The following interview of Eddie Izzard by Mark Lawson on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’ touches on the relationship between dyslexia and creativity. The link is here, but I don’t know how long it will remain live, so I have made a rough transcription of the relevant part.
Eddie Izzard: I couldn’t do that writing bit. I kept trying to do the writing bit and sitting down and it wouldn’t come out. I couldn’t seem to write as fast as... My mouth was faster than my hand. So I said, what - happens - when... if - chickens - take - over - the - world, what - would - they... you know, and by that time, I don’t care.
Mark Lawson: There have been suggestions of a link between dyslexia and surrealism and some people have suggested that poets may be on the spectrum of dyslexia because they go for one word and get another. But there is possibly a connection in your comedy.
Eddie Izzard: I felt there’s a relationship between dyslexia and creativity. I believe that dyslexia tends to make you go off in a weird direction. And then you go: ‘Oh, that’s nice’. And that could well lead to that. And it’s interesting you saying about poets. I didn’t know about that. But I just thought creativity in general and dyslexia.
Mark Lawson: The learning of scripts, does that affect you?
Eddie Izzard: It doesn’t seem to. If I read things now, I can read better than I could. I used to really stumble over words. Big words. Especially names of people from a foreign country. I’d just go blah-blah-blah in my head. That’s how I’d read them out. Now I can read them. I’m just a really slow reader.
They say: ‘Read that script by tonight.’ People would knock it off in an hour or so if they’re probably a fast reader. But I have to stay up to three or four in the morning reading it. It just takes me twice, three times as long.
I sub-vocalise. I can’t do that thing when you ‘wshhhhhhhhht’ which some people do. I’d love to be able to. I’ve even got a speed reading book but, I... couldn’t get through it. Which is a joke in itself. But it was actually true. I got the speed reading book and I read half of it.
This is just an extract from a fascinating interview.