An Excerpt from Dear Angus
You might wish (at least, I do) that I made up for my inadequate appearance with the riches of my inner life.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of my inner life, even when I try to write about Ideas and Feelings, which is apparently what good writing is about, consists of things like “I want to eat pretzels” and “how did I forget my homework again?”
Not only am I boring, but my boringness also makes me what nice people call “shy.” But “shy” makes pictures in my head of unusually sweet, gentle, probably deeply insightful and artistic people who never want to impose on other people and are charmingly insecure about everything they do.
Everyone loves these people except !#T%es, and when they find their milieu they blossom into confident, gifted people with active and satisfying love lives. I am not shy, unless you count my being too dumbfounded and embarrassed to use English words about half the time because my inner life is about missing assignments instead of things like sex or music or Feelings or Ideas or whatever the @#% normal inner lives are about that makes people want to talk about them, and still too angry and blunt and unloving to say anything the rest of the time.
Still, while I only occasionally have feelings and ideas, I do have words, and I have a good enough grasp of written English that I do better than other people at school. This means that people also mistake me for a rich, well-behaved smart kid who has her @#% together.
This one is, possibly, likelier. I’m not rich, but I’m not poor. I’m well-behaved, if you mean by that that I don’t do drugs or have sex, and I do all of my homework that I can remember. I’m smart if you look at my Iowa Basics instead of any of the nonacademic criteria by which intelligence is routinely measured, but my competence at pretty much anything that doesn’t involve a writing implement is in the negative numbers.
Despite this, I may even have my %#@ together in some embracing, holistic sense — at least, so far I’m on the track to spending the rest of my life in some job that makes money.
Of course, Mom insists that the single rational and emotionally healthy conclusion to draw from all of this is that I am a well-behaved, put-together smart kid who is also kind of shy, instead of an ugly freak who fails always and is stranded in Ideas and Feelings land to boot, away from fascinating kindred spirits with comparable inner lives (rocks, for example).