the works of other poets and writers as we seek to highlight our individual and collective battles.

Thank you to the Curators for reading and accepting my simple, but heartfelt peace.

Note: They are no longer accepting submissions as the project was meant to only continue for short time.

We thank all the poets and artists who contributed work. Global Poemic will publish accepted poems through July 2021 and will, after that, remain live online as an archive of what we have shared.

The Curators at Global Poemic

Mary Grace van der Kroef


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A Six Word Story (32)

I am much more of a night owl than a morning bird. I love the quiet whined down after a long loud day. Because of that, I have only caught a very few sunrises, yet, they are a miracle that happens every day.

What beauty have you been missing out on? Why?

I think it’s okay to be a night owl, and now catch every sunrise, as long as I remember it still happens, and it’s a gift.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo sourced from Unsplash.com


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Only People

Only people
the flame of soul
is all you take
to heaven, you know.

All else crumbles
to dust and ash,
but flames of soul
are made to last.

All bodies
fall away, decay.
Wrappings mortal
times earthly prey.

But flames slip
through gaping fangs.
From eternity’s
edges to hang.

Emptied hands then
have a choice.
Hellish solitude,
or gems with voice.

Only people,
treasures that last,
are worthy to store
or to Jesus’s feet cast.

© 2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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The Creatively Christian Podcast

A few months ago my new friend Andrea Sandefur reached out to me and asked if I would like to be featured in The Creatively Christian Podcast by Theophany Media. Well, today my episode has dropped and I am so excited to share our conversation with all of you!


“Theophany Media utilizes various forms of art, media, and technology to communicate complex Christian truths to the global church.”

  Whether you are an artist, or an art lover, a writer, a reader, an actor or just someone who loves to sit back and watch other create, I encourage you to head on over to their website and check what they are all about out. My episode can be found my following the links in the opening paragraph of this email. Or search for The Creatively Christian Podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

“Our mission is to create something that brings together intelligence and imagination, creativity and Christ, fun and faith.”

Jake Doberenz, Founder of Theophany Media

My favorite place to catch the podcast is via their YouTube channel. If you enjoy watching video of the people you are listening to, this is this place to do it! If you enjoy what you hear, make sure to share the podcast with those you think would also love it. Not just my episode either, but all of them!

Thank you everyone,
Mary Grace van der Kroef

A Six Word Story (31)

I love to watch the shadows grow. Some times the time goes fast and sometimes is crawls, but it’s always a blessing to watch.

When we rest, the world doesn’t stop spinning, time doesn’t stand still. But something inside of us changes and slows, and maybe even grows. Have you felt it?

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo sourced from Unsplash.com


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Contempt

Crumpled paper
creased beyond repair,
cast in exasperation
from a corner, glare.

Proof of irritation
an act of my contempt
for this, my situation
for being nonexempt.

A deadness percolates
thoughts refuse growth
the thing one loves,
slowly steeped in loath.

All a point of view
mutilated page
silence feeding ghosts
rising poets rage.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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The Truth and Lies of Poetry

There is power in poetic verse. Words roll off the tongue like music and lose us in the sway of emotions that flood each word. But what about the messages hidden within poetry?

There are many ways to hide truths and or lies behind emotions. Often poetry takes us on a path we don’t control and we discover answers to questions along the way. But not always. If the engine that drives a piece is emotion, it’s inevitable that the author will sometimes get it wrong. After all, we need many more things than love to survive this world, and those that love should definitely still use the phrase, “I’m sorry.” Still, poetry has at one time taught us these things as truth.

How do we sift through the half-formed thoughts, fragmented ideas, and coloured emotions of poetry? Is it worth it? It is, especially when the poet speaks to us of their own personal story, with words that journey to understanding.

I say, you will never find gold if you are not first willing to sift the rivers for it. Maybe that is what a poet is. A prospector, braving the cold river of emotion, the pan of language in hand, searching the sediment of life for nuggets of truth. Will we find gold? Or pyrite? Or nothing but unwanted rocks?

You will never know until you are willing to jump in that river or start a poetic journey. The key is to understand it’s a journey, and a fragment of a journey, not a whole.

I thank God every day for the gift of the written word, and the gems I have found in the gift of poetry. But I also know, not every word I write is truth. They are expressions of emotion. I am also aware that the things I believe in this moment will change, as it should. Life is continually teaching us. A person who stays the same is a person who never grows.

I pray I can grow with open eyes and mind, ready for the truth, but also aware of the lies. For searching for both is necessary for growth.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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A Six Word Story (30)

Sometimes I feel like an overturned cup of confetti… Until I remember cups are for holding liquid, not everyone else’s bits and pieces. Confetti wants to be thrown around, shared, and bring colour to the world.

Remember, it’s okay to throw those bits around, as long as you clean up after the party is over.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo sourced from unsplash.com


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Hesitation

This heart has slowed,
longs to linger here,
where the past is distant,
the future unclear.

A hesitancy
to pick up life’s pace,
a straining to remain firmly in place.

Give me grace.

Unlike a crossroad
where choices must be made.
More like a settling,
a sinking in
of ways.

Smell the resignation
come wafting on the wind.
Stagnation that lingers
on boots,
and trouser hem.

Mix it with the drums.
Foreboding rhythms felt,
clashing with a heartbeat.
Wearied,
yet compelled.

Standing amid the street,
holding baggage fast.
Wondering
how long this lump in throat will last.

Change coming fast.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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