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  • Writer's pictureDev Friedlander

I Have a Secret

I have a secret.  I am a writer.  I know that doesn’t sound like much of a secret, lots of people write. But writing is a conversation. I am asking readers to listen, which means I think I must have something worthy to say.

I began writing when I was eight years old. Plots and characters would appear in my mind during chores and my free time. But when I put pen to paper, I struggled. My dyslexia always getting in the way.  I had my first success when I was thirteen, winning a national writing contest. I won honorable mention the year later in the same competition.  My second achievement was an article I wrote for the school newspaper which was reprinted in two local newspapers, one in Georgia and the other in Charleston SC. 

Then I had my first major failure in college when I took the writing placement exams. The exam’s main purpose was to evaluate if a student could read and write English on a basic level. I failed the writing exam, twice. I found out later it was due to my spelling and grammar errors. The failure knocked any hope I had of being a career writer out of my mind. I thought writers don’t fail elementary placement exams, ever.

So, I shelved my dreams, instead choosing to go for something for practical; social work. I forgot all about writing until about five years ago when it saved my life. I had just moved to Israel and was struggling.  I was told to just learn Hebrew, and all would be well. I went to Ulpan for three years; a course for new immigrants to study the language. I also tried Rosetta Stone, tutors and Duolingo. My Hebrew level stayed the same, basic. I felt confused and stupid every single day.  I thought about returning to America, but my family was so happy here. I’d be selfish to make them go back.  Life became lifeless. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kipper came around and I didn’t ask for good health or long life, in fact, I didn’t ask for life at all. I began saying goodbye. That’s when a small voice whispered, “write.”

I hushed it at first, telling it that I’m dyslexic and can’t even pass a straightforward writing exam. I was afraid of people’s judgment, reproval, and rejection.  The voice made me a deal, however. Write for a year, just one year and see what happens. So, I sat down to my computer and I wrote. Words became pages and soon pages became chapters and then chapters became books.

Now that you know my secret, I hope you will share my journey as my first manuscript makes its way into the world.

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