A Cluttered Mind…

My Dyslexia by Philip Schultz is the moving story of the author’s struggle to read as he wrestled with a mind that was cluttered with words and letters that were heartbreakingly indecipherable to him. Inspiring and beautifully written, as one might expect from a writer who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2008, the book reveals Schultz’s deep-rooted feelings of being a “dummy” and how he recognized years later, when his son was diagnosed with dyslexia, that he had the same symptoms.

Reading the book led to me think about how everyone’s mind is cluttered in some way and that our lives are less ordered than we would like them to be. I say that not from a point of despair but rather in the hope that we can be more tolerant of the different ways each of us approaches the clutter in our lives.

Some of us have clutter because we are indecisive; we have difficulty making decisions about our stuff.

Some of us keep things because they serve as our memory; if we get rid of them we’re concerned that we will forget our stories.

Some of us serve as the repository for our family’s stuff; we keep the items in honor of our family history – and because no one else wants them.

Some of us never learned to create order in our lives; we find it difficult to let go of old things as we bring in new ones.

Philip Schultz showed such fortitude and courage in conquering the clutter in his mind. Many readers have asked him why he became a writer, especially a poet. He writes,

“There’s no little irony in the fact that the very things I couldn’t do have helped provide me with a profession and means of knowing myself; that I chose to master the very thing that once hindered and mastered me; to own what once owned me.”

So let us show some fortitude in our quest to conquer clutter, to make order in our lives. Let’s own what once owned us.



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