Reading is still the very hardest thing I do in my life, but I’ve been lucky in having some great people around me that either helped me write or edited what I did write. Grade school through high school was tough going for me, since I couldn’t read (past the third-grade level), and I was extremely embarrassed when asked to stand and attempt to read out loud in classes. But, I spent a lot of time exploring the hills around my hometown of Shelby, and I found a whole lot of interesting fossils that I would put in exhibits in our county library. In high school, I made science projects, all of which won the local science fairs. So, even though I was doing very poorly in school, I was being given a lot of accolades for my exhibits and knowledge of fossils. I guess it countered the negative side of school.
When I was in college at the University of Montana, I put together a saber-toothed tiger skeleton and organized their fossil collections and collected more stuff for them. That all seemed to counter the bad grades and flunking out, at least in my mind … I still have a terrible time with written material, and have a particularly hard time now that I don’t have people to help me out.
When writing papers, I rely heavily on co-authors or really good editors, and I still to this day depend on people like that to help me out. I know my limitations, and they are many, but
fortunately my students are really smart and do some really cool stuff I get to help with, and it often gets published in great journals.