I didn’t write legibly until I was about nine. Add to that an appalling lisp, zero facility with maths, chronic myopia, no co-ordination whatsoever and a reading age of 14 at six years old, which made junior school a tricky, lonely place for me. (I couldn’t even tie a shoelace until I was ten.)

The concept of neuro-typical and atypical children hadn’t been floated then. Hell, dyslexia was barely recognised, a situation that seems risible these days.

And, even though I had intensive educational therapy at a nice lady’s house in Hampstead at around 8 & 9 to get me to write, it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties, that we realised that my problems had a name.


It’s utterly extraordinary the over-arching relief given by realising that problems such as no short term memory whatsoever, lack of spatial awareness, an inability to catch or hit balls and constant tripping and falling are actually caused by something other than general crap-ness.

One legacy of my late start in the writing arena is that I can only write legibly with a fountain pen. I need to carve out my words, forming them slowly and carefully and gracefully. Otherwise the net result is somewhat akin to a spider jumping out of an inkpot to dance a fandango across the page.

Day to day I use a basic Parker cartridge ink pen, which I buy in WHSmiths, and of which I buy maybe twelve a year at a tenner a pop. (Dyspraxics display positive genius for misplacing and losing their possessions.) But for special occasions, contracts and thank you letters, I use this beautiful braided black leather Cross pen that I was given.

It’s weighty enough to make writing with it feel important, but no so hefty that my wrists ache from lifting it, and it looks beautiful. It comes with a lifetime mechanical guarantee, which should come in handy should I manage not to lose this like all the others…

P1000947 P1000945

The Cross Torero £90 from www.cross.com

Previous Objects of Desire here

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I write far better with a fountain pen, too. The genetic skin disease I have causes my fingers to contract and fuse together, and limits the movement in my wrists. The weight of a good fountain pen changes my grip and the way I write, as the ink flows across the page. People think I’m being pretentious, but it genuinely does make a huge difference. I use either my Cross ‘Twilight’ pen, or my new ‘Highway of Writing’ pen, which is very weighty, but nicely so.


It is amazing the difference that a proper writing imstrument can make, isn’t it? LLGxx


I had never heard of this before, how interesting. And very elegant that it has resulted in your use fountain pens, if only all conditions had such chic outcomes. Thank goodness the spacial thing didn’t affect your favourite hobby of driving!

I must say I identify with much of this – keen reader, rubbish at sports (anything to do with hand eye coordination really), terrible at maths, always bumping into things and tripping up… but alas, I’m certain that in my case it really is just general crap-ness!


hmmm – you never know. Dysraxia is far more common than people think. LLGxx


I too have dispraxia & relate to everything youve said, when I was in year 5 at school I wrote like a 3 year old, didn’t exactly help on the making friends front. It got so bad that my mum paid for me to be taught how to write. I’ve since found though that Mont Blanc pens are lovely to hold & write beautifully. Thank you for bringing it out & letting other people know that there are people out there too. Charlie xxx


I alwaysw think that’s the great thing about bloggin: finding like minded people, who let you realise that you are not alone LLGxx


Beautiful post. I have just been thinking about about buying a fountain pen. Felt the need to take cage with my writing. Xxxx


Do! They make such a difference and you can buy them from a tenner if you want to work on yr writing before making a bigger investment LLGxx


Thanks for sharing, LLG.

I have a 17 year old who has a lesion on her frontal lobe that impacts her executive function; she is fantastic at conceptualizing, is a voracious reader, writes beautiful fiction and philosophy (if given enough time and a spell-checker), is wickedly creative and suffers abysmally in maths and sciences, loses anything not nailed down and has memory issues. She is breaking my heart by not valuing her strengths and insisting on taking maths and science for uni, I think because that is what everyone in the family has done. Reading your words gives me hope she will find her way.



Comments like this remind why I write LLG. Thank you for taking the time to share, and I do hope that yr wonderful daughter finds the path that suits her best. It took me a very, very long time. COnfidence issues, mainly. But one thing I know for sure, maths & science wld have crippled me in every way. LLGxx


I’m very intrigued. I’ve never heard of Dyspraxia before, but after reading about it I seem to have a lot of it in me, which would explain my horrid short term memory (to the point of embarrassment), my inability to learn math, and why I keep forgetting to pronounce the letter s (I don’t have a lisp, it just sometimes won’t form when I speak). …so much more actually.

Where can I go to get checked? A hospital? School? I live in Manhattan, maybe you know a good place?


I’m sorry I have no idea. I guess I’m going to have to direct you to Google for that one LLGxx


I too am dyspraxic, and also dyslexic. I can identify with the relief at finally receiving a diagnosis: I myself was not diagnosed until I was at uni, aged 24. My handwriting, sadly, doesn’t benefit from even a stylish fountain pen. It’s awful whatever I write with!


It is an amazing relief, isn’t it?To finally understand why we do things a certain way. And thank god for keyboards! LLGxx


Both my hubby and son have Aspergers Syndrome or high functioning Autism and one of the many probs they have is Dyspraxia, resulting in an uncanny ability to crush pull off snap break and generally destroy most nice things in the house. Tiresome to say the least, but as I work with many different types of people who have a variety of “special needs” I’m pretty blase about.
Clumsy is a smashing and old fashioned phrase for it and writing by hand is excruciating for them both. My husband does barely legible block printing in tiny capitals and my son’s handwriting looks like a small child’s, just learning to do joined up.
Happily my boys are both FAB at anything technical (which is often the case with Autism) and type happily on a keyboard.
Using a PC is a lifeline to written interaction for them.


Thank you Janie for sharing this. Some people think Dyspraxia is one of those made up excuse problems and it’s gd for people to realise it is a real issue. LLGxx

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