The Scales Of Literacy


“….and also my growing realization that the sincerest struggle to change the world must start within.”

Alice Walker

Forward to Revolutionary Petunias &Other Poems (Contained in the edition, Her Blue Body Everything We Know) 


Every day now, I see new ways for literacy to be ridiculed – in the most unlikely places. It’s become a new epidemic for me. 

Perhaps we should start by defining what is literate? Then we can examine the monster that is expectation. It used to mean we just needed to be able to read and write our own name. I have an olden title deed which is signed by a fold of paper. Each person had their own fold, unique. Originally, the idea was to be beyond just simple folding. But now we’ve raised the bar. We want perfection. We’re no longer simply seeking you to do the basics. To be equal. We want the ability to write for the New York Times Opinion section. To use all the correct grammar. Because otherwise you know you’re just stupid or lazy. I can never quite decide which is worse. 

This is perhaps why when starting out I didn’t declare my intention to make the world literate. Because the statistics would have you believe this has been achieved. I’m just an anomaly. My aim was to take literacy and intelligence out of the same sentence. An odd goal for some. 

I don’t want to teach the world how to read. Or even how to read in a different way – when the one you’ve shoved down our necks from young hasn’t worked. 

I want those of us who’s brains are wired differently to feel good about it. And then I want the world to value us in our own style. But mostly right now what I don’t want is to read any more ridicule or innuendo that compares us to evil. Because the ultimate problem is that when we don’t feel good and secure inside we can transform into some of the most destructive humans walking the planet. The ones who insight such hate. Play such games of bluff. You know them well.

This is where the scales of literacy have got us too. I think I saw this long before you. 

“I was saved from despair countless times by the flowers and trees I planted.” 

Alice Walker 

I take my solace from the waves and wind. The unstoppable power of nature. It’s provided a strange comfort for me since my time at sea. 

There’s a pod of orcas off the coast of Portugal who’ve taken to head butting boats. Intent on destruction it seems. I feel their frustration. 

Naoisé 17th September 2020